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Just thought I would share this interesting photograph of the 17th annual Society of American Magicians banquet. It was held at the McAlpin Hotel in new York on June 3rd, 1921. There are some famous magicians in the photo, but most notably is Harry Houdini standing in the center, behind the head table. His wife Bess is seated in front of him. Houdini was the president of the Society at the time. I spoke with the current historian for the Society and sent some pictures, and he verified that it is indeed Houdini in the photo.

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Very Cool Bill, Thank you for sharing with us! Where did you ever find such a little treasure?

Hi Vicki,

It was found in a box of old pictures and frames in a cabin here in Pennsylvania. A friend of mine purchased the property and was cleaning out the contents. You never know what you will find.

Not long ago, I also purchased some boxes of old documents and letters at an estate sale near Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. When I got them home, turns out that there were letters from civil war soldiers in battle. Also have an 1840 document written by John Rogers Kimball describing his journey up the Missouri river on the steamship Malta with the American Fur Trade Co. He gives a daily account of what and who he saw. Turns out that David Hawley who discovered the Steamship Arabia and has the museum in Kansas City, has discovered the Malta and it will be his next excavation. working on posting that, but I would need to post the transcript of it too since it is written extremely small. I think it must have been his only parchment. Lol.

That's wonderful! I love old books, photo's and docs. It's often worth the time to look through old stuff!

We once found old love letters and other papers from WWI and WWII from a family we did an estate sale for - they were locked in a safe. The (former) home owner was a hoarder, (something I specialized in when I ran liquidation sales). It was almost missed, but we found it buried under a bunch of old coats and material in a front closet that was hidden when you opened the door. It was a hot summer, so we'd always kept that door open! I wonder what made me look behind it that day? lol (The niece that inherited the property realized it was her Mom and Grandma's letters and she was in tears when we gave them to her). :)

Then I once brokered a very old book to Cowans Auction house (Cincinnati OH). It was during the Rev. War, and was a copybook among other things; with records, payments, observations and other interesting stuff kept by the Quarter master. It even had notations on "Hostile Indian Encampments" etc.. I was so nervous, I wore gloves to read it, LOL

The owner was a happy camper as it did sell for several thousand $ to a historical museum. And I was happy that those records were not lost.

Cowans is a good place to go, if you ever wish to sell those kind of items. He has a major documents/Ephemera type auction once a year, if memory serves. 


That's awesome. Preserving the history of things is one of the main reasons I do this too. One of the letters in this batch was from William Kimball who was stationed at Fort Delaware prison camp during the civil war. He vividly describes the conditions, the lay out of the camp, and how many Confederate soldiers were there at the time. He also details their " Black Water" expedition where they confront some Confederate troops.

One of my biggest saves though was a collection of Princess Grace Kelly items which was destined for the dumpster. It consisted of signed photos and Christmas cards, original wedding photos from Monaco, original wedding invitations and more. They were from a Philadelphia family who were personal friends of Grace. Thank goodness I saved them.

WOW! It really makes one wonder what is the matter with some folks? 

To throw away such important things, I cannot imagine it! And the invite for Grace Kelly and photos too! OMG, Lol, She was so beautiful, and for one of our own, Grace being an Authentic American Princess! I just can't fathom who would destroy such important historical items.

So glad you found them - fantastic save on your part! I think I would have camped out at that home, from then on, LOL

Be sure to tell your family about them, so that they do end up in a museum or someplace else of honor. Sometimes it's just kids that don't understand what they have that do stupid stuff like throwing items away. 

I've drilled it into my son's heads that if something happens to me to call (such and such) and to only use (this or that) auction houses, :)

Thanks for sharing, these are wonderful treasures!

My pleasure. I know what you mean. I do the same thing. Fortunately, my son has a History degree, so he does appreciate the significance of keeping these things alive and well. Here is one last piece from Grace. Signed Christmas card.

That is cool! She must have learned to speak french pretty quickly, Bless her. I'm so sorry we lost her in such a tragic way.

It appears to be hand written which is even more special. :)


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