Thursday, January 23, 2014

A birthday present for Bess

There has long been a bit a mystery about Bess Houdini's birthday. Almost all published sources say January 22, 1876. But the California death index lists it as January 23. In the past we've celebrated on both days, just to be safe. But this year all that changes.

Bess Houdini's birthday is TODAY, January 23, and here's a wonderful piece of proof from the collection of John C. Hinson, the great nephew of Harry and Bess Houdini, and the benefactor of our Hinson Endowment. This is a copy of Houdini's 1920 book, Miracles Mongers and Their Methods, given by Houdini to his "Sweetheart Wife" on "January 23/1921 - on your birthday." This would have been Bess' 45th birthday.

Inside is this wonderful inscription from Houdini:

Click to enlarge.

So there we have it. We can now confidently celebrate Bess' birthday on January 23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BESS. 138 years young today!

The Birthday Girl

8 comments:

  1. Nice work, John! Thanks for sharing. Do you recall where researchers got the Jan. 22 date?

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    Replies
    1. Off hand, I don't know where the 22nd came from. But it stuck.

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  2. I'm sure Bess was thrilled to receive Miracle Mongers and Their Methods for her birthday. Why would she want a pair of diamond earings or a new dress?

    It's nice to know Bess and I share the same birthday.

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    Replies
    1. LOL. I thought the same thing. Maybe he gave her some earrings as well. :)

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  3. Nice piece of evidence. Thanks for sharing this gift with us.

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  4. Yes, it must have been a package deal. You get the book--autographed by your own husband--with the earrings. You know, it's the little things like this that make you realize Houdini was a bit of a strange character. But I suppose that's part of the fascination.

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    Replies
    1. Although this book is now worth a lot more than diamond earrings, so...

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  5. And signed so personally ...

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