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THE NEW YORK TIMES May 8, 1927 Page 15, Column 2


Bequest of Magician’s Collection on Psychic Lore and Spiritualism is Received

Documents and Publications Expose Many of Fraudulent Practices Employed by Mediums

Special to The New York Times.

WASHINGTON, May 7–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.

The collections include 1,727 books, pamphlets and periodicals on magic and 3,420 on psychical research. There are also numerous manuscripts and posters and 126 scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings dealing with Houdini.

“The love of bibliographic research,” Houdini had told the Club of Odd Volumes, “has been the cornerstone of my life from my earliest years.”

While on tour, every hour that he could find was given to study in libraries, to interviews with retired magicians and collectors, and to browsing in old book stores and antique shops. He searched catalogues assidiously [sic] and often advertised his wants.

From time to time Houdini was able to acquire collections read by his rivals. He bought the books on magic brought together by Hiram Stead, a mass of the Davenport Brothers’ material, and the libraries of Hagan, Adrian Platt, Stead, Elliott Robinson, Edwin Fay Rice, Harrington, Young, Alexander, Heinberger and G.W. Hunter.

The collection on psychical research resulted from an interest in the subject dating back to Houdini’s early career.

One early American volume is among the pioneer writings in this country on “spiritualism,” by John W. Edmonds, a Judge in the higher courts of the State of New York, and George T. Dexter, a physician, with an appendix by Nathaniel P. Tallmage, a Senator from New York from 1833 to 1844, and afterward Governor of Wisconsin Territory.

There are also the report on spiritualism by the committee of the Dialetical Society, the report of the Seybert commission on spiritualism, the writings of students, exponents and practitioners of the psychical; the works of Andrew Jackson Davis, “The Seer of Poughkeepsie,” Hudson Tuttle, and others as well known, or less known; books from local and obscure presses, records of “revelations,” records of “disclosures,” studies of the subject under various aspects and a series of volume [sic] describing personal experiences.

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