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What Unusual Items Have Been Shipped by the US Postal Service?

When the United States Postal Service began parcel post service in 1913, people began to ship all kinds of things -- including, occasionally, children. According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, the first shipment of a child occurred in 1913 when Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, "mailed" their 10-pound (4.5 kg) baby son to his grandmother’s house. The mile-long special delivery cost them 15 cents in postage, although they also insured their son for $50 USD.

Precious cargo:

  • These human parcels weren’t actually put into boxes. Baby Beauge, for example, was physically carried to his destination by Rural Free Delivery carrier Vernon Little.
  • Some children were mailed considerably farther distances. Edna Neff of Pensacola, Florida, was 6 years old when she was sent by railway mail to her father’s home in Christiansburg, Virginia, around 720 miles (1,158.7 km) away. The package weight was recorded as slightly under the 50-pound (22.7 kg) limit.
  • In 1914, the Postmaster General instituted a new rule that stands to this day -- people are not eligible to be shipped by the US Postal Service.
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