We use Library of Congress archival methods.
Marina Tsvetaeva quotation
Magic History Links
Famous Magicians Photo Gallery
Houdini's Handwriting and Signature
Harry Houdini:

For the Houdini aficionado, the web has much to offer. The Houdini Collection in the Library of Congress "comprises 143 photographs and 29 related items of personal memorabilia that document the career of Harry Houdini."

At Houdini in the New York Times "you can read about Houdini’s exploits through the eyes of the Times as the news occurred, taking with you some history, myth, and nostalgia about the legendary entertainer." This valuable site indexes articles about Houdini dated 1910-1983.

Stuart Lutz, noted historian and dealer in historic documents, has a fascinating article on Houdini's handwriting and signature, very important information for the careful Houdini collector. See the article here at The House of Deception.


Magicians in Chatauqua and Lyceum:

If you have not yet delved into the fascinating history of the American Lyceum and Chatauqua circuits, a good place to start is Miller (Dusty) Cravens' article, Lyceum, Chautauqua, and Magic, where you will also find thumbnail images of sixty different brochures and other publicity material from magicians of that era. There's also a good references page that will point you in the right direction for further study.


Then be sure to browse the Library of Congress/University of Iowa's Traveling Culture: Circuit Chuatauqua in the Twentieth Century. The collection, from the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, perhaps the largest booking agency for the Chautauqua, houses "7,949 publicity brochures, promotional advertisements and talent circulars for some 4,546 performers who were part of the Chautauqua circuit." One hundred magicians' pieces are listed.


Posters and other Visual Images:

One of the best ways to capture the allure of the Golden Age of stage conjuring is to gaze upon the advertising posters of the era. Take a trip back in time by doing so at Charles Greene's MagicGallery.com and Ken Trombly's MagicPosters.com.

Prepare to be overwhelmed by the vast content and incredible beauty of CircusMuseum.nl. You will find posters and photographs not only of magicians but also of every other allied art and showperson imaginable.


Magician Will Alma, who died in 1993, bequeathed his collection to the State Library of Victoria (Australia). That library seems to be managing the material well, unlike so many others in the "public trust."


Notwithstanding, see also The Library of Congress Poster Collection. Your search for magic materials there will produce up to 260 or more results.


"Ethical Considerations for the Conservation of Circus Posters" by Neil C. Cockerline explains little known facts about the nuts and bolts operation of the lithography and show advertising businesses. This article is gourmet food for thought for the collector of magic posters.


And for the true devotee of the magic poster, Rhett Bryson offers A Visual History of Whispering Imps on Magic Posters, a beautifully focused article, casting its spell with a devilish sense of humor.


Do you like Chalk Talk? Visit Kerry Kistler's Golden Chalk Talk Classics for an overview of the history and literature of that intriguing performance art.


Here at The House of Deception we have begun to assemble a digital collection of art works, including but not limited to paintings and sculptures, that feature magic and magicians. Please visit our Magic in Art collection and email us with suggestions for other images to be included in the collection.


Care and Preservation of Posters and other Old Paper

To learn to properly care for your library and collection see The Library of Congress, Collections Care and Preserving Works on Paper.

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, hosted by Stanford University, is a professional organization for conservators. Their Caring for Your Treasures pages provide useful brochures on conserving books, photos and other paper documents.

The folks at Scrapbook.com have created a comprehensive page about paper, document, and photo preservation. Information on how paper deteriorates and what various papers are composed of is included.
J. B. Findlay Photos and Bibliography
*********************Note to Aspiring Magicians*********************

The House of Deception focuses on the
history of deception. If your goal is to learn to perform magic, or to improve your presentational skills, we strongly recommend that you visit a magic shop in your area. Of course you will pay a bit more than at an online discount shop, but it is well worth it! If you are willing to spend some money, listen carefully and be respectful, the experienced magicians in the shop will give you invaluable guidance that simply cannot be taught online.
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