Sunday, January 24, 2021

Meet Madame Blanche Corelli

Those interested in Houdini's extended family will be interested in the new book, Madame Blanche Corelli: Correspondence with Hall Lippincott January 1931–September 1939 by Cindy Lippincott.

Blanche Corelli (real name Maria Dorothea Herrmann) was the only child of Compars Herrmann of the famous Herrmann magic family. She was also related to Houdini via his father's first marriage (Mayer Samuel's first wife was a first cousin to Blanche's mother, Rosa Csillag.) Like her mother, Blanche had a successful career as an opera singer. She later became a music teacher in Germany.

The book contains correspondence between Blanche and the author's father, Hall Lippincott. While the focuses here is on Blanche's later years in Berlin, the introduction does mention her Houdini connection with a nod to Dean Carnegie's groundbreaking 2011 post at The Magic Detective. Unfortunately, Blanche only makes a few passing mentions of her famous cousin in the letters themselves.

I own a copy of A Magician Among the Spirits that Houdini inscribed to Blanche in 1924. She in turn gave it to Dante in 1939. So I'm excited to add this book to my shelf.

You can add Madame Blanche Corelli to your shelf via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

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6 comments:

  1. So Carl (Compars) Herrmann's wife was a first cousin with Meyer's first wife? Correct? Carl was Alexander Herrmann's older brother. Houdini knew about this and pointed it out somewhere. Maybe it was in a letter?

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    1. Yes, in the letter you can read on Dean's site. Click the link. Houdini even says Compars and his father were "great pals." I'm pretty sure it's also covered in the Manny Weltman book.

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    2. Thanks for the heads up on this Herrmann connection! The post on Dean's site is wonderful! The letter HH writes to Blanche signs off with a nod to a daughter. Blanche had a daughter? In HH's mind, his dad and Compars were pals. How much of this was just wishful thinking?

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  2. Blanche Corelli had a daughter Olga, born in Vienna in 1887, whom she raised as a single parent until Olga married and moved out at age 37. She died in South Africa, I believe in the 1960s.

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    1. Thanks for the answer Mr. Hatch! Corelli's later years seemed tough. You would think her daughter helped her?

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  3. These letters are great. A must for Herrmann historians. Blanche expected to be remembered in Adelaide's Will and when she wasn't she goes on the war path. She claims she was the one who brought Alexander and Adelaide together, etc.

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