Children in the Mail


Back in the early 1900s, some families decided to send their kids through the mail. Learn more about this unusual practice after the break.

Sending packages to distant places became easier in 1913 thanks to the US Parcel Post Service. Since the service was new and the regulations had some loopholes, some families saw this as an opportunity to save some money when traveling. A few families decided to send their kids through the postal service to reach a certain destination.

Such was the case with May Piestorff, a 4-year old girl who travelled from Grangeville to Lewiston in Idaho. Her parents decided to mail her instead of buying a train ticket since sending a package was cheaper than buying a train ticket for her. Because there was no clause in the regulations of the post office for this, May was able to reach her destination through a parcel post service. The regulations only stated that packages to be sent should not be more than 50 lbs and May was about 1 lb shy of the weight limit. She was put in the mail compartment of the train and travelled with postal stamps on her clothes.

May at age 5 image via National Postal Museum
Train from Grangevill to Lewiston image via Michael O. Tunnell
May’s grandmother’s house image via Micahel O. Tunnell

There were several instances of this so the Postmaster General decided to change the regulations and ban sending children through the parcel service.

May Piestorff is now the subject of a children’s book by Michael O. Tunnell, Mailing May.

image via Michael O. Tunnell

The picture below was taken as a humorous statement after the ban of delivering children took effect.

image via Smithsonian Institution Photostream

written by jeanmendoza on 2011-10-13 #lifestyle #post #vintage #mail #parcel #may-piestorff


  1. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    This is such a cute article. I can't believe this actually happened. Great photos. I need to get that book for my neice and nephew,

  2. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    It is the early version of dog in a bag is a bag and bags travel for free with Deutsche Bahn ;)

  3. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    Hahaha! Funny story!

  4. domo-guy
    domo-guy ·

    I guess these are real-life storks.

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