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Biographies & History in Magic & Conjuring: page 7


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Herbert Asbury
Sucker's Progress by Herbert Asbury

An informal history of gambling in America from the colonies to Canfield.

Inside flap:

Sucker's Progress is the first attempt to write a connected history of the most prevalent of venial sins, and traces the history and development of gambling in America from the card and dice games in the back rooms of colonial taverns to the days of Richard Canfield the last of the great American gamblers. The book is concerned with the picturesque and spectacular features of gambling, and only incidentally with its morals.

The author commences with a survey of the origin and development of the principal...

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Henry Meyer
Life Staked at Cards by Henry Meyer

A sketch of the life of Henry Meyer a converted gambler.

Henry Meyer was by his own account a very successful gambler who would play predominantly in Europe. One day he played against a young man and won all his money. Subsequently, that young man took his own life. At that point, Meyer realized that the young man was his younger brother. This charring experience made him give up gambling completely.

While I don't doubt that Meyer was a professional gambler who would later reform and give up gambling, the story with his brother rings a bit too fantastic. It is hard to believe that he and...

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Hugh S. Fullerton
American Gambling and Gamblers by Hugh S. Fullerton

This is an excellent series of articles on the history of gambling in America. Excerpt from the introduction:

These articles are the result of long travels in many parts of the United States. They are real contributions of human and public interest.

  • Preying Upon the Wage Earners
  • How They Prey Upon One Another
    • Where Every Boy Had to Learn Poker
    • Gambling "Commercialized" and Organized
    • "Square" Gamblers all "Broke"
    • The Story of Hot Springs
    • Politics and "Business" Worked for "the Game"
    • The "Open" Season of 1912-13
    • Something Bound to Happen
    • As the "Straight" Gamblers Saw It
    • Why...
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Stephen Sutcliffe
In a New York Gambling-House by Stephen Sutcliffe

The actual experiences of a visitor to the most famous gaming resort in the American metropolis.

Excerpt from the introduction:

In those elegant fictitious biographies which our ancestors used to write, the hero was never considered properly ingratiated into the reader's sympathies until he had spent an evening, at least, in a gaming-house, and had come away more or less crumpled and despoiled. Now, a great deal has been said on this same subject in New York, during recent months, and one establishment of the sort - which we will call Danfield's, because that is not precisely its name...

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Charles Dickens
Strange Hands at Cards by Charles Dickens

This article about highly unusual and uncommon hands at Whist and Poker as reported in the press was written by Charles Dickens for his publication All the Year Round. It includes a reformatted as well as a facsimile version of the article.

1st edition 1876; PDF 8 pages.

★★★★★ $2.99
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George Jean Nathan
The Old-Time Train Gambler by George Jean Nathan

Stories of card and revolver play, told by a man who "worked" the trains with his confederates in the days when stakes ran high.

If one believes this account, then a lot of the crooked gambling on trains was simply theft at gunpoint rather than sophisticated sleight-of-hand card advantage play.

1st edition 1910, PDF 7 pages.

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Houdini Takes Magic Secrets to His Grave by unknown

This is the article that ran in The Sun on November 1st, 1926 after Harry Houdini's untimely passing.

  • Friend of Ingersoll
  • Body Coming Here
  • Born in Wisconsin
  • Tricks of Every Kind
  • Mediums Interest Him
  • Investigated 'Margery'
  • Deny Injury in Montreal

1st edition November 1st, 1926, PDF 5 pages.

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Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano
Vanni Bossi: the man and the artist by Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano

The biography of a great artist and creative of the Italian and international magical world.

Fifteen years after his death, the artist, magician and writer Roberto Bombassei, through a work of research and study, pays tribute to his mentor by publishing for the first time his biography: his beginnings, his path, his studies, his thoughts, his creations.

Foreword by Tony Binarelli. English translation and additional notes by Biagio Fasano.

  • Foreword By Tony Binarelli
  • A Few Words From The Author
  • The Birth
  • The Meeting With Fred Kaps
  • Parapsychology: A Bit Of Truth And A Lot Of Scams
  • Parapsychology...
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Will Goldston
Who's Who in Magic by Will Goldston

There are not many short biography compilations in magic and this one by Goldston is still one that is being consulted frequently. The most extensive one is by Bart Whaley (Who's Who in Magic) but while Whaley covers many more magicians he does not include portraits. Goldston includes many portraits of magicians and his biographical sketches can sometimes be much more extensive than in other such compilations. Goldston groups magicians as professionals, semi-professionals, and amateurs. He covers 90 professional magicians, 50 semi-professional magicians, and 69 amateurs.

1st edition 1934, 114 pages; PDF...

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Carl Hertz
A Modern Mystery Merchant by Carl Hertz

The trials, tricks and travels of Carl Hertz the famous American illusionist.

A highly readable and informative autobiography that takes Carl Hertz around the globe. Hertz was born as Leib Morgenstein in San Francisco, the son of Russian and Polish immigrants. He started with showbusiness in Northern California at a young age and had initially little success. Nevertheless, Carl Hertz went on to create a distinguished international career as a stage illusionist and debunker of fraudulent mediums and other scammers.

My boyhood - Fascination which conjuring has for me - I am discharged...

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T. Shekleton Henry
Spookland by T. Shekleton Henry

Spirit materialization and fraudulent mediums.

A record of research and experiment in a much-talked-of realm of mystery, with a review and criticism of the so-called spiritualistic phenomena of spirit materialization and hints and illustration as to the possibility of artificially producing the same.

Excerpt from the author's preface:

In placing the following pages before the public, the author is actuated by two motives: - Firstly, that recent occurrences in our midst, relating to some of the so-called phenomena of Spiritualism, and questioning the evidence on which these phenomena...

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Delphos Kleeblatt Conjuring Articles 1892 - 1904 by unknown

The Delphos Kleeblatt, a German newspaper, was established by Carl Jettinger in December 1889 on a suggestion by Edward Gallaway. It ran until 1905. Gallaway approached Jettinger with the idea, having just returned to Delphos from a stint as a typesetter at a German newspaper in Indiana, and convinced him to partner with him in this newspaper startup. However, before the newspaper was launched Gallaway changed his mind, left Delphos, moved to Ft. Payne in Alabama and started there the Payne Weekly People. Carl Jettinger, a bit miffed by first being convinced of the great idea, and then Edward bailing out...

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Hans-Joachim Brucherseifer
Looking for Erdnase: The Expert at the Card Table by Hans-Joachim Brucherseifer

A docu-drama (dramatized documentary) on the identity of the mystery author of a classic book on sleight-of-hand with cards.

The best magicians of the 21st century set out on a journey to search for the lost author of the most legendary book about the art of sleight of hand. S.W. Erdnase is the pseudonym of the man thought to be the most notorious card shark of the 19th century. His book The Expert at the Card Table is now considered the card conjurer's bible, making it compulsory reading for any magician. It took more than 30 years after its publication for the true value of the book to be appreciated. His true identity remains...

★★★★ $18.99


Wayne Dobson & Jay Fortune
Wayne Dobson Talks to Jay Fortune: The Magic Interview Series No.1 by Wayne Dobson & Jay Fortune

Way back in 2005, I began broadcasting a world-first: an hour dedicated to magic, live from London. At the time, I was presenting my breakfast show on commercial radio. Every Monday evening at 7pm GMT, the airwaves went live with Radio Magic. Each episode featured a ten-minute interview with a famous star of magic (see The Magic Interview Series ebook). As a spin-off from that year-long project, I recorded a few long-form interviews with magicians and these recordings became available as CDs: thus, the Magic Interview Series was born. Looking back, I was podcasting before podcasts! Now, for the first time ever, these...

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William Henry Irwin
The Confessions of a Con Man by William Henry Irwin

A wonderfully interesting confession of a con man who was a contemporary of Erdnase, and just like him operated for a time while traveling with small circuses in Illinois and surrounding states. Of particular interest is a full dialog of how an unsuspecting person on the train was lured into gambling 3 card monte. The dialog demonstrates how skillfully these operatives were and how well they understood human nature. Other cons are also described in detail.

Excerpt from the preface:

When these confessions appeared serially, friends and distant enquirers took it for granted that they were fiction;...

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Will Dexter
This Is Magic: secrets of the conjurer's craft by Will Dexter

This work is sort of a condensed history of magic. The story of some notable tricks. For example, what was the oldest conjuring trick in the world? What was the newest? Were the Piddingtons really telepathic? How does a magician saw a girl in half? Do conjurers use marked cards? How do they do the Indian Rope Trick?

  • A Word From The Publishers
  • Chapter One: The Secret From The Tomb
  • Chapter Two: The Cups And Balls
  • Chapter Three: Oracles And Robots
  • Chapter Four: It's All Done With Mirrors!
  • Chapter Five: The Lady Vanishes
  • Chapter Six: The Trick That Never Was
  • Chapter Seven: Up In The Middle...
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David A. Curtis
Stand Pat by David A. Curtis

Poker stories from the Mississippi.

The stories play in Brownsville and Arkansas City both located on the West bank of the Mississippi river during the second half of the 19th century.

Excerpt from the preface:

The things that I saw, that seemed worthy of note, I have set down without prejudice to the little town of Brownsville, which has grown since I was there. Let no citizen of the place pursue me vindictively because I found him less interesting than Stumpy. And let no one’s civic pride suffer because I noted in the town only what seemed to me picturesque. I have no quarrel with...

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Augustus Rapp
The Life and Times of Augustus Rapp the Small Town Showman by Augustus Rapp

Excerpt from the introduction by Robert Parrish:

It appears that there have always been roving showmen: minstrels, montebanks, travelling players. Being such a trouper is a bit different from being an actor, or performing artist per se. You are not booked, your coming is not arranged for. You do not depend upon any of the machinery that makes the showman an organization man. You just take to the road and keep moving.

Such showmen differ from pure vagabonds in that they have a calling; to perform. This distinguishes them from the great American character the Confidence Man, although the Confidence...

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Steve Sanders
Charles Oswald Williams and the Golden Age of Magic by Steve Sanders

Charles Oswald Williams was a good friend of Professor Hoffmann, Chung Ling Soo and many other notable magicians. He was also a magic dealer and inventor, amongst his customers was a young Cardini. Williams also had the honour of being one of the first magicians to perform in The Magic Circle's inaugural show.

Charles Oswald Williams was at the inception of the Golden Age of Magic and his life story followed the development of Magic as we now know it. This ebook chronicles his life story in parallel to the rise of Magic. In addition, it contains a full account of The Magic Circle's first show in London in 1906, describing...

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Blakely Hall
You Can't Beat the Game by Blakely Hall

An account of faro gambling and cheating in New York City.

The newspaper that ran this article is not known. The time frame of the article is somewhere in the vicinity of 1890.

PDF 3 pages.

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Mason Long
The Life of Mason Long the Converted Gambler by Mason Long

Being a record of his experience as a white slave; a soldier in the Union Army; a professional gambler; a patron of the turf; a variety theater and minstrel manager; and, finally, a convert to the Murphy Cause, and to the Gospel of Christ.

This book is an illustration of this paragraph by S.W. Erdnase:

Hazard at play carries sensations that once enjoyed are rarely forgotten. The winnings are known as "pretty money," and it is generally spent as freely as water. The average professional who is successful at his own game will, with the sublimest unconcern, stake his money on that of another's, though...

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David Prince Miller
The Life of a Showman by David Prince Miller

This is a wonderful account of a traveling showman's trials and tribulations in England and Scotland during the middle of the 19th century. Among other things, he was a conjurer. While this is not a book of tricks, one coin trick is explained as part of one story of his life. But much more interesting are the descriptions of various scams and the modus operandi of various ways to defraud the public by traveling hucksters the author encountered. The operation of the thimble rig is explained in detail. It is an account of how traveling showmen struggled essentially their entire life to make...

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Jay Fortune
Radio Magic: Interviews Season 1 by Jay Fortune"I created Radio Magic way back in 2005 and interviewed many of the world's top magicians alongside lesser known but fascinating talent including the producer of BBCs The History of Magic. In hindsight, with the shows on 24-hour demand repeat at that time, we were podcasting before podcasts! I'm proud of this book and delighted to offer it as an eBook exclusively with" - Jay Fortune.

Own a piece of magic history!

In July 2005, Jay Fortune and radio presenter Layman Steve hit the airwaves live from London with Radio Magic; a lively hour-long radio show dedicated to magic and...

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Okito & Robert Parrish
Okito on Magic: Reminiscences and Selected Tricks by Okito & Robert Parrish

A fascinating glimpse into Okito's (Theo Bamberg) life and creations. The Bamberg dynasty had magicians spanning seven generations. Okito was a prolific inventor, builder of tricks, and exceptional performer. Learn the details of many of his most cherished secrets.

From the introduction by Dorny:

As the inventor of more magical effects than anyone else in the past half-century, he is constantly planning and building new tricks and illusions. In the construction of his miracles, he is a perfectionist. His finished work is always a masterpiece. Nothing is left to chance. With Theo, it must work. ...

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The Fascinating Life of a Magician by Peki

How does one actually become a magician - and why? Is it even possible to make a living from magic? What is life like as a magician? Are these normal people?

A person who has traveled with his art to more than 60 countries around the world will tell you his secrets. See him awarded second place world champion at the FISM World Congress of Magicians, with a show based only on sleight of hand. Learn how he became a self-taught expert manipulator. See how he booked his own gigs and was even hired as the only completely unknown actor for "The Dream Ship" on German television network ZDF. ...

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Chris Wasshuber
Invisibility Rays by Chris Wasshuber

This is the story of an Austrian inventor, his patent, and his appliance to make objects and people invisible on demand.

In the 1930s the Austrian press was excited about the invention of "invisibility rays" by an Austrian inventor. The invention was licensed by the company Semperit (the largest car and bicycle tire manufacturer in Austria) and exhibited at a trade show where it became a sensation and was viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors. During that trade show, the inventor made for the first time also people invisible. He applied and received a patent in Great Britain for his...

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David Alexander & Richard Kyle
The Magician as Detective by David Alexander & Richard KyleThis product consists of an ebook with two parts and a video. The first part of the ebook is a reproduction of David Alexander's article from the Genii January 2000 issue where he introduced his candidate for Erdnase, Wilbur E. Sanders. The second part is an unpublished booklet titled The S.W. Erdnase Report by Richard Kyle which includes a narrative and several letters to David.

David Alexander and Richard Kyle would speak for hours on the phone exchanging their thoughts, their insights, and their discoveries regarding Erdnase. Richard Kyle would often write a letter to David afterward to memorialize...

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S. W. Erdnase
Article Series: Estimating for Printers by S. W. Erdnase

This series of 14 articles was written by Edward Gallaway, aka S. W. Erdnase. It is a compact but thorough introduction to estimating for printers. For many years, Gallaway taught estimating to printers at the then largest privately held printing company, R. R. Donnelley. He was an instructor in their apprentice school and was at the same time the chief estimator of the company. He would later found his own School for Print Estimating in Chicago, the only such school solely dedicated to teaching this subject. He wrote the textbook for his school Estimating for Printers as well as other works...

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Wolfgang Riebe
Smoke, Mirrors, Braavileis and Sauerkraut by Wolfgang Riebe

A 'magical' autobiography and an inspirational book.

  • 1+ million people have seen him live in 165+ countries
  • 15+ million views on YouTube with over 1000+ videos
  • 180+ TV shows and multiple prime time TV series
  • thousands of global online students
  • 40+ Books and best-selling author
  • TedX Speaker
  • Known as the German with a South African accent

Can you believe it! A non-US, UK, or Europe magician that achieved fame and fortune, traveled the world, became a TV star in his own country, and achieved all his dreams! A magical inspirational real-life story like never before. Magician, Professional...

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Giovanni Iuliani
Archives of Human Prodigies 3 by Giovanni Iuliani

More unusual people including super fat, slim, tall, small, and many other freaks of nature. Learn about giants such as Chang Yu Sang, Edward Beaupré, Allen E. Tilden, Conrad Furrows, Bimbo, Sgt. Emmet M. Stephens, Capt. George Dowling or John Aasen. Or perhaps you are more interested in midgets such as Lynn Major White, Lia Graf, Tom Thumb, Major Rhinehart, Doletta Boykins, and Major Mite. Many more identified and unidentified prodigies are documented.

1st edition 2013, 62 pages.

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