18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, April 27, 1913: Went to Sunday School this morning. Tweet came along home with me. Today was a very rainy day.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I know the old saying that April showers bring May flowers, but rainy days can be so dreary. Spending the day with a friend can turn a bleak day into a bright one.
Tweet was the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma’s. Anyone called Tweet had to have been a bundle of fun ideas and energy; and I can picture them chatting and making lots of plans for upcoming sunnier days.
One thing I love about this blog is how readers’ comments help me see things that I totally missed. For example, Grandma wrote three days prior to this entry that, “This morning I got a dress by parcel post.”
When I wrote that post I focused on the dress—the graduation gift. But, Boodeeadda wondered how much it cost to mail a package back them.
I did a little research and I’m still not sure how much it cost to send a package, but I discovered that parcel post was brand new in the US in 1913.
According to the Parcel Post: Delivery of Dreams webpage on the Smithsonian Institution Libraries site:
Parcel post service began on January 1, 1913 and was an instant success. During the first five days of service, 1,594 post offices reported handling over 4 million parcel post packages. The effect on the national economy was electric. Marketing through parcel post gave rise to great mail-order businesses. . . .
Rural Americans were able to purchase foodstuffs, medicines, dry goods and other commodities not readily available to them previously. Even more conveniently, the goods were mailed directly to their homes. In addition, farmers were able to ship eggs and other produce directly to the consumer, saving both time and money.. . .
Private express companies and rural retail merchants fought tenaciously against parcel post but rural residents comprised 54 percent of the country’s population and they were equally vociferous. . . .
29 thoughts on “Parcel Post Began in 1913”
That’s fascinating to read about the beginnings of parcel post. What a difference it made to people’s lives.
I was really surprised to learn that parcel post was something new in 1913.
something we take so for granted was pretty important back then
It’s interesting how internet shopping is a relatively new concept now–while back then parcel post was a new concept.
Another really interesting post. Great question from Boomdeeadda and some thoughtful research. Love the saying “April showers bring May flowers.”
😀 cheers! I’m STILL amazed you can send a envelope to the other side of the world!
It is amazing!–I’m even more amazed how we can now Skype with people on the other side of the world today.
No doubt, isn’t that the truth.
I love the saying, too. Whenever we got a cold, miserable, rainy day in April, I always think of this saying and feel a little cheerier.
Like you, I never thought about the dress being sent by parcel post. That being brand new probably made receiving the dress even more special to Grandma!
And you’re right: someone nicknamed Tweet just had to be fun!
I agree–Grandma probably specifically mentioned parcel post in her diary entry because it was new in 1913.
This is a great history lesson! Something we take for granted today was a brand new service to your grandmother. A person named tweet had to be special.
Transportation and communications have changed so much across the years. 🙂
And thank goodness for Parcel Post and Priority Mail! Living in the country, I do a lot of shopping over the internet.
Internet shopping is wonderful. 🙂
Hey Sheryl, that’s kinda fun that it was a brand new service that year. Thanks so much for the shoot out 😀 I’ve never collected stamps but I always enjoy the artwork on them and faded colours.
You’re welcone–and thanks for your great comments that got me started thinking about this.
I focused on the dress too! Very interesting.
Grandma wrote relatively few words most days, and I’m constantly amazed how much can be learned from the little she wrote.
This is very interesting. I enjoyed reading the history of parcel post.
I have a lot of fun researching the various topics that I write about–and it’s always wonderful to hear when someone particularly enjoys a post.
I remember as a kid postage and all the different ways to mail was a big deal. The post office was huge and beautiful, an institution. And the air mail envelopes beautiful.
In the days before email, text messages, and the internet mail used to seem so special. 🙂
I had thought parcel post was older than that. I’m sure your Grandma must have been very excited to receive a gift delivered by this new service.
I also was surprised to learn the it was “only” a hundred years old.
With the new found information about parcel post beginning in 1913, just imagine how excited Helena must have been to receive the parcel! 🙂
Getting the gift via parcel post must have made it seem extra special.