A. H. Reed was born on 30 December 1875 in Hayes, Middlesex, England.
After his father’s business failed in 1886, the family immigrated to New Zealand and settled at Parahaki on the Northland gumfields.
Reed attended a half-time school and, while working with his father as a gum digger during his teens, taught himself shorthand.
At 19, Reed went to Auckland to find work.He learned to type and, at 20 years of age, was hired by the New Zealand Typewriter Company at one pound per week.
In 1897 he was sent to Dunedin to open a branch of the business, which he subsequently acquired in 1902.
Reed and his wife, Isabel, were heavily involved in the Methodist Church and his involvement with teaching Sunday school led to the establishment of a mail-order business for the supply of literature for religious education.
In 1907 Reed founded the business that eventually expanded into the Reed publishing house. His nephew, Alexander Wyclif (Clif) Reed, joined the company in 1925 and started a new branch of the business in Wellington in 1932.
After his wife died in 1939, Reed handed over the business to Clif and retired the following year, but his retirement did not mean slipping into obscurity or settling down into the quiet of his golden years.
He remained Chairman of the Board of Reed Publishing until 1960, was involved in lecturing and committee work, and wrote numerous books and pamphlets. A number of these books concerned his walking tours throughout New Zealand for which he is best known to many.
Reed died peacefully in his sleep on 15 January 1975, two months after being knighted by Governor-General Sir Denis Blundell.