Cambridge, MA: S. Willson Bailey, ca. 1920s. Collection of sixteen card tricks, trade catalogs, and advertisements issued by magician S. Willson Bailey. Some toning and wear to a few pieces including closed tears occasionally touching text without loss of sense, else a Very Good collection overall. Item #1580
Samuel Willson Bailey (1875-1935) was a fairly prominent sleight-of-hand performer and handcuff collector, as well as the co-author of the 1910 magic manual "Wrinkles," a copy of which can be found in the Harry Houdini Collection at the Library of Congress. Bailey and Houdini probably met at least once, on the occasion of Houdini's performance at B.F. Keith's Theatre in Cambridge shortly before Christmas, 1921. According to a local paper, Bailey had led a group of enthusiasts to the performance, gaining backstage access to meet the man himself after the show. The present collection pertains to Bailey's main source of income as the mail-order purveyor of cheap card and magic trick manuals and accessories. Contents include:
a. Seven (7) pictorial envelopes of pink and blue stock on each of which is printed a card trick, playing cards present. Tricks include two- and three-card monte, mystic spots, and the changing of the aces, among others.
b. Four (4) pictorial bifolium price-lists for various magic trick equipment, including instructions. The "Goblin Tube" "a beautiful Nickel Tube" used for handkerchief tricks, can be had for $2.50, handkerchief not included.
c. Broadside handbill (21x14cm.) titled "And a Pack of Cards" advertising "three manuscripts...written by a vaudvillian [sic] of many years' experience." These include "Merlin's Master Manipulations," "Merlin at the Card Table," and "Merlin's Master Miracles."
d. Pictorial broadsheet handbill (27.5x21.5cm.) advertising seven magic handbooks, including "the late" Houdini's exposé on the Boston medium "Margery."
e. Small pictorial broadsheet handbill (15.5x8.5cm.) advertising the manual "Vaudeville Mind Reading" by "mastermind" Dunninger. Verso lists five additional "valuable books for the amateur or professional entertainer," all by "La Vellma," a.k.a. David J. Lustig.
f. Broadside price list of bargain books available from Bailey, leading with his own book "Wrinkles" at a 50% discount.
g. One copy of "Catalogue Number 35." Octavo (21cm.); pink staplebound wrappers printed within decorative border; pp.; illus. throughout. Your one-stop-shop for "Fairy Ribbon" ($10); "Great Brahmin Rice Bowls" ($8.50); and "Ghost Cigarettes" ($1). "All sales final."