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The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects


The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects Cover

ISBN13: 9781568988726
ISBN10: 1568988729
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first impression of W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939) was one of an ordinary middle-class Englishman quietly living out his time as an accountant in the leafy suburb of Forest Hill, London. A glimpse behind his study door, however, revealed his extraordinary passion for sending unusual items through the mail. In 1898, Bray purchased a copy of the Post Office Guide, and began to study the regulations published quarterly by the British postal authorities. He discovered that the smallest item one could post was a bee, and the largest, an elephant. Intrigued,he decided to experiment with sending ordinary and strange objects through the post unwrapped, including a turnip, abowler hat, a bicycle pump, shirt cuffs, seaweed, a clothes brush, even a rabbit's skull. He eventually posted his Irish terrier and himself (not together), earning him the name "The Human Letter." He also mailed cards to challenging addressessome in the form of picture puzzles, others sent to ambiguous recipients at hard to reach destinationsall in the name of testing the deductive powers of the beleaguered postman. Over time hispassion changed from sending curios to amassing the world's largest collection of autographs, also via the post. Starting with key British military officers involved in the Second Boer War, he acquired thousands of autographs during the first four decades of the twentieth centuryof politicians, military men, performing artists, aviators, sporting stars, and many others. By the time he died in 1939, Bray had sent out more than thirty-two thousand postal curios and autograph requests. The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects tells W. Reginald Bray's remarkable tale for the first time and includes delightful illustrations of some of his most amazing postal creations. Readers will never look at the objects they post the same way again.

About the Author

John Tingey started collecting stamps fifty years ago when his parents gave him his first stamp album and a 6d packet from Woolworths. He is married, with two children and two grandchildren, and lives in England.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ashley Bowen, November 20, 2010 (view all comments by Ashley Bowen)
I simply loved, loved, loved this book. Not only is W. Reginald Bray a fascinating character– a true English Eccentric– but Princeton Architectural Press put together an incredibly beautiful book. The illustrations bring the text to life and gave me loads of creative ideas.

This is neither a detailed history of early mail art nor a traditional biography of Bray. While there were time I could’ve used a bit more detail or general historical context, I expected just what I got– a lushly illustrated book with interesting bits of text. It’s a short book– most of the pages are dedicated to illustration– but one that I’m sure I’ll come back to for inspiration. Maybe if Bray’s star rises a bit more in the popular consciousness we’ll get a longer, more historically-oriented book about him. For now, I wouldn’t trade a single image for more text about his life, era, or the poor postmen who had to decipher his address games.
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Product Details

Tingey, John
Princeton Architectural Press
Subjects & Themes - General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 13 up to 17
9.5 x 6.25 x 0.75 in 1.09 lb
Age Level:
from 18 up to 99

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Biography » Historical
Business » Communication
Business » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Crafts » Stamp Collecting
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » General
Metaphysics » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects New Hardcover
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Product details 176 pages Princeton Architectural Press - English 9781568988726 Reviews:
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