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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Babies by Mail

Via kottke:

This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples. [Link]
From the New York Times of Jan. 17, 1913:
The mailing of babies by parcel post is a real infant industry which Postmaster General Hitchcock is asked to foster.

In the circumstances of his bachelorhood Mr. Hitchcock is considering seriously the calling into consultation of experts in the transportation of babies, as a letter to him which he received to-day presents to him a mail problem with which he is quite unfamiliar. To add to his embarrassment the letter contains a note of genuine pathos, which appeals strongly to the Postmaster General. This is the letter, identically as it was phrased and punctuated:
Fort McPherson, Ga.

Postmaster General,

Washington D. C.—Sir: I have been corresponding with a party in Pa about getting a baby to rais (our home being without One.) May I ask you what specifications to use in wrapping so it (baby) would comply with regulations and be allowed shipment by parcel post as the express co are to rough in handling Yours
The name signed to the letter is withheld at the request of Mr. Hitchcock.

As babies, in the opinion of the Postmaster General, do not fall within the category of bees and bugs—the only live things that may be transported by mail—he is apprehensive that he may not be of assistance to his correspondent. [Link]

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