Post Marked: The Eccentric Englishman

Saw this book on The New Yorker and then on Boing Boing. I love the mischievousness of this – he would have made a great office mate!

Bray (1879-1939) was an avid collector [snip] who, after reading the entire British Post Office Guide, impishly determined to take the rules as challenges. He tried posting an unimaginable array of things, to see whether the post office would deliver them. Apparently, at the time, the smallest item that could be posted was a bee, and the largest an elephant. Bray seems to have tried most things in between. At one point or another, he mailed a bowler hat, a rabbit skull (the address spelled out on the nasal bone, and the stamps pasted to the back), a purse, a slipper, a clothes brush, seaweed, shirt collars, a penny, a turnip (address and message carved into the durable tuber), an Irish Terrier, and a pipe, among other curios.

Perhaps most remarkably, he posted himself, becoming the first man to send a human through the mail in 1900, and then, through registered mail, in 1903. Tingey’s book includes a picture of Bray being delivered to his own doorstep—presumably the sort of package likely to please the lady of the house.

Postcard from W Reginald Bray to

Postcard from W. Reginald Bray

via The Book Bench: The Eccentric Englishman : The New Yorker and Boing Boing

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