The Washington Post

Postal Service proposes cost cutting measures, a far cry from its healthy early days

This letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. (Unknown photographer/Image via Flickr.)

Letters of Note, a Web site that gathers interesting letters throughout history, gave some insight today on how far the USPS has come from its good old days. (Read: late 19th and early 20th century.)

For one, post offices were open seven days a week until 1912. Religious leaders put the kibosh on the Sunday post when post offices became busier than churches.

Even better, there was this: At least two children were sent by parcel post service after it was introduced in 1913. The children rode with railway and city carriers, with stamps attached to their clothing, to their destination.

When the Postmaster General found out about the young cargo, he was furious, and on June 13, 1920, the U.S. Postal Service ruled that children may not be sent via parcel post.

Ah, the good old days — when sending a love letter trumped Sunday mass, and a child’s travel was only as expensive as a couple of stamps.


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