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By John Tingey

The 1st effect of W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939) was once considered one of a typical middle-class Englishman quietly residing out his time as an accountant within the leafy suburb of wooded area Hill, London. A glimpse in the back of his learn door, in spite of the fact that, printed his remarkable ardour for sending strange goods during the mail. In 1898, Bray bought a duplicate of the Post place of work Guide, and commenced to review the rules released quarterly via the British postal specialists. He found that the smallest merchandise one can put up was once a bee, and the most important, an elephant. Intrigued,he made up our minds to test with sending traditional 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 tough addressessome within the kind of photo puzzles, others despatched to ambiguous recipients at difficult to arrive destinationsall within the identify of checking out the deductive powers of the beleaguered postman. over the years hispassion replaced from sending curios to accumulating the world's greatest choice of autographs, additionally through the publish. beginning with key British army officials enthusiastic about the second one Boer battle, he obtained millions of autographs throughout the first 4 a long time of the 20 th centuryof politicians, army males, acting artists, aviators, wearing stars, etc. 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 such a lot outstanding postal creations. Readers won't ever examine the gadgets they submit an analogous approach back.

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1 zero four – 6] Aviators held a different position in Bray’s assortment. He the advance of powered flight with nice curiosity from the early days of the Wright brothers in 1903 to the emergence of passenger airplane and hugely maneuverable fighter planes. a couple of aviator pioneers signed autographs for his assortment, together with Herbert Rodd, pilot of the 1st U. S. Air Mail; Masaaki Iinuma and Kenji Tsukagoshi, who flew the 1st flight from Tokyo to England in 1937 (chilling aspect: the plane’s identify, The Divine Wind, capability Kamikaze in Japanese); and Amy Johnson, the 1st girl to fly solo from England to Australia. » [F i g s . 1 zero 7 – nine ] three W. Reginald Bray, “Hunting Postal Curiosities,” Royal journal, 1911, fifty eight. 123 the autograph king F i g S . nine five - nine 6 . connected to front of those lettercards are cigarette playing cards of W. P. Frith, a painter ( A B O V E ) , and Steve Bloomer, a footballer ( contrary ) . 124 the autograph king one hundred twenty five the autograph king F i g . nine 7 . at the entrance of this lettercard may be visible a cigarette card of Sir Henn Collins, grasp of the rolls, the 3rd such a lot senior pass judgement on in England and Wales, in the back of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord leader Justice. 126 the autograph king F i g . nine eight . A cigarette card of William Ebor, archbishop of York, is hooked up to front of this lettercard. 127 the autograph king F i g . nine nine . this can be a lettercard with a cigarette card of Scott Russell, a tenor, connected to front. 128 the autograph king Figs. 100–101. Signed photograph postcards of ( L E F T ) Louis Bradfield, an actor, and ( R i g h t ) Maude Danks, an actress. 129 the autograph king F i g . 1 zero 2 . ( lE F T ) This signed photo postcard is of the actor Basil Gill. F i g . 1 zero three . ( correct ) one among 3 exact photograph postcards, this one used to be signed through the actress Doris Beresford. She seemed in a construction of the recent Aladdin on the Gaiety Theatre in 1906. a hundred thirty the autograph king Fig. 104. (LEFT) The signature of West Ham footballer W. E. Barnes graces this photograph postcard. F i g . 1 zero five . ( correct ) Alexander McMillan, British consul to Monaco, signed an image postcard of the Monaco coat of palms. 131 the autograph king to accumulate the sort of large assortment, Bray understood that he couldn't restrict himself to recognized humans or those that had played basically praiseworthy feats. He scanned newspapers looking for objectives who, even for an afternoon, had develop into newsworthy. This necessarily integrated a few infamous characters. among such signatures are these of Horatio Bottomley and Ernest Hooley, monetary swindlers; William Martin, the skipper of a British trawler, who attracted feedback for no longer rescuing the group of a sinking zeppelin through the First international conflict; and Norman Baillie-Stewart, convicted of treason and imprisoned within the Tower of London in 1933. » [F i g s . 1 1 zero – 1 three ] corporation ads at the backs of photo postcards provided Bray one other classification of autographs to obtain. those postcards, frequently reproductions of posters or journal ads, characteristic photographs selling items of the day.

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