There you will find reprints of The Magic Cauldron, a 1960s periodical for magic
collectors, plus much more essential reading.
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.
The Houdini Club of Wisconsin offers a good bibliography of works written by
Houdini. (This club's proudly proclaimed motto is "Nothing Beats Fun!" and we at
The House of Deception could not agree more.)
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.
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) Craven's 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 Works Cited 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."
"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. Mr. Cockerline is Director of Preservation Services and
Conservator for the Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis, MN.
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
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, in PDF format, on conserving
books, photos and other paper documents.
Oldimprints.com (formerly Nineteenth Century Imprints) has a good primer on
identifying and authenticating the various types of prints as well as a useful reading
list on printmaking.
*********************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
Magic History Links
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Copyright Duff Johnson 2004-2013
No text or image may be copied or
reproduced without written permission.