Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Houdini scrapbook in the Library of Congress

Here's a great video showing a Houdini scrapbook in the Library of Congress. I'm especially interested to learn that the famous "Dear Ma" postcard was "not visible" before the LOC's conservations efforts. You can watch by clicking the link below:

You might have noticed the cover of a 1941 issue of Genii in this "Houdini" scrapbook. I'm guessing what we might be seeing is a scrapbook put together by Edward Saint after Houdini's death. Those were also donated to the Library of Congress. So we can blame Ed for buying "cheap dime store scrapbooks"!



  1. I know for a fact that the LOC has both Houdini scrapbooks and scrapbooks assembled by Edward Saint. But this video is kind of full of holes. He states that 'Houdini gave the LOC all his scrapbooks'. But we know this is not the case as there are other scrapbooks in numerous other collections. He also makes it sound like the LOC made this incredible discovery with the 'Dear Ma' letter. But the very same document is pictured on pg 20 of HOUDINI His Life and Art by Randi and Sugar published in 1976 and it could be in other books as well. So it was known about prior to the 'discovery' by the LOC. I think many of these old scrapbooks were put on paper that would not stand the test of time, but thats not because they were cheap dime store scrapbook paper, its because they didn't have the knowledge back then that we have today to know the proper paper or surface to put the clippings on.

    1. I think the Dear Ma postcard did first appear in the Randi book, and it is credited as coming from the LOC. So their restoration could have taken place prior to '76. I don't think the video is saying any of this was recent.

      And you're right they don't have all of Houdini's scrapbooks. But they do have a lot. But I'm wondering if the Saint scrapbooks are now confused with the Houdini scrapbooks. Sounds like they were all broken down and put into archival holders years ago. I saw that very binder with the Dear Ma card in 1990.

  2. I actually visited the LOC about 10 years ago, on Halloween and got to handle and look theu a Houdini scrapbook. No photos were allowed. It was so cool to be able to hold this and look at other. I don't know if it would be allowed anymore but I'd love to again