Would you mail your child through UPS? In 1913 there are recorded instances of people sending children through United Parcel Service. Here MusicSnake Magazine dives into the origin of these stories, debunk the reported instances of families mailing children through postal services, and discuss what really happened when a child was sent away like an Amazon box.
The Origin / The History of UPS
The idea of mailing children through the UPS arose when a 1913 law allowed residents to send packages of up to 11Lbs through the postal services. Before then, there was no way to send heavier things through the post. The concept of sending larger packages planted the idea of families sending their small babies through the post over short distances when it would be inconvenient to transport the children themselves.
It was common practice for people to send strange items through the post, including children. However, as a correspondence from 1913 reports, only “bees and bugs” were allowed to be sent through the post, so the idea of sending small children through the post would likely involve some employees or the postman to cooperate and help the child travel. However, children who were mailed through the post actually did have stamps put on them, and their parents did pay to send them.
The Recorded Instances
The first official employee who officially accepted a child as an item is Vernon O. Lytle. He was a mail carrier at the time. He carried a baby boy who weighed 10Lbs and 0.75 ounces the distance of one mile from his parents to his grandmother. The child’s parents paid 15 cents to send their little boy through UPS.
Another instance reports that a two-year-old boy was sent home from his grandmother’s by UPS over a distance of 25 miles. The kid wore an identifying tag around his neck, and he rode with the mail clerks who took care of him while he traveled. His grandmother paid 18 cents to send him this way.
Instances like the one above continued to be reported, but it wasn’t legal for much longer. The postmaster at the time, a First Assistant Postmaster General Koons, stated that children are not classified as “harmless live animals which do not require food or water while in transit,” so it then became illegal to send children through parcel post.
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