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THE NEW YORK TIMES November 5, 1926 Page 21, Column 1


Famous Magician Laid to Rest with Head Pillowed on Mother’s Letters

Elks Hold “Hour of Remembrance” and Masons and Magicians Also Conduct Services

After varied and impressive services had been held yesterday morning at the Elks’ clubhouse in West Forty-third Street, Harry Houdini, most famous magician of our time, was buried in a family plot in the Machpelah Cemetery, Cypress Hills, L.I., with his head pillowed on the letters his mother had written him. At the foot of the grave stood his widow, Beatrice, who had long been partner in one of his acts. She was supported by his brother, Theodore Hardeen, who is said to know the secrets of his tricks and escapes. Nat Weiss, another brother, and Gladys Houdini, a sister, were also present.

Across the grave stood the Rev. B.A. Tintner, his black robes blotting out a small section of the great bank of chrysanthemums that had been brought from the Elks’ clubhouse. Rabbi Tintner had prayed at the Elks’ services, asking that the Lord give strength to Houdini’s widow and brothers to bear the bereavement. Now he prayed again, both in English and Hebrew, and when the final words of his prayer trailed away into the still air of late Autumn, the crowd that had followed to the grave heaped roses upon the bier of the magician.

Friends See Him for Last Time

Three hours before the coffin had lain open in the Elks’ clubhouse, where friends looked their last on the master of the black art.

The services in the clubhouse commenced at 10:30 A.M. with an organ recital. They included rites of the Elks, the Masons and the Society of American Magicians, a prayer by Rabbi Tintner, a tribute by Rabbi Bernard Drachman and eulogies by Loney Haskell of the Jewish Theatrical Guild and Henry Chesterfield of the National Vaudeville Artists, all of which, according to Mr. Haskell, was in strict accordance with the wish expressed some years ago by Houdini.

The organ recital was followed by an anthem. Then Rabbi Drachman, speaking softly though distinctly enough to be heard in the far reaches of the second balcony, began in praise of his dear friend. “I can say without exaggeration,” he said, “that Houdini’s loss is shared by all mankind.”

The tribute of New York Lodge No. 2, B.P.O.E., began at 11 o’clock, “the hour of remembrance.” The great hall was darkened, the clock over the platform struck eleven times and with each stroke a panel in the clock’s face became a glow of yellow light. As the twelfth panel alone remained in darkness, prayer commenced.

Rites by Masons About Bier

The St. Cecile Lodge of Masons and the Society of American Magicians formed squares in turn about the bier. Tribute was read and “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere” sung. Then a white lambskin was laid upon the bier and each Mason filed by and dropped a bit of evergreen, emblematical of the immortality of the soul.

Honorary pallbearers were Martin Beck, John J. Murdock, William Morris, L. Laurence Weber, Mark Luescher, Charles Dillingham, Ike Rose, Bernard M.L. Ernst, Francis Werner, Oscar Teale, Richard E. Enright, Bernard Gimbel, Adolph S. Ochs, William Johnson, Orson Munn, Arthur Prince and Dr. William Stone. The pallbearers were members of the magician’s troupe who had appeared with him in performances for many years.

Mrs. Houdini issued a statement last night saying that only she and her late husband’s technical adviser knew the secret of the magician’s tricks. “The statement that four persons knew Houdini’s secrets is untrue,” she said. “The only persons who possess the secret of all of Houdini’s tricks and illusions are James Collins, his assistant and technical adviser for twenty years, and myself.”

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