Bray, John Francis, 1809-1897

Alternative names
Birth 1809
Death 1897

Biographical notes:

John Francis Bray (1809-1897) was born in Washington in the United States, the son of a singer and comedian who was descended from West Riding farmers and cloth manufacturers. In 1822 the Bray family returned to Leeds. When his father died a few days following the family's return to Yorkshire Bray stayed with his aunt who was a milliner. During the 1820s he became apprenticed to a printer and bookbinder in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He later moved to Selby, North Yorkshire to complete his apprenticeship. In 1832 Bray returned to Leeds and in the following year worked on the "Voice of the West Riding" periodical. He then moved to York and contributed to the "Leeds Times" until 1837 when he moved back to Leeds. He became involved in the town's working class movement and helped to set up the Leeds Working Men's Association. He became its treasurer and delivered a number of lectures on its behalf. Bray returned to the United States in 1842 and became a printer in Detroit. From 1856 to 1865 he ran a daguerreotype gallery in Pontiac, Michigan. In the following decade Bray became involved in the Young American Socialist Movement. He helped draft a number of political tracts, addressed public meetings in parts of the mid-West and was a correspondent on economic and social questions. By this time Bray was living on a farm near Pontiac, Michigan, where he spent the rest of his life producing corn and fruit for market. He joined the Knights of Labour in 1886 and the Pontiac branch of the knights subsequently took the name the "John F Bray Assembly". Bray died on 1st February 1897 at his son's farm in Pontiac. His publications include: "Labour's wrongs and labour's remedy" (1839); "Government and society considered in relation to first principles" (1842); "The coming age devoted to the fraternisation and advancement of mankind through religious, political and social reforms. No. 1 Spiritualism founded on a fallacy" (1855); "No. 2 The origin of mundane and human energies unfavourable to spiritualism" (1855); "American destiny what shall it be? Republican or Cossack? An argument addressed to the people of the late Union North and South" (1864); "God and man a unity and all mankind a unity; a basis for a new dispensation social and religious" (1879).

From the guide to the BRAY, John Francis, 1809-1897, economist, c1823-1973, (British Library of Political and Economic Science)

Socialist, writer, printer, and daguerreotype artist. He emigrated from the United States to England in 1822 and became member of Leeds Workingmen's Association. Author of "Labour's wrongs and labour's remedy; or, The age of might and the age of right" (1839). Returned to the U.S. in 1842, and settled in Pontiac, Mich.

From the description of John Francis Bray papers, ca. 1822-1896. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 68796377

From the description of Papers, ca. 1822-1896. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34369092

Early socialist writer and labor agitator in England, 1822. He returned to America in 1842.

From the description of Papers, 1842-1890. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122453767


Angliĭskiĭ ėkonomist, posledovatelʹ sot︠s︡ialista-utopista R. Ouėna, razvival teorii︠u︡ rabochikh deneg. Po professii - tipografskiĭ rabochiĭ. Byl naborshchikom v Lidse. Aktivnyĭ uchastnik angliĭskogo i amerikanskogo rabochego dvizhenii︠a︡.Rodilsi︠a︡ v Vashingtone, v 1822 g. uekhal v Anglii︠u︡. V 1839 g. opublikoval rabotu lABOUR'S vRONGS AND lABOYR'S rEMEDY. V 1842 vernulsi︠a︡ v Ameriku, zanimalsI︠̆A︡ fermerstvom, vystupal v amerikanskoĭ rabocheĭ presse. V 70-e gody byl vystavlen pervym sot︠s︡ialisticheskim kandidatom na vyborakh v shtate Michigan. Umer v 1897 g. v Pontiake.

From the description of Bray John Francis (1809-1897). Fond 220, 1802-1856. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122776974


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • labour relations
  • Social policy
  • Socialism
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Economics
  • Working class
  • Labour
  • Economic history
  • Labor movement
  • Political history
  • Labor movement--19th century
  • History
  • Religion
  • Collectivism
  • Labor
  • Social reform
  • Labour movement
  • Political doctrines
  • Socialism--19th century


  • Governors
  • Socialists
  • Economists


  • England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • USA North America (as recorded)
  • London England (as recorded)
  • Leeds (England) (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)