J.E. (John Edward) Woodhead was born in Leeds, England on August 2, 1840 and died in Chicago on October 24, 1918. His family emigrated to the United States in 1844, settling first in Cincinnati, then moving to Burlington, Iowa in 1855. Woodhead moved to Chicago in 1871, shortly after the Chicago Fire, and entered into business as the western agent for the Lamb Knitting Machine Company. He developed an interest in book collecting, and established a 4000-plus volume private library. He also served as Secretary of the World's Congress Auxiliary Section of Weights, Measures, and Coinage at the World's Columbian Exposition; was a founder and officer (secretary) of the Cosmic Publishing Company, publisher of "Mind in Nature"; a founding member of the Western Society for Psychical Research (founded 1885 in Chicago); and the founder and manager of the National Letter Return Association (1885-1895).