Monday, November 23, 2015

Page through a Houdini scrapbook

Here's an intriguing YouTube video showing each page of what appears to be an original Houdini scrapbook. Inside are newspaper clippings from Houdini's time, many I recognize as being from 1914-16.

UPDATE: Looks like the video has been removed.

I'm afraid I don't have any information on this scrapbook or the owner. I've talked to a few collectors, and it appears this might be a scrapbook that once belonged to Larry Weeks and was sold in 2011. I expect this won't be the last we see of this.

Thanks to Richard Bachman.

UPDATE 2: The scrapbook sold for $43,000 at Potter & Potters 2016 auction of "Houdiniana." The scrapbook did belong to Larry Weeks. You can read more about it HERE.



  1. Who ever is handling the book has no clue how to turn pages. Poor shape. Looks like a bunch of newspaper clippings, where's the rest of it?

  2. I never understood the allure of newspaper scrapbooks beyond their research value for a bio. The famous person in question cuts out newspaper articles that feel interesting and important enough to save, and pastes them in a scrapbook. If nothing more, there are no photos and letters, just newspaper clippings.

    Collectors are paying thousands of dollars for scrapbooks containing old newspaper clippings that granted, once belonged to a famous individual. Newsprint is the cheapest type of paper that eventually crumbles at the touch if not preserved.

    1. Good points, Leo. The real value I see with this scrapbook is the idea that it was owned by Houdini (if indeed it was, I really don't know anything about this book or its provenance). Today most of these clippings can be found online, so it's not even the research tool it once was.

      Most scrapbooks will contain some letters, photos, challenges, tickets, or other advertising ephemera that are valuable in themselves. It's possible these have been removed from this book and sold on their own, which is too bad. Again, I don't know that for sure, but we can see there are many pages that have ghost outlines of something that used to be there.

      Still, it would be nice to have. :)

  3. Looks like the video has been removed. I thought that might happen.