Harry Houdini Scrapbook [James Hanley Brewing Co. Challenge Letter to Harry Houdini, March 1, 1915]
File name: 09_03_000057
Title: Harry Houdini Scrapbook [James Hanley Brewing Co. Challenge Letter to Harry Houdini, March 1, 1915]
Creator/Contributor: Quincy Kilby (1854-1931), creator; Harry Houdini (1874 –1926), contributor
Date created: 1904-1926
Physical description: scrapbook
Summary: In the early 1900s, Houdini expanded his act to include challenge escapes, in which he invited the public to devise contraptions to hold him. He successfully escaped from nailed packing crates (some lowered into water), riveted boilers, wet sheets, mailbags, and even the belly of a “sea monster” that had washed ashore in Boston.
The James Hanley Brewing Company of Providence, Rhode Island, issued a challenge in 1915 “to escape from a large cask after we have filled the same with our famous ‘Half Stock Ale’ and our men have locked you in the cask.” Houdini’s handwritten note at the bottom of the page reveals the outcome of this particular test: “I accepted & escaped. Houdini. (and I do not drink). HH.”
Location: Boston Public Library, Rare Books & Manuscripts Department
Rights: Rights status not evaluated.