xii.268pp., 8vo, re-backed, portions of the original backstrip (the words "The Sharper Detected and Exposed.| Houdin") preserved, original boards, corners bumped, some fading in parts, sl. creasing, contents with occasional stain, mainly good condition. Scarce.
'George Franklin | The World's Worst Wizard' [ F. Spence ] and 'original cod prestidigitateur'
On his letterhead, with autograph address Green Gates, 55 Corton Road, Lowestoft [ Suffolk ]. 16 September 1948.
1p., 8vo. In fair condition, aged and creased. The letterhead, in orange and blue, boasts that Franklin is 'The World's Worst Wizard', and is headed 'Too Tuubes [sic] | The original cod prestidigitateur with a new act which is packed with crazy comedy and clean fun'. He asks him to send 'Stevenson Toy Theatre Book', and asks if he has 'any books on Marionette & string Puppets'.
Note on letterhead of 'Charles Cole | Cartoonist', 1 Montrose Court NW11 [ London ]; 28 September 1945. Cole's inscription on photograph dated 1945.
ONE: TNS. 1p., landscape 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged with nick to corner. Letterhead features two small cartoons: a caricature of himself and a lion. Covering letter sending 'herewith my autograph for your collection'. TWO: Signed black and white portrait photograph of Cole. 8 x 5.5 cm. In good condition. Signed at bottom right: 'Sincerely | Charles Cole | 1945'. Cole has rather disappeared under the radar.
[Rev. William Morris Mousley (b. 1828), son of the Rev. William Mousley, vicar of Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire; 'Tom Thumb'; the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly; 'Wizard' Jacobs, conjuror and ventriloquist]
4 to 28 June 1844.
12mo, 39 pp. Stitched into original coloured wraps decorated with pastel-coloured rainbow stripes. Text clear and complete. Good, on aged paper. The final two pages of the volume contain crude sketches in coloured pencil (figure seated on steps of country cottage, a clump of trees, ships at sea). The year is not stated, but certainly 1844 from the references in the volume. Found with other autograph material of the Rev. W. M. Mousley, who would have been sixteen at the time of writing. The trip is made along with 'Papa', 'Mama [Mamma]' (often 'poorly'), 'Henry' and 'James'.
Daniel French, probably a missionary in Demerara, West Indies, for some time
[Printed heading] New Orphan Houses, Ashley Down, Bristol, 30 April 1868.
Six pages, 12mo, closely written, fold marks, good condition. "[...] on Obeah as practised in Demerara, I have exceedingly little information to give, having had but little personal contact with it and only knowing it as a thing much talked about and I believe, largely made use of by the black people. It is no uncommon thing for a person bearing ill will towards another to resort to an Obeah man in order that he may work them some harm.
[Harry Houdini (1874-1926), magician and escapologist]
Items dating from between 1909 and 1997.
A fascinating archive, reflecting Houdini's immense iconic status. The collection is in good condition, with only a few items showing signs of aging, such as a handful of magazines with loose covers or other pages. Apart from two items (described first below) the collection is divided into two parts, A and B: Part A comprises general Houdini ephemera, and Part B magazines featuring Houdini, 1909-1997.
James Carl (J. A. Wakefield, 1875-1955), 'the Derby Conjuror, Member of the Magic Circle, London', 'Society Magician'
The book published in Derby by E. J. Furniss, 15, Exeter Street, in 1911.
The studio photograph, with printed label of 'Walter Baker, 159, Mosely Road, Birmingham. Highgate Studios.' on reverse, and the manuscript number '24704 | 98'. is a good clear head and shoulders portrait (dimensions roughly three and a half inches by two and a quarter wide), in very good condition. Although untitled, it seems to be Carl, as represented on the title-page of his book, without the moustache and a little younger. The book is twenty-eight pages, octavo, in original coloured printed boards. Numerous line drawings.
William Marshall Craig (fl.1788-1828), English artist [Barclay's Dictionary; T. Kinnersley]
Published as the Act directs by T. Kinnersley, May 1st. 1813.'
Dimensions of paper roughly ten inches by seven and a half wide. Clear impression on aged paper. Shows a standing magician waving a wand with a skull behind him and a kneeling servant hiding behind the hem of his gown, reciting a spell from a book on a table in front of him. The two demons he has conjured up stand to his left, looking rather pleased with themselves. Snakes, smoking cauldron, pin cushion, hourglass, knife, etc. Extracted from Barclay's Dictionary, where it was used to illustrate the word 'conjurer'.
Leslie George Cole, 'The Great Levante | FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN ILLUSIONIST'
1 October 1954; on letterhead.
Australian magician and escapologist (1892-1978). One page, 8vo. Very good, but with some loss to edge by removal from mount. Letterhead reads 'THIRD WORLD TOUR | The Great Levante | FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN ILLUSIONIST | WITH HIS MAGICAL EXTRAVAGANZA "HOW'S TRICKS" | This Week: [Chelsea Palace, | London.] | Next Week: [Town Hall, | Pontypridd.]' He thanks him for his letter, returns his card, and encloses a photograph as requested.
Offprint: 'Acta Etnographica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Tomus 19, pp. 169-177 (1970)'.
Hand (1907-86), an authority on American folklore, was Professor of Germanic Languages and Folklore at the University of California, Los Angeles. 9 pages (paginated as stated), octavo. In very good condition in light-blue printed card wraps. Minor spotting and discoloration. A 'survey, essentially, of the physical harm wrought by conjurers, [...] a discussion of sickness and disease, and other categories of physical impairment, and [...] a consideration of the nature of the magic employed, and the various circumstances and conditions under which it is carried out'.