06 July 2013

The Englishman Who Posted Himself

The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects tells the story of a English middle-class man named W. Reginald Bray in the late XIXth century. His lifelong passion was sending unusual items through the mail, in order to test the limits of postal regulations.

He wondered, for instance, if a postcard clearly and legibly addressed but in mirror writing would be delivered (yes, it was). He asked the help of his mother to crochet an envelope with a needlework address (it was delivered as well). He sent a bunch of onions with an address tag. And so on. I guess the word TTPO (which stands for Torture the Post Office) was born in Reginald's town...

Bray was interested that living beings could be mailed. He successfully mailed his dog (?!) and, the ultimate of his experiments was mailing himself (??!!). He did this three times: in 1900, as ordinary mail. In 1903 he re-mailed himself using registered mail and was dutifully delivered to his father. In 1932 he mailed himself by the third time, and he got the nickname The Human Letter.

The author of the book is a philatelist who chanced upon some postcards Bray had sent out, and wanted to find out more. It was hard to find and gather part of Bray's collection, as his family sold out the complete archive after his dead. What a pity!

The book is crammed with some beautiful illustrations of Bray's postal experiments.

There is also a website dedicated to his postal adventures: Project Name.


  1. Wonderful - he must have had a fantastic postal history collection. From the examples it looks like there was often a 'to pay' as a result.

  2. I read this a few months ago (my book blog is so out-of-date!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think only an Englishman would be mad enough to do the things he did!

    1. I haven't read the book, indeed, but I'd like. I agree with your comment :D

  3. This is a very interesting read Eva!! I wish I can read this book for myself. Would be very entertaining!


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