Harry Houdini bibliography

Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was one of the most famous magicians, escapologists, and stunt performers of all time, as well as an investigator of spiritualists.

  • New York Times; September 21, 1905, Thursday; A Shackle-Breaking Match Under Water; Contestants Dived 30 Feet With Wrists And Ankles Bound. One Was Nearly Drowned A Case Of Professional Jealousy Between Houdini And Bondini, The Press Agent Says Houdini Won.
  • New York Times; February 5, 1906, Monday; They'll Lock Him In. Shipping Clerks Are to Test Professional Escaping Powers. There will be a fierce contest between trade and art next Wednesday night at Keith's Union Square Theatre. Houdini is a breaking-out artist, a stage artist. According to his press agent, handcuffs and constables and jails have no terror for Houdini; he can break out. He makes his living that way.
  • Washington Post; September 20, 1906; Department Store Employes Are Building Prison for Handcuff King. Employes in the packing department of the department store of S. Kann Sons & Co., are hoping to bring to earth Houdini, the handcuff king, to-morrow night at Chase's. The packers and shippers are certain that they can construct from heavy lumber and three-inch wire nails a prison from which Houdini will be unable to escape.
  • Washington Post; September 23, 1906; Firm Tells of Rare Bargains to Be Offered Monday. S. Kann, Sons & Co.'s fall opening is announced for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, and from the good things promised in to-day's advertisement page it will create a sensation equal to that occasioned by Houdini's escape from the strong box in which Kann's packers thought they had securely confined him on last Friday evening.
  • Washington Post; October 29, 1906; Explains Houdini's Tricks. Prof. Joyce Escapes from Bag and Box at Columbia Theater. In a manner satisfactory to the 1,500 persons who filled Columbia Theater last night, Maurice Joyce, physical instructor at Carroll Institute, gave an exhibition similar to that of Houdini, which mystified Washington audiences several weeks ago. Mr. Joyce's performance, however, was unlike Houdini's in this respect.
  • Washington Post; October 30, 1906; Washington Packers Resent Charges of Collusion with Houdini. Prof. Maurice Joyce's statement at the Columbia Theater Sunday evening that there must have been collusion in some form between the makers of the boxes and bags used by Houdini in his escape act and Houdini himself is challenged. Employes of S. Kann, Sons & Co., Saks & Co., and the George P. Killian Company are highly indignant over the intimation of unfairness.
  • New York Times; July 8, 1912, Monday; Thrown Overboard Manacled in a Box; Houdini Bobs Up Smiling in the Harbor, the Box Being Unopened and Still Nailed and Roped. Harry Houdini, known as the Handcuff King, and whose appearance at a local theatre this week may be a mere coincidence, was handcuffed and leg ironed, placed in a box, which was nailed up and leaded and thrown into New York Harbor yesterday morning in the presence of enough newspaper workers to have got out any New York daily.
  • Time magazine; Monday, June 4, 1923; The present recrudescence of interest in psychic and spiritualistic phenomena, partly due to the activities of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has called forth vigorous attempts on the part of investigators to secure objective evidence. The most ambitious project is that of the Scientific American, which recently offered $2,500 each to the first persons to produce an authentic psychic photograph and other psychic manifestations of physical character, under prescribed conditions, to the satisfaction of a committee consisting of Prof. William McDougall (psychologist), Dr. Daniel F. Comstock (physicist), Dr. Walter Franklin Prince and Hereward Carrington (psychic investigators), Harry Houdini (magician).  J. Malcolm Bird, associate editor of Scientific American and secretary of its committee, has returned from London, where with Conan Doyle he investigated the claims of William Hope, photographic medium, who in sittings at the British College of Psychic Science produced photo- graphs with at least one distinct extra face. Bird's conclusion, after careful scrutiny of conditions, was, "To me the probabilities seem good that the picture constitutes a genuine psychic phenomenon." Others claim to have caught Hope, however, in substituting prepared plates. Last week in the offices of the magazine, George Valentine, a medium of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was tested by members of the committee and the editors. In a darkened room lights flitted about, and six "spirits" of departed Indian chiefs and others were evoked, which tapped the sitters with their paraphernalia. Electric connections between the medium's chair and instruments in an adjoining room, a dictograph, and clock watches proved that the medium left his chair whenever the spirits moved. Mr. Houdini, who was concealed in the room, declared the seance the rawest of fakes. " I have never encountered an honest medium," he said. Why is this question, shrouded as it frequently is in proved fraud and sensational mummery, an object of scientific attention and experiment? Chiefly because for 40 years a number of eminent men have been convinced exponents of supernaturalism. The movement sprang largely from the British Society for Psychical Research, organized in 1882, among whose founders, presidents, or sympathizers have been numbered Lord Balfour, Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Barrett, Alfred Russell Wallace, Lord Rayleigh, Prof. Gilbert Murray, F. W. H. Myers, Sir William Crookes, Andrew Lang, Prof. Henry Sedgwick, Richard Hodgson, Sir James Barrie, Conan Doyle, and in France, Professors Henri Bergson, Charles Richet, Camille Flammarion. In Germany, Zöllner, Fechner, and Weber, all distinguished scientists, were confirmed spiritualists. In the United States, similar organizations have enjoyed the membership—although few of these men have been more than merely open-minded on the subject—of the late Daniel Coit Gilman, president of Johns Hopkins, Simon Newcomb, Edward C. Pickering (astronomers), Henry P. Bowditch, Charles S. Minot, S. Weir Mitchell (physicians), William James, G. Stanley Hall, James Hervey Hyslop (psychologists and philosophers). Dr. Hyslop (died 1920) was the only one of these who could be said to be definitely converted, so much so, in fact, that he gave up his professorship of logic and ethics at Columbia to devote his time to psychic investigation and propaganda. A number of facts might be noted about this list of great names: They are mostly men, whose scientific work has been done in the exact sciences, such as physics and astronomy, who are untrained in psychology or magic and have come into this interest by the back door, so to speak. They are for the most part elderly men, whose sense perceptions may have been blunted and whose interest in death and its consequences is natural. Many of them have lost near friends or relatives, some under tragic circumstances. It is noteworthy that no contemporary psychologist of America (where exact experimental methods have had their greatest development) is a believer in, or even a sympathizer with, the spiritistic hypothesis. J. Malcolm Bird, associate editor of Scientific American and secretary of its committee, has returned from London, where with Conan Doyle he investigated the claims of William Hope, photographic medium, who in sittings at the British College of Psychic Science produced photo- graphs with at least one distinct extra face. Bird's conclusion, after careful scrutiny of conditions, was, "To me the probabilities seem good that the picture constitutes a genuine psychic phenomenon." Others claim to have caught Hope, however, in substituting prepared plates. Last week in the offices of the magazine, George Valentine, a medium of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was tested by members of the committee and the editors. In a darkened room lights flitted about, and six "spirits" of departed Indian chiefs and others were evoked, which tapped the sitters with their paraphernalia. Electric connections between the medium's chair and instruments in an adjoining room, a dictograph, and clock watches proved that the medium left his chair whenever the spirits moved. Mr. Houdini, who was concealed in the room, declared the seance the rawest of fakes. " I have never encountered an honest medium," he said. Why is this question, shrouded as it frequently is in proved fraud and sensational mummery, an object of scientific attention and experiment? Chiefly because for 40 years a number of eminent men have been convinced exponents of supernaturalism. The movement sprang largely from the British Society for Psychical Research, organized in 1882, among whose founders, presidents, or sympathizers have been numbered Lord Balfour, Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Barrett, Alfred Russell Wallace, Lord Rayleigh, Prof. Gilbert Murray, F. W. H. Myers, Sir William Crookes, Andrew Lang, Prof. Henry Sedgwick, Richard Hodgson, Sir James Barrie, Conan Doyle, and in France, Professors Henri Bergson, Charles Richet, Camille Flammarion. In Germany, Zöllner, Fechner, and Weber, all distinguished scientists, were confirmed spiritualists. In the United States, similar organizations have enjoyed the membership—although few of these men have been more than merely open-minded on the subject—of the late Daniel Coit Gilman, president of Johns Hopkins, Simon Newcomb, Edward C. Pickering (astronomers), Henry P. Bowditch, Charles S. Minot, S. Weir Mitchell (physicians), William James, G. Stanley Hall, James Hervey Hyslop (psychologists and philosophers). Dr. Hyslop (died 1920) was the only one of these who could be said to be definitely converted, so much so, in fact, that he gave up his professorship of logic and ethics at Columbia to devote his time to psychic investigation and propaganda. A number of facts might be noted about this list of great names: They are mostly men, whose scientific work has been done in the exact sciences, such as physics and astronomy, who are untrained in psychology or magic and have come into this interest by the back door, so to speak. They are for the most part elderly men, whose sense perceptions may have been blunted and whose interest in death and its consequences is natural. Many of them have lost near friends or relatives, some under tragic circumstances. It is noteworthy that no contemporary psychologist of America (where exact experimental methods have had their greatest development) is a believer in, or even a sympathizer with, the spiritistic hypothesis.
  • Time magazine; Monday, November, 1924; "Red Magic". The New York World last week burst forth with pages unique to U. S, newspapers. These pages were called the Red Magic Section and were advertised prior to their appearance as pages personally edited by Harry Houdini, President of the Society of American Magicians. Red this magic section was red with ink. Magic this section was not, save as parlor tricks and picture puzzles are magical. One was not taught how to exorcise satanic presences, to stir a cauldron fraught with "eye of newt and tongue of toad," to draw a charmed circle or utilize the mystical phases of the moon. "Magic" was used in its popular, journalistic sense in naming the new section. And a popular, highly successful journalistic departure the new section promised to be. It reminded readers of the "find-the-face" picture puzzles once run by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, expanded, colored up, bigger and better in every way. There was the letter puzzle which come:; out: "Wise you are, wise you be. I see you are too wise for mo." There was the well-known optical illusion of the elephant swallowing a peanut. There was a well-known matchbox trick, fully explained diagrammatically. A note referred the reader to the World's Magazine Section—where were set down little-known facts about Harry Houdini: that he was born to the name of Weiss, son of a scholarly rabbi; that he took his name from a French magician, Robert Houdin; that his "greatest trick" is allowing himself to be garbed in a dress coat, packed in a bag, boxed in a locked and corded trunk, whence he appears in a few seconds and reveals his wife (or other colleague) garbed, packed, boxed, locked, corded in his place. 
  • Washington Post; January 17, 1926; Houdini, who comes to the Shubert Belasco this week, is one of the greatest students in the world of entertainment, and he spends six months of the year in psychic research in his library, which occupies three floors of his home, in New York city.
  • Washington Post; March 14, 1926; Called Fraud, Sues Houdini, for $50,000. Chicago, March 13, 1926 (Associated Press) Harry Houdini, the magician, was named as defendant in a suit seeking $50,000 damages filed today in behalf of Arthur McNally, described by his attorney as a blacksmith with psychic powers. McNally's suit charges that Houdini termed him a "fraud" at a recent public meeting.
  • New York Times; August 15, 1926, Sunday; Magician Has Rummaged the World For Books, Letters and Mementos of Famous People. Would you have magic? Would you have the centuries turned back? It can be done in a certain New York house that holds within its walls more secrets of magic than did ever Cave of Endor or Temple of Egypt or Delphic Oracle or the archives of medieval alchemist. And this is the house of Houdini, magician and exposer of spiritualists.
  • Time magazine; Monday, August 16, 1926; How long can a man live in a sealed coffin? Rahman Bey, fakir, recently submerged himself for an hour, asserted that he owed his life to his ability to fall into a cataleptic trance. It was magic; until the trance was at an end he did not breathe. To Fakir Bey, Harry Houdini, trickster, gave the lie, donned blue trunks, a white shirt, a luminous wrist watch, entered an airtight tin coffin equipped with a telephone and electric pushbutton, was lowered to the depth of the Shelton Hotel Pool, Manhattan. For one and one-half hours six strapping men stood on the coffin lid, held it at the bottom of the pool until Mr. Houdini telephoned that he was getting numb. Extricated, too weak to move, he explained that he had conserved his air supply by taking little breaths.
  • New York Times; November 1, 1926, Monday; Detroit, October 31, 1926. Harry Houdini Dies After Operations. Magician, Conscious to Last, Loses Fight for Life in Detroit Hospital. Harry Houdini, world famous as a magician, a defier of locks and sealed chests and an exposer of spiritualistic frauds, died here this afternoon after a week's struggle for life, in which he underwent two operations.
  • New York Times; November 1, 1926, Monday; Bizarre Experiences Told By Houdini; Tricked Roosevelt On River Of Doubt. Had Four "Close-Ups With Death." Few men could relate more interesting anecdotes and experiences than Harry Houdini. He was fond of telling how he beguiled the late Theodore Roosevelt and the late Victor Herbert on a voyage to Europe aboard the Imperator. Colonel Roosevelt had just returned from his exploration of the River of Doubt in Brazil.
  • New York Times; November 2, 1926, Tuesday; Houdini's Body Gets Here Today; Coming From Detroit in Bronze Coffin He Used to Remain In an Hour Without Air. Lying in State Planned. Magician's Tricks and Mysteries Will Go to Grave With Him, as He Left No Explanation. Detroit, Michigan, November 1, 1926. The body of Harry Houdini, the celebrated magician, left Detroit at 7:10 o'clock tonight for New York, where it will be buried beside that of his mother. Accompanying the coffin were Mrs. Houdini, Nathan J. Wriss and Theodore Hardin, brothers, both of New York; Gladys Houdini, a sister; Julia Karcher, a niece, and Luther E. Goble, manager of the Temple Theatre.
  • Time magazine; Monday, November 8, 1926; Died. Harry Houdini (onetime Harry Weiss), 52, famed magician; in Detroit, Mich.; of peritonitis, following a blow on the stomach, delivered by an inquisitive and injudicious McGill University student.
  • New York Times; November 8, 1926, Monday; Jewish Actors' Guild Pays Houdini Tributes; Eddie Cantor Breaks Down During Eulogy. Magician's Life Insurance Heavy. Tribute to both the man and the performer, was paid Harry Houdini by his associates in the Jewish Theatrical Guild at the Bijou Theatre yesterday afternoon. The meeting, called primarily as a farewell to Eddie Cantor, First Vice President, who leaves soon for Hollywood, was transformed into a memorial service for the magician, one of the Guild's most faithful and active members.
  • New York Times; November 12, 1926, Friday; Houdini's Library Valued at $500,000; Will Divides It Among Widow, the Nation and Society for Psychical Research. Bequests to his Relatives. No Explanation of Magician's Many Tricks Found Yet, but Papers Still Await Close Examination. Harry Houdini's private safety deposit box in the Lincoln Trust Company, at 60 East Forty-second Street, was opened yesterday under a court order. A will was found which contained no intimation of the size of his estate, but which left most of it to his widow, his brothers and a sister.
  • New York Times; May 8, 1927, Sunday; Congress Library Gets Houdini Books; Bequest of Magician's Collection on Psychic Lore and Spiritualism Is Received. Exceeds 5,000 Volumes. Documents and Publications Expose Many of Fraudulent Practices Employed by Mediums. Washington, May 7, 1927; Sixteen large packing cases just received at the Library of Congress contain the two collections bequeathed to that institution by Houdini, the magician, "handcuff king," conjurer and possessor of a thousand tricks.
  • Los Angeles Times; June 14, 1927; Houdini's Death Officially Laid to Boy's Blow. 
  • Los Angeles Times; February 11, 1928; Magician's Widow Informed of Seance Message, Asserted to be from Husband's Dead Mother, Containing Secret Code Key.
  • New York Times; January 10, 1929, Thursday; Houdini's Friends Doubt 'Message'; Freethinker Offers $25,000 for a "Spirit Communication" With Magician. Medium Won't Get $10,000. Widow Says Ford Succeeded in Test, but She Withdrew the Prize Several Weeks Ago. Freethinker Offers Prize Say Code Was Published. Old Friend Is Skeptical. The statement of Mrs. Beatrice Houdini, widow of Harry Houdini, that the magician had on Tuesday sent a "spirit message" to her through a medium evoked skeptical replies yesterday from friends of the magician. One man offered a prize ...
  • New York Times; June 13, 1945, Wednesday; Illusionist, Escape Artist, a Founder of Magician's Guild. Gave Last Show May 29. Theodore Hardeen, a brother of he late Harry Houdini, illusionist and a prominent magician in his own right, died yesterday in the Doctors Hospital. His age was 69.
  • New York Times; August 24, 1967, Thursday; Collection of Houdini Gear Is for Sale. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Aug. 23, 1967. Much of the paraphernalia used by Harry Houdini in 35 years as a stage magicion and escape artist lies in dusty trunks and crates in a storage warehouse in New Jersey. It is up for sale.
  • Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution; May 25, 1992; Washington. A professor and a librarian have performed the astonishing act of phenomenal prestidigitation, hitherto unimaginable, right before the very eyes of startled onlookers: They have made the works of the amazing Houdini reappear. Not that the papers of the nation's greatest magician had actually disappeared. Rather, they had been misplaced, which is as good as having disappeared since they had lain mismarked for years somewhere among millions of other objects in a  ...