Harry Houdini Scrapbook [Front cover]
File name: 09_03_000066
Title: Harry Houdini Scrapbook [Front cover]
Creator/Contributor: Quincy Kilby (1854-1931), creator; Harry Houdini (1874 –1926), contributor
Date created: 1904-1926
Physical description: scrapbook
Summary: Magician and famed escapologist Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary. His family emigrated to Wisconsin when he was four years old, and he made his public début as a 9-year-old trapeze artist, calling himself "Ehrich, the prince of the air.” He began calling himself "Harry Houdini" because of his respect for the great French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.
Harry Houdini began his professional career at age 17 performing magic shows before civic groups, in music halls, and at New York’s Coney Island amusement park, where he appeared in up to twenty shows daily. He expanded his repertoire to include escapes from handcuffs, chains, and straitjackets, often while hanging from a rope in plain sight of audiences. For many years, he was the highest-paid performer in American vaudeville. Houdini also served as President of the Society of American Magicians from 1917 until his death in 1926 in Montreal, when he died of complications from a ruptured appendix.
This remarkable scrapbook was compiled by Houdini’s good friend Quincy Kilby, a Brookline resident and Boston theater impresario. Materials in this large volume were collected over a twenty-year period and include personal letters, photographs, programs, newspapers clippings, and other unique memorabilia. Knowing that Kilby was amassing this collection, Houdini would send him items specifically “for your Houdini scraps book.”
Location: Boston Public Library, Rare Books & Manuscripts Department
Rights: Rights status not evaluated.