“A HERO OF LEGEND AND FOLKLORE”: SCARCE PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF HOUDINI’S MIRACLE MONGERS, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY HIM
HOUDINI, Harry. Miracle Mongers and Their Methods. New York: E.P. Dutton, (1920). Octavo, original ochre cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of Houdini's "complete exposé" of side-show entertainers, scarce presentation copy inscribed, "To my good friend —-, with best wishes and compliments of the author, Houdini, Feb 20/1921."
"Harry Houdini was a unique figure in the history of entertainment… a hero of legend and folklore." Following the death of his mother in 1913, Houdini began to investigate spiritualism and "soon became an all-out crusader against it. Early in 1924 he began lecturing throughout the United States on fraudulent mediums. In city after city he attended séances in disguise, exposing frauds on the spot and sometimes securing their arrest, aided by his personal squad of detectives. The raids brought him huge publicity as well as a million dollars in lawsuits" (ANB). In Miracle Mongers Houdini, who was a collector of notebooks, manuscripts, and artifacts related to magic and illusion, divulges the "modus operandi of fire-eaters, heat resisters, poison eaters, venomous reptile defiers, sword swallowers, human ostriches [and] strong men." With photographic frontispiece portrait of Houdini and 15 full-page half-tone plates. Without scarce original dust jacket. Price, 225. Owner ink signature.
Some faint foxing, a bit of light rubbing to extremities of generally clean cloth. An extremely good inscribed presentation copy.