Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book Review: Curious Englishman Who Posted Himself

So anyone who has been with me since the beginning of this blog (it hasnt been that long ago) probably recognize the title of the book listed above. The Curious Englishman is a book about the mailings of W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939). As a young man Bray bought a copy of the Post Office Guide and apparently read it cover to cover. He proceeded to test the limits of the Postal Service by mailing odd objects (Bike pump, a turnip, and a rabbits skull) all of which made it to their destinations. He also sent mail with interesting addresses.

The above card was addressed to the "Resident nearest this rock". The interesting thing is that it made it to it's destination and made it back to Bray as well. (Back then if you sent the mail back to sender before the next day was over it would be delivered without an extra charge.)

The book is filled with all kinds of premium photos or scans of the various mail experiments that Bray sent. There were a few things that I would love to try here in the states..though most of what he did I am sure would not pass our Postal Code. Haha.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. The history is pretty fascinating and seeing his experiments is really awesome too. You can find out more about his experiments by looking at the website created by the author..and if you would like to order this can find it on amazon.


  1. That is fascinating and quite in line with the exhibit that I saw today at the stamp convention in Charleston. There were all sorts of letters that were unusual in some way. One had just a map to a place rather than an address and another had only a description. Among others was one that survived the Lockerbie Scotland flight and another that was charred from a Unabomber mailing.
    I'm going to have tocheck out this book, thanks.
    xoxo Kim

  2. The exhibit that you saw sounds really neat!! The author said that some of the mailings Bray sent..including some postcards where the address was simply a picture of a house..are still "lost". Perhaps someday we will have the luck to run across one of them. =)

  3. Thanks for the book review. This guy sounds pretty cool. I will have to check it out...seems like we can mail some inter tingly shaped pieces here too. Xox corrine

  4. You are most welcome for the review. I figured it fit in perfectly with the other random posts that I have on this blog. Plus it is always good to see different examples of Mail Art.

  5. What mail art has a long tradition, doesn't it! Thanks for sharing this!!

  6. off to amazon, could use a good read.

  7. Yes from what I have read..mail art has been around since sending mail existed! Which is pretty amazing if you ask me.

    Jill, I will be looking forward to hearing what you think of the book. :)

  8. This book is right up my alley! I am offto order it now. It reminds of my friends in I in college- we used to send mail w/ just a name and city and see if it would make it- it usually did. I would love to work in the "dead mail" office and track down where lost letters go. Great postal blog!