When the parcel post service first began, there was widespread confusion about what could and couldn't be mailed. Regulations were vague, and different towns interpreted them like house rules on a board game.

As you'd expect, chaos soon followed. People were mailing anything and everything. Because no postal regulation against mailing children existed, people wondered if they could send their kids through the mail. Then they tried it.  


All aboard the Child Express!

Gallery Credit: Ryan Antoinette Valenzuela


Tom Burg
Tom Burg


In 1916, the US Postal Service prohibited mailing live animals, but there was still no rule prohibiting mailing children.

Despite the new rule, children were still sent by mail. In August 1915, three-year-old Maud Smith traveled 40 miles by mail to Kentucky. The following year, a woman mailed her six-year-old daughter 720 miles from Florida to Virginia for 15 cents in stamps. It was the longest postal journey of any child identified by the National Postal Museum.

It wasn't until 1920 that the U.S. Post Office officially declared "human beings" non-mailable matter.


Even though mailing living creatures is prohibited in the US, people continue to "mail" their pets or children through courier services and airlines. It's just done under strict supervision and conditions.

A similar incident to that of the Beagues occurred in 2014, when a mother mailed her four-year-old daughter through courier services in Kentucky. Unfortunately for the southern mother, authorities charged her with endangerment, and the incident received massive media attention around the world. 

It wasn't until 1920 that the U.S. Post Office officially declared "human beings" non-mailable matter. 

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