Lybrary.com: ebooks and download videos
Home / Magic / Biographies & History

Biographies & History

Magic has a rich and long history. You will read fascinating stories about Houdini, Robert-Houdin and their predecessors, or about long forgotten inventors of today's popular tricks. Maybe you have seen the movie "The Illusionist" or "The Prestige" and want to find out more about magic and some of the tricks from the movies. Here is a great place to start to wet your appetite and then later you can dive into the methods and how to ebooks.

set alert for this category

Authors

more authors ▼

Products

Displaying 1 to 30 (of 150 products)
1 2 3 4 5 6 >

Sort by: Product Name AuthorListed Price+
Tom Interval
Harry Houdin: The Great Polynational Mimic by Tom Interval

Introducing Harry Houdin—one of the most versatile performers you've never heard of. Born decades before the great Harry Houdini, he claimed to be the nephew of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the famous French conjurer of the 19th century.

Houdin, who billed himself as "The Great Polynational Mimic," toured Australia and New Zealand between 1860 and 1863 with a one-man act featuring drawing-room magic and international impersonations done to song and dance.

Harry Houdin: The Great Polynational Mimic is the first formal work of research written about this virtually unknown, albeit colorful, entertainer.

1st edition 2013, 27...

2013 / 11 / 2
$0

to wish list

PDF

Professor Solomon
Lives of the Conjurers: Volume 1 by Professor Solomon
  • HENRY SLADE Was he a medium or a magician?
  • CAGLIOSTRO The Mystery Man of Europe
  • KATTERFELTO Lecturer, conjurer, and quack
  • SERVAIS LE ROY He levitated a pianist and her piano
  • C. W. STARR His vanishing act was for sheriffs
  • TORRINI His greatest illusion was himself
  • SIGNOR BLITZ What he pulled from a hat one night kept a family together
  • CHARLES MORRITT His masterpiece was the Disappearing Donkey
  • THE BOTTLE CONJURER How was he going to jump into a bottle?
  • MAELZEL There was more to his Chess-playing Automaton than met the eye
  • ROBERT HELLER His mindreading act mystified audiences
  • THE BANGS...
2014 / 4 / 14
$0

to wish list

PDF

Professor Solomon
Lives of the Conjurers: Volume 2 by Professor Solomon
  • CARDINI He seemed bewildered by his own magic
  • BLACKSTONE "The Last of the Great Magicians"
  • LEON MANDRAKE He wore a turban or a top hat - depending on the gig
  • DUNNINGER Was it true that the renowned mindreader couldn't read the mind of a gnat?
  • DAVENPORT BROTHERS Their spirit cabinet brought them fame. But were they mediums or magicians?
  • PROFESSOR NEUMAN He had misread a mind - and the police hauled him away
  • THE GREAT LESTER Did he have the exclusive rights to that name?
  • GEORGES MÉLIÈS A magician who transformed himself into a filmmaker
  • CHARLIER No one knew where he came from - or where he finally went ...
2015 / 3 / 1
$0

to wish list

PDF

Jean Hugard
Houdini's Unmasking by Jean Hugard

Houdini wrote a very nasty book about Robert-Houdin claiming that Robert-Houdin stole many tricks and was in reality not as great a magician as he usually is portraid. Jean Hugard sets with this book the record straight and reveals Houdini's fabricated arguments. Houdini's unmasking of Robert-Houdin was just a revenge on Robert-Houdin's family and had little to do with reality. But you can find out for yourself and read The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. Houdini's Unmasking originally appeared serialized in Jean Hugards magazine Hugard's Magic Monthly.

Published as part of "Hugard's Magic Monthly" beginning with volume 15, number 1, June 1957; 78 pages; PDF 48 pages....

2005 / 9 / 2
$2

to wish list

PDF

Solyl Kundu
Memorable Magical Moments by Solyl Kundu

Solyl Kundu invited the then IBM International President Phil Willmarth to visit Kolkata in 2007 for a magic Get-Together, and he encouraged local IBM members to join. It was a big success. For this occasion a souvenir booklet was published. This is a PDF version of this souvenir booklet. It includes:

  • A Greeting from the President
  • Phil Willmarth laudatio
  • Chronicle of IBM Ring #83
  • Cornered by Aldo Colombini
  • Bang Gun - Balloon Antics by David J. O'Connor
  • Anti-Gravity Bottle by Gora Dutta
  • Centrifugal ESP by Max Maven
  • Elementary, My Dear Watson by Peter Marucci
  • Balls Across - Persistence of Vision by Paul Hyland ...
2013 / 5 / 27
$2

to wish list

PDF

Anonymous
Conjuring Contretemps by Anonymous

This is a fun and informative article by an anonymous amateur magician detailing various mishaps of magic performances. Along the way we learn the modus operandi of all kinds of illusions, from Buatier de Kolta's vanishing cage all the way to the bullet catch.

This article was originally published in Chamber's Journal of December 16th, 1882.

1st edition 1882, 5 pages; digital edition 8 pages.

2016 / 7 / 27
$2

to wish list

PDF

Harry Leat
Forty Years in and around Magic by Harry Leat

Harry Leat describes incidences during his magic life, some odd, some funny, some unbelievable. Often another well known magic celebraty was involved, such as Houdini, Selbit, Trewey, ... This book makes a great read. No tricks.

1st edition, 1923, Harry Leat, London; 77 pages.

2005 / 9 / 8
$3

to wish list

PDF

Leo Behnke
Magic Show Tonite! by Leo Behnke

During the settlement of the Wild West, entertainers followed along the trails to provide the very much needed distraction from the grueling voyage. This ebook describes their circumstances and stories.

Originally this work was published as miniature book.

1st edition 1999; digital version 22 pages

2006 / 12 / 19
$3

to wish list

PDF

Leo Behnke
The Making of Playing Cards by Leo Behnke

Leo Behnke worked for many years for Paulson, a playing card manufacturer. He describes in this ebook the history of playing card production up to the process that is used for todays cards. He also describes in detail the 9 editions of the Magic Castle cards and how one can identify them.

Beyond the interesting historical and technical descriptions Leo is offering, this information can also be quite helpful in creating a script or interesting line of presentation for a trick or routine.

The contents of this ebook was presented at a Magic Collectors meeting in Las Vegas, April 8 2005. ...

2007 / 1 / 6
$3

to wish list

PDF

Percy Abbott
A Lifetime in Magic by Percy Abbott

Written by a man who spent seventy-four years ... a lifetime in magic! A professional magician, a world traveler, author, inventor, founder of the world's largest magic company. Percy Abbott, the 'Caliph of Colon', and magic are synonymous. In this ebook you will discover stories, experiences, secrets and advice that only a lifetime in magic can offer. You will uncover facts about the greats that will amaze you. There is a fund of information on tricks and illusions new to present day magicians.

Contents

  • Dedication
  • Memories
  • Foreword
  • The Chrystal Lantern
  • Comedy Snake Basket
  • Lost In...
2015 / 6 / 28
$4

to wish list

PDF

Richard Hatch
Searching for Erdnase by Richard Hatch

This article succinctly critiques the Milton Franklin Andrews case, and introduces us to two at the time new suspects, James DeWitt Andrews and Edwin Sumner Andrews.

This article first appeared in the 1999 December issue of Magic Magazine, except for this release Richard Hatch added two pages introductory notes to better frame his article in the historical context of the hunt for Erdnase. The article is also essentially the talk Richard gave at the 1999 Los Angeles Conference on Magic History.

1st edition 1999 (intro 2021), PDF 16 pages.

2021 / 1 / 21
$4.99

to wish list

PDF

Michael Skinner
Michael Skinner Interview by Michael Skinner

Michael Skinner tells stories from his early years in magic such as meeting Eddie Fechter and Ed Marlo. This short interview was hosted by Roger Klause.

Both of these larger than life legends - Michael Skinner and Roger Klaus - have unfortunately passed away. Videos like these are time capsules allowing us to get closer to these legends, learn from their life, and understand them a little bit better.

length: 3min 13s

2009 / 12 / 10
$5

to wish list

MP4 (video)

Harry P. Dodge
The Autobiography of an Old Sport: Fifty years at the Card Table by Harry P. Dodge

The record of a career famous for adventure and vicissitude, and in which the jester won more tricks than the gamester.

  • Preface
  • Chapter I: Birth And Early Peregrinations
  • Chapter II: Becoming A Patron Of The Pasteboards
  • Chapter III: Early Times On The Mississippi
  • Chapter IV: Getting A Sobriquet And Meeting Great Men
  • Chapter V: The Turnpikes, The Packets And The Inns
  • Chapter VI: Initiated In The Sons Of Malta
  • Chapter VII: From The Green Mountains To Pike's Peak
  • Chapter VIII: With The Bold Soldier Boys
  • Chapter IX: The Fraternity Of Gamesters
  • Chapter X: To Point A Moral And Adorn A...
2017 / 8 / 9
$5

to wish list

PDF

Charles Bertram
Isn't It Wonderful? by Charles Bertram

A history of magic interwoven with Charles Bertram's recollections.

From the introduction:

The profession of conjuring, if not the most ancient, is certainly one of the oldest professions in the world, and, before commencing my account of the efforts made by a humble professor of the art, I trust that the reader may be interested by a short sketch of its history. Without this, it is possible that he might receive a book relating to the conjurer's art with a shrug of the shoulders. But conjuring, if it has now drifted down to the level of mere entertainment, has played its part in the history...

2020 / 4 / 3
$5

to wish list

PDF

Charles Bertram
A Magician in Many Lands by Charles Bertram

This is a fascinating travel log, including a good number of photos, by an accomplished magician circling the globe including visits to India, China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Unites States, Canada and other places. He devotes three fascinating chapters to the tricks of the Indian conjurers, but does not tell us a lot about his own performances during his voyage.

From the introduction by Professor Hoffmann:

A book of travel, written by a keen observer, is always interesting. Charles Bertram was not only a keen observer, but enjoyed opportunities of observation denied to ninety-nine travellers out of...

2020 / 4 / 3
$5

to wish list

PDF

Thomas Frost
Circus Life and Circus Celebrities by Thomas Frost

A history of the circus in Britain during the 19th century. One chapter deals with America, another with circus slang. Perhaps most interesting are the recollections of a gymnast and how he made it into the circus.

From the Preface:

But of the circus artistes - the riders, the clowns, the acrobats, the gymnasts, - what do we know? How many are there, unconnected with the sawdust, who can say that they have known a member of that strange race? Charles Dickens, who was perhaps as well acquainted with the physiology of the less known sections of society as any man of his day, whetted public...

2020 / 4 / 14
$5

to wish list

PDF

Thomas Frost
The Old Showmen and Old London Fairs by Thomas Frost

A detailed chronology of places, dates and performers of fairs in and around London. We learn mostly of theatrical productions of various kinds including pantomime and dances, and menageries exhibiting exotic animals, and less so of tumbling and acrobats, juggling, balancing and the like. It includes some coverage of conjurers including Fawkes, Pinchbeck, Breslaw and others. There is some overlap of stories from Circus Life and Circus Celebrities because some performers and operators were active in both venues.

  • PREFACE
  • CHAPTER I: Origin of Fairs - Charter Fairs at Winchester and Chester - Croydon Fairs - Fairs in the Metropolis...
2020 / 4 / 19
$5

to wish list

PDF

Patrick Davison
Born on the Highwire: The Autobiography of Arthur Duchek by Patrick Davison

Arthur Duchek, born (almost literally on the highwire rigging of his parents' circus act) into a European circus dynasty in 1930, grew up to be a world-famous circus and variety artist and international entertainment agent.

He survived a devastating accident on the circus lot as a 4-year old child, an accident that left him with a speech impediment. His will power and determination, along with the help of an eccentric Parisian speech therapist, helped him overcome this obstacle. After joining his uncles with the circus in America, Arthur experienced unbelievable abuse at their hands.

You...

2020 / 5 / 2
$5

to wish list

PDF

Arthur Watson
Conjurers by Arthur Watson

A very interesting article about early conjuring, conjurers, books and manuscripts. Includes detailed research on how the term 'hocus pocus' came about.

Up to about the end of the sixteenth century, the wonderful was by preference regarded as magical—as the work of supernatural powers, good or bad, but mostly bad. A puzzling phenomenon, the explanation of which was not obvious, was generally regarded as due to the invocation of powers above the natural. Many of the feats ascribed to demoniacal or divine aid are such as we know to be similar to the tricks included in the conjurer’s repertory....

2020 / 6 / 28
$5

to wish list

PDF

Henry Ridgely Evans
Cagliostro and His Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry by Henry Ridgely Evans

Evans raises the possibility that Cagliostro's real name might not have been Giuseppe Balsamo, as well as describes his Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry.

  • Introduction
  • PART I.—A Master Of Magic
  • PART II.—The Egyptian Rite
  • PART III.—A Visit To The House Of Cagliostro
  • PART IV.—Reception Of An Apprentice In An Egyptian Lodge
1st edition 1919, 26 pages; PDF 37 pages.
2020 / 8 / 5
$5

to wish list

PDF

Henry Ridgely Evans
The Napoleon Myth by Henry Ridgely Evans

(We are carrying this ebook primarily because of the author, Henry Ridgeley Evans, who published several interesting books on conjuring.)

On its face the book is about the myth that Napoleon never existed. It was at one time a popular myth, hoax, or fake news as it would be called today. It also provides interesting lessons and insights on how myths can develop. Since there are a number of myths in the world of conjuring, this work can help one understand why and how some of the myths in magic may have developed.

  • Introduction
  • Grand Erratum. The Non-Existence of Napoleon Proved
  • The Mythical...
2020 / 10 / 15
$5

to wish list

PDF

Thomas Carlyl
Count Cagliostro by Thomas Carlyl

This is Thomas Carlyle's long essay on Count Cagliostro, published in 1833 in Fraser's Magazine. He is examining the hero and his shadows - what was false about Cagliostro. Cagliostro was a Sicilian mountebank, whose lasting notoriety was a bit part in the Diamond Necklace Affair that rocked pre-Revolutionary France, and whose most enduring work was the confession extracted by the Roman Inquisition, a tome published in 1792, three years previous to Cagliostro's demise in an Inquisitional cell.

1st edition 1833, 61 pages; PDF 42 pages.

2020 / 10 / 15
$5

to wish list

PDF

Bert Pratt
Browsing Around in Magic by Bert Pratt

Bert Pratt was a bookworm, somebody who worked his way through libraries and book stores to find the odd appearance of magic in non-magic books. He wrote a series of articles which were published in the Midget Magician, a journal that saw a print run of only 50. It is therefore safe to assume you have never read these articles.

It includes excerpts from books and magazines now practically unobtainable. Bert Pratt, writing as Ptinos, delved deeply into the old book marts of London, into libraries, into magazine files, to find magic and magical references. The resulting reading is charming,...

2012 / 3 / 20
$5.95

to wish list

PDF

Harry Houdini
The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin by Harry Houdini

Houdini was upset that the widow of Robert-Houdin did not want to meet him. As a revenge Harry Houdini wrote The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, in which Houdini tries to push Robert-Houdin from his pedestal. He tries to show that most tricks Robert-Houdin claimed as his invention were in fact not his invention and that Robert-Houdin was not this great magician he usually is thought he was. But most of Houdini's allegations are fabricated and do not stand close inspection. Jean Hugard wrote as response to Houdini's nasty book Houdini's Unmasking, where Hugard point for point refutes Houdini's argumentation. I personally favor Hugard's opinion,...

2005 / 9 / 7
$6

to wish list

PDF & EPUB

Roger Woods & Maurice S. Howarth
Josephine Langley Lady Ventriloquist: The story of Mrs Edward Howarth by Roger Woods & Maurice S. Howarth

The fascinating true story of the Lancashire mill girl, Mrs Edward Howarth who became a music hall artiste as Josephine Langley, an accomplished ventriloquist. She was particularly popular during the First World War with her patriotic 'Soldier Act'. The family emigrated to America but returned to England after many adventures during the Prohibition era.

1st edition 2008, 1st digital edition 2013, 34 pages.

2013 / 4 / 25
$6

to wish list

PDF

Paul Gordon
Percy Naldrett: A Man of Sussex, Conjurer and Poet by Paul Gordon

A tribute to Percy Naldrett by Paul Gordon who shares birth place Worthing in Sussex with Percy. Includes photos and other bits and pieces of information not published anywhere else.

Percy Naldrett was born on 17th May 1888 and died 28th September 1973. He was a printer by trade and a semi-pro magician and collector. He wrote a number of books such as Magic of the Moment (1912, 50pp), Magical Notes and Notions (1913, 36pp), Miscellaneous Magic (1913, 48pp). He was editor of the Magic Circular from 1938-49.

1st edition 2005, 31 pages.

2013 / 12 / 15
$6

to wish list

PDF

Will Goldston
Sensational Tales of Mystery Men by Will Goldston

Stories and anecdotes of the Who's Who of magic in the early 20th century. Several are about Houdini.

  • An Introduction
  • Foreword
  • The Truth About The Zancigs
  • The Tragedy Of Hanco
  • When G. W. Hunter Dried Up
  • How Denny And Will Goldston Escaped Gaol
  • The Truth Of Horace Goldin's Arrest
  • The Cornells And Their Ghastly Publicity Stunt
  • The Strangeness Of Lafayette
  • Dante Perplexed
  • Dante's Experience In Russia
  • Muller The Mystic
  • Was Chung Ling Soo Murdered?
  • A Handcuff Escape That Went Wrong
  • Ceeley And The Naked Lady
  • Frank Van Hoven's Tragic Failure
  • Frank Van Hoven And A Fellow Artist's Wife
  • Wishart And The...
2018 / 2 / 13
$6

to wish list

PDF

Harry Houdini
Houdini: The Adventurous Life of a Versatile Artist by Harry Houdini

A promotional book with photos and newspaper reports retelling various stunts and performances of Harry Houdini.

  • Official Police News From Germany!
  • In The Name Of The King
  • Royal Police Presidium
  • Mighty Audience
  • Houdini Handcuffed
  • False Hope Overthrown
  • A Welcome Concession
  • Frock Coat Sacrificed
  • Victory
  • Presentation Model
  • A Sportsman's Telegram
  • An Episode In Houdini's Life
  • Condemned Murderers Released By Houdini
  • Crowd Quickly Gathers
  • Ponderous Barred Door
  • Prisoners Are Dumbfounded
  • Some Of The Great Feats Accomplished By Houdini
  • Wizard In Gaol
  • Surrenders To Police
  • Startled...
2018 / 5 / 18
$6

to wish list

PDF

Wolfgang Riebe
Discover Your Magic by Wolfgang Riebe

This is basically Wolfgang's life story, a great motivational blueprint to achieve your dreams.

How to gain the competitive edge in your life and business. Become aware of everything around you. Clarify and achieve all your goals. Learn to adapt to change. Create a positive image with every one around you. Wolfgang has inspired and motivated more than a million people around the world. This is a comprehensive study on how to gain mastery over your own life, whether in the corporate, or personal field. Every aspect is clearly presented, without losing the true sense or heart of the matter....

2018 / 5 / 25
$6

to wish list

PDF

Hardin Jasper Burlingame
Herrmann the Magician by Hardin Jasper Burlingame

From the preface:

Having devoted a number of years to the inventing, manufacturing and sale of many of the most popular magical apparatus made in this country, I now present to the reader, biographies of the two great conjurers known to the world under the names of Carl and Alexander Herrmann, both equally famous in their specialties. The main portion of the book is devoted to clear, compact and illustrated descriptions of the best tricks performed by the two Herrmanns, whom I unite under the appellation of Herrmann the Magician, and by other celebrated per formers, such as Cazeneuve, Kellar, Vanek,...

2019 / 10 / 13
$6

to wish list

PDF

Displaying 1 to 30 (of 150 products)
1 2 3 4 5 6 >