"As you might imagine, I'm absolutely thrilled about this," says Eric. "It's taken a bit longer than we expected, but the results are meticulous and detailed and will finally make the collection more visible. They came to us in 1958 as part of the Messmore Kendall Collection - Kendall having purchased them from Bess after Harry's death. Kendall merged his collection with Houdini's and it's always been a challenge to separate the two and to arrange the papers in a way that would make sense."
The center has launched online finding aids for all three collections:
Harry Houdini Papers:
Harry Houdini Collection:
Magic Collection (formerly called the Magicians Collection):
The Ransom Center also has books that belonged to Houdini's library. Those that have been identified can be found HERE. The center is also home to one of the three McManus-Young collections of historic magic books which is catalogued HERE.
I've been going through these listings and what I'm seeing has me gobsmacked! And talk about meticulous. The center has even cataloged a seed found among legal papers inside Houdini's strongbox. A magic seed perhaps?
Access to the Harry Ransom Center's collection is free to anyone with a photo ID "and a sense of curiosity." Details about using the collections can be found HERE.
If you want to learn more about the collections, Eric Colleary and archivist Amy Armstrong will be hosting a Facebook Live discussion this Thursday, August 9, at 1:30 PM CST.
Learn about the recently re-cataloged Harry Houdini Papers and magic collections in the Ransom Center’s holdings at The University of Texas at Austin. Join Ransom Center archivist Amy Armstrong and performing arts curator Eric Colleary for an engaging conversation via Facebook livestream.
Feel free to post questions in advance on the event page here!
For more info on the above visit the Harry Ransom Center's Facebook page. For information about visiting the center itself, check out their official website.
UPDATE: Treasures from the Harry Ransom Center revealed.