ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,

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Lot 30
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED.
HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926.
Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,

US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£ 14,000 - 21,000

Fine Books and Manuscripts

17 Jun 2021, 13:00 EDT

New York

Magic from a Private Collection
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED.
HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini, with additional edits by his assistant Oscar Teale, being a working draft of the original typescript for his 1924 expose of the new spiritualism, with additions, 408 leaves, photographic frontispiece Houdini's spirit portrait pasted inside front cover, 4to (285 x 215 mm), with annotations by Houdini and Teale, and signed by Houdini at the top of p 84; pencil note in a secretarial hand on p 133: "Carbon copy of this mailed. H.H. Jany 13th 1923"; pencil note in the same hand to top of 302: "see ... revised copy for October 1923." Each "chapter numbered individually in type to upper left, with a continuous pagination provided upper right in pencil (including an additional 299a-k between p 299 & 300, bound in green cloth binder, on different papers, some brittle, some repairs.
WITH: Typed Letter Signed to Houdini by Oscar Teale, 3 pp, 4to (285 x 215 mm), January 3, 1924, outlining his objections to the severe editing of the manuscript by Harper, "It seems a pity, that your labor should be minimized for commercial ends...."
Provenance: Milbourne Christopher (bookplate, his sale, Swann, New York, October 30, 1997, lot 191).

ORIGINAL ANNOTATED MANUSCRIPT FOR HOUDINI'S LAST LITERARY WORK. When Magician Among the Spirits appeared in 1924, the published version ran to 75,000 words, less than half the length of the manuscript Houdini submitted for publication. Almost immediately Houdini began working on a new edition, and continued to do so until his death in 1926. As the letter from Teale attests, Houdini felt that the original edits had gutted the scholarship of the work, leaving just a shell that the publisher's hoped would sell on the name alone.

Houdini's later life was largely focused on debunking the spiritualists and mediums, whose prominence was peaking in the early 20th century. Houdini, the world's most famous entertainer at the time, and Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, who with his wife had joined the ranks of believers after the death of their son in World War I, famously split over the subject. Doyle's wife had conducted a seance with Houdini during which 15 pages of writing were conveyed by Houdini's mother, of which Houdini was skeptical (the writings were in English, with a cross at the head of each page; Cecilia Weisz, Houdini's mother, was German-speaking wife of a Rabbi). Although Houdini held his tongue at the time, when the Doyle's later started touting him as a believer, he had to take a public stand.

Houdini joined a Scientific American panel offering a cash reward for any medium who could demonstrate true paranormal ability, and publicly debunked practitioners as frauds. The hard won result of his researches and investigations into the subject, Magician Among the Spirits, devoted a chapter to Doyle, and was intended as a comprehensive treatment. Spurred by the editorial evisceration of the work, Houdini continued to his pursuit of the subject until his death in 1926.

The original typescript, with Houdini's annotations as well as those of his assistant Teale, survives here—restoring a great deal of the missing material, likely with new additions and further Houdini emendations. The accompanying letter from Teale makes clear the extent of the damage from — as well as the frustration with —the original editorial decisions. The typescript was published in facsimile in a small edition in 1996 by Richard Kaufman and Maurine Christopher, while still in the Milbourne Christopher collection. Kaufman clarifies in his "Publisher's Note" that "this is, possibly, one of several drafts which may have existed." The important chapters on Henry Slade and on slate writing are not present here. Maurine Christoper, on the other hand, in her introduction to the same edition, calls this the "typed manuscript for a revised edition of A Magician Among the Spirits he was working on at the time of his death." Certainly, some of Houdini and Teale's edits in these pages predate the 1924 publication, but given the severe nature of the Harper editor's cuts, and that "chapters" are individually numbered in type (so they can be moved within the larger work) and not numbered continuously, a full collation is difficult. It is entirely possible, as in Maurine Christopher's view, some may also be later toward a revised edition of the work.

In any case, this complete Houdini manuscript forms an important chapter in Houdini's narrative, as a coda to his progression from entertainer to crusader, and a major artifact.
Contacts
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,
ORIGINAL FULL-LENGTH HOUDINI TYPED MANUSCRIPT, HEAVILY ANNOTATED. HOUDINI, HARRY. 1874-1926. Annotated Typescript Signed ("Harry Houdini"), for Magician Among the Spirits, heavily annotated with autograph emendations by Houdini,
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