The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Baby Flat Rate

Alice sent me this post from Kottke.org on an unfortunately short-lived form of child transportation.

(photo via the Smithsonian photo collection on Flickr)
Description: 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.

Update: A 1913 NY Times article includes a query from a citizen to the Post Office inquiring whether they could send a baby through the mail:
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
Child neglect and shipping humor! She knows me so well.

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