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This is considered one of the best early histories of magic.
From the Preface:
The present volume closes the series of works on the entertaining classes which I contemplated when writing Circus Life and Circus Celebrities, the greater part of which was written before The Old Showmen and the Old London Fairs was commenced, though the publication of the latter work preceded that of the former. In embracing within the present volume the lives of the conjurors of every period and every country, while the record of shows and showmen is confined to London and the suburban districts, (which may now be said to embrace a circle of twenty miles across,) and that of circuses is limited to the United Kingdom, with a glance across the Atlantic, I have been influenced by considerations arising from the nature of the subjects, and concerning which it seems desirable to say a few words on the present occasion.
Magic / Biographies & History
Magic / [1800-1899]