ANNE R. BRADFORD - FREES BIOGRAPHER
Two books about Mr. Frees, both written and published by Anne R. Bradford in the 1970s, contain examples of his work and some biographical information. I want to thank Mrs. Bradford who has given me permission to use information that she has shared with me.
Mrs. Bradford is a British postcard collector who began looking for Frees postcards after rediscovering his photograpy in a copy of The Little Folks of Animal Land in 1974. She remembered reading Frees's books as a child but as an adult recognized the amazing talent behind these pictures. She was slowly able to acquire some of his postcards and eventually wrote the postmaster in Oaks, Pennsylvania, to see if she could locate anyone who could provide her more information about Harry Frees. The postmaster put her in touch with the daughter of Frees's cousin, who was now elderly but remembered visiting his studio as a child. She told Mrs. Bradford that Frees had moved to Clearwater, Florida, where he died in 1953. Mrs. Bradford refocused her research to Clearwater, again corresponding by mail. She discovered the sad fate of Harry Whittier Frees. He had apparently died in poverty, by suicide, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Mrs. Bradford says that this information made her determined to publish a tribute book to Mr. Frees to honor him on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Mrs. Bradford approached several publishers, some of whom showed interest in a Frees tribute book. However, she ended up self-publishing because the publishers did not want to deal with the copyright issues related to the postcards. Mrs. Bradford was fortunate to have a London Times journalist take interest in her book and feature it in a Sunday color supplement. Sales took off for "The Animal Magic of Harry Whittier Frees" and led to a second book "More Animal Magic of Harry Whittier Frees".
With the proceeds from the sales of the books, Mrs. Bradford was able to arrange for a headstone to be put on Frees's grave. It bears the picture on the postcard "All is Vanity".