Because postage was cheaper than a train ticket, according to Smithsonian, some frugal parents chose this option. Newspapers ran amusing headlines, such as “Baby by Parcel Post” and “Parcel Post Baby Makes Trip Along L & E Railroad.”
Decades before the first unaccompanied child was put on a plane to grandma’s in the care of a flight attendant, a few resourceful parents accomplished the same end by simply dropping their kids in the mail.
This was in the earliest days of the parcel post service, which launched in 1913. Before that, U.S. Postal Service packages were capped at four pounds, which limited the goofy things people tried to send by post.
But when the parcel service began, all kinds of cargo showed up in the mail stream, including coffins, eggs, dogs and, in a few cases, human young.
According to National Postal Museum historian Nancy Pope, the first known case of a mailed baby was in 1913 when Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, shipped their 10-pound infant son to his grandmother’s home about a mile away, paying 15 cents in postage and springing for $50 in insurance (because they were worriers). Records do not indicate whether Grandmother Beauge received her mail in a mailbox or through a letter slot.
But some children were mailed much farther, Pope said. Edna Neff of Pensacola, Fla., was 6 when she was packed off — or packaged off — to her father’s home in Christiansburg,