By John Tingey
The 1st impact of W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939) was once one in every of a typical middle-class Englishman quietly residing out his time as an accountant within the leafy suburb of woodland Hill, London. A glimpse at the back of his examine door, besides the fact that, published his outstanding ardour for sending strange goods in the course of the mail. In 1898, Bray bought a replica of the Post place of work Guide, and started to review the laws released quarterly by way of the British postal specialists. He stumbled on that the smallest merchandise you'll be able to put up used to be a bee, and the most important, an elephant. Intrigued, he made up our minds to scan with sending usual and weird gadgets throughout the put up unwrapped, together with a turnip, abowler hat, a bicycle pump, blouse cuffs, seaweed, a garments brush, even a rabbit's cranium. He ultimately published his Irish terrier and himself (not together), incomes him the identify "The Human Letter." He additionally mailed playing cards to hard addressess within the type of photo puzzles, others despatched to ambiguous recipients at difficult to arrive locations, all within the identify of checking out the deductive powers of the beleaguered postman. over the years his ardour replaced from sending curios to collecting the world's biggest selection of autographs, additionally through the submit. beginning with key British army officials desirous about the second one Boer struggle, he got millions of autographs through the first 4 a long time of the 20 th century of politicians, army males, acting artists, aviators, wearing stars, and so on. by the point he died in 1939, Bray had despatched out greater than thirty-two thousand postal curios and autograph requests. The Englishman Who published Himself and different Curious Objects tells W. Reginald Bray's impressive story for the 1st time and contains pleasant illustrations of a few of his so much awesome postal creations. Readers won't ever examine the gadgets they publish an identical means again.
"The picture that emerges from this antic and visually arresting quantity is of a blithe English rogue, trying out the procedure, stretching its limitsan experimenter, enjoying the main relentless, and fun, of pranks." — Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, the recent Yorker
"A handsomely designed and illustrated biography... a quantity so that it will without doubt fascinate any lovers of quirky social heritage, any admirers of the unpredictable human spirit, and any curators of the odder corners of the artwork global. The publication is just a delight." — Paul di Fillipo, Barnes & Noble e-book Review
About the author
John Tingey begun accumulating stamps fifty years in the past while his mom and dad gave him his first stamp album and a 6d packet from Woolworths. he's married, with childrens and grandchildren, and lives in England.
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Additional resources for The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects
O PP O SITE ) Fig. 20. (ABOVE) Attached to this postcard is a small piece of seaweed scavenged from the beach at Worthing. This coin arrived at Bray's home on Devonshire Road the day after he posted it. Unfortunately, it F i g . 2 1 . Bray made this postcard from two pieces of a starched shirt collar sewn together. He sent it to Ernest Arnold with 39 appears that he forgot to stick a stamp on the label, so the Post Office charged him 2d. for the unpaid postage. a message on the back referring to his broken arm.
T O P ) The crew featured in the photograph had nothing to do with the Great Lewes Fire, according to this letter sent back to Bray with the Lewes Fire Brigade postcard. F i g . 4 7 . ( O PP O SITE , B O TT O M ) This picture postcard shows the Great Lewes Fire in 1905. 62 challenging items 63 challenging items F i g . 4 8 . Bray addressed this plain postcard to his cousin, G. Forster. ” 64 challenging items his cousin, a dentist named G. Forster. » [F i g . 4 8 ] The following year Bray affixed a railway ticket to the front of a card, asking the Post Office to deliver it to the “Postmasters of ” the departure and destination stations, with a message on the back requesting that the first Postmaster forward it to the second.
Who, after all, would want to keep a rabbit’s skull, and I’m sure that he still had need of his bicycle pump and frying pan. » [F i g . 1 7] Bray considered the rabbit’s skull to be his most gruesome curio. He wrote the address along the nasal bone and placed the stamps on the back. A purse was perhaps his most devious puzzle to solve: he wrote the address and placed the stamp inside before closing and posting it. There was no evidence that it was a letter until the collector opened it (possibly looking for a few coins) and noted the contents inside.