An utterly charming, deeply peculiar, totally great new book

The list of items that W. Reginald Bray stamped, addressed and sent through the British mail included (but was hardly limited to): turnips, bicycle pumps, bowler hats, rabbit skulls, Russian cigarettes, shirt collars, frying pans, an Irish terrier and—on two or three separate occasions—himself.

Bray began his experiments in 1898. (“My object from the beginning was to test the ingenuity of the postal authorities,” he explained a few years later.) He kept at it right up to his death, in 1939. In between, Bray also amassed the world’s largest autograph collection—all via the mails. John Tingey’s new study, The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects, tells the story in full: it’s the most delightful, charming, beautifully put-together picture book we’ve seen this year.

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An utterly charming, deeply peculiar, totally great new book