Shipping Babies in the US Mail was an accepted Practice

Believe it or not, there was a time in the United States when sending a baby through the mail was not just an oddity but a somewhat accepted practice. This strange phenomenon occurred primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before strict regulations were put in place regarding what could be sent through the postal system.

One of the most famous instances of mailing a baby was in 1913 when a baby boy named James Beagle was sent from his parents’ home in Batavia, Ohio, to his grandmother’s house about a mile away. The postage for this journey was just 15 cents, and the baby was delivered safely to his destination. This incident, while shocking to us today, was not seen as particularly unusual at the time.

So, how did this come about? In the late 1800s, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was expanding rapidly, and there were few regulations governing what could and could not be sent through the mail. This led to some creative interpretations of what constituted mailable items. People would send all sorts of things through the mail, from live animals to food items and even human remains.

Babies were considered under the general category of “goods” that could be shipped. It wasn’t until 1913 that the USPS officially prohibited the mailing of humans, animals, and other living creatures. This change came about in part due to public outcry and concerns about the safety and well-being of those being shipped.

Interestingly, the case of James Beagle helped bring attention to the need for stricter regulations. While he arrived safely at his destination, the potential dangers of mailing infants became more apparent as the practice gained attention.

Today, the idea of shipping a baby through the mail seems absurd and dangerous, but it serves as a reminder of how much our society has evolved in terms of safety standards and regulations. Luckily, there are more travel options for children these days than pinning some postage to their shirts and sending them off with the mailman!

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