Conjurers' Monthly Magazine 1906 September Vol. 1 No. 1 – Part 1

“With its medicine-show self promotion and streetfighter taunts, Conjurers’ Monthly was bound to offend, and did – Kenneth Silverman

Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine ran for two volumes from September 1906 until August 1908. Houdini enlisted the help of his brothers Nat, Bill and Leo to help out, Hardeen served as “English representative”. Where most magic magazines focused on explanations of new tricks and illusions, Houdini concentrated on historical articles, drawing much of the information, photos, and playbills from his encyclopedia of magicians research. Houdini used the magazine to confront imitators and enemies. The series, “Unknown Facts concerning Robert-Houdin” and “Robert-Houdin’s Place in the History of Magic”, ran for twelve issues which later became a book, The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. Houdini also wrote under the pseudonym “N. Osey”, as the European Correspondent (which he had previously been doing for The Mahatma).

This is a new series reviewing each of the 24 issues of Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine. Beginning with September 15, 1906 Vol. 1. No. 1.

Below is the pre-publication flyer advertising a yearly subscription for one dollar. The address for the subscription is The New York Magical Co. on 1621 Broadway, Brooklyn NY. There is also an advertisement for the New York Magical Co. in the September issue of Conjurers’. The add says the company was established in 1869. I cannot find any further information about this company. A quick Google map search shows that there is a dollar store at 1621 Broadway.

1621 Broadway, Brooklyn NY

Pages 2 – 3 list advertisements for Martinka & Company, Harry Day Agency, Manhattan Detective Agency, The Stadium Cafe, Ernst and Basch and Mahatma the official organ of the Society of American Magicians.

The St. James Building office for the Manhattan Detective Agency

Page 4 has an advertisement for Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine. There is a telephone number listed. This might be Houdini’s telephone number at his Brownstone on 278 West 113th Street in New York City. Telephone: 1514 MORNINGSIDE.

Houdini opens with his “Salutatory”, a welcome to his readers and a rather critical review of other magic magazines and publications of the day. It is so Houdini and I love it! This is his pen, not a ghost writer.

“There is no apology to make for the
appearance of the Conjurers’ Magazine.
We do not wish to supplant any other paper
; we have no axes to grind; nothing
to sell; no one to extol; we do not seek
any free advertisement; we do not labor
under the impression that we shall have
the best paper in the world.”

Although the prior paragraph states that he doesn’t wish to “supplant any other paper” meaning replace or supersede, he does not hold back with his opinion about the shortcomings of other magic magazines.

“The few magazines that are devoted
to Magic and Magicians, especially two
published in England, are in the hands
of men who make use of their alleged
papers to maintain their own business
end, and are nothing more or less than
“grafting” catalogues.”

This next statement warns if you break your word you’re dead to us.

“One sheet in particular no more de-
serves the name of newspaper or maga-
zine than would a photograph of an old
wizened cow to be called a creation of
Gibson. This party once gave us “his”
word of honor not to do certain things,
and then deliberately broke his promise,
and when any one will purposely do this
he is dead to us in all respects.”

He takes a small jab at The Sphinx which was the leading leading American magic journal and contender to become the official organ of the S.A.M. Houdini was very frustrated with the Sphinx at this time in his career. He felt that Dr. A.M. Wilson had intentionally jilted him. The Sphinx rarely mentioned his many Handcuff exploits and once printed his name as “Haudini”.

“In America we have
the “Sphinx,” which has at certain times gone out of its way “a wee bit.”

The Mahatma Magazine is mentioned and only faulted at “being, somewhat tardy in appearance” which I believe could mean either the magazine was late to show up in the mail or behind the times graphically, but he then goes on to say “the Editor assures me that this defect will be remedied”. It’s also possible that the Mahatma owed him pay for writing as Herr N. Osey. Incidentally the Mahatma is a paying advertiser on Page 3 of Conjurers.

He gives some background on the name choice.

“The first authentic record of a magician’s
newspaper or magazine in the
English language (we’think) is the Conjurers’ Magazine, from which we have
taken our name.”

And highlights an interesting fact about a publisher’s large circulation.

“Anderson, the Wizard
of the North, had several newspapers.
He carried a printing press, and on his
tour around the world printed “The
World of Magic” and “The Psychomantic
Reporter.” Anderson claimed a bona
fide circulation of 100,000 weekly for
the latter paper, and 25,000 for the former.”

But then goes on to doubting Anderson was actually making any money!

“He must have given them away
gratis.”

He makes a pitch for Conjurers’ future success.

“We trust that the Conjurers’ Magazine
will make a strong bid for existence,
and while it is in this world (and
we hope it will be permanently) it will
be as interesting as we can possibly
make it, playing no favorites, and for
ever and alwavs promoting the interests
of Magic.”

And invites his readers to send in corrections.

“Should our judgment err, we
kindly beg of you to send in corrections
and credit will be given to all to whom
it is due.”

He finishes with the magazine’s motto.

“Impartial, Fearless and
Truthful.”

At the bottom of Page 5 is a Greek Proverb that basically says if you listen to rumors before checking the facts you are a fool!

Coming up next Part 2 of the review of the September 1906 issue No 1, Vol 1.

Unknown Facts Concerning Robert Houdin, Notes From Theo Hardeen, Notes from Herr N. Osey, Reading Rubbish, Our Mail Bag, Handcuff Secrets

Reference – The Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine reprinted by Kaufman and Greenberg the limited edition two Volume book set. PDF scanned format from The Conjuring Arts.  It is currently on sale for $9.99 on their site. Houdini The Career of Ehrich Weiss by Kenneth Silverman. Houdini the Untold Story by Milbourne Christopher.

The Theodore Hardeen Chronology

Introducing the Hardeen Chronology. I have included this new page in the menu above.

This is a first draft of a timeline using several sources and it is pretty rough so bare with me as this takes shape. I will continue to update and improve it as I discover more about Hardeen. I also plan to list all of the sources I have used so far. I’m hoping my new series that is about to launch on the Conjurers Monthly Magazine will provide even more details about Hardeen’s exploits in Europe.

If anyone has something to add or correct please comment here or email me at thebrothershoudini@gmail.com and include your source of information.

One year after Houdini’s Death – The Sphinx October 1927 Featuring Hardeen

Going through some of my collection I came upon a picture of Hardeen I don’t recall ever seeing before. This is the October 1927 edition of the Sphinx the official publication for S.A.M. (Society of American Magicians).

Hardeen was featured on the Front cover with a small article about Hardeen’s upcoming shows and a photo of him standing with Dr. A.M. Wilson the editor of The Sphinx. This was published 1 year after his brother Houdini had died on October 31st 1926.

Those in Houdini circles know that Houdini and Wilson had a rough start when Houdini joined S.A.M. Houdini felt that Wilson had “Snubbed” him by not including stories about his latest feats as the Handcuff King, so Houdini came up with his own magazine called “The Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine”. Years later the two men made amends and became close friends.

Hardeen went on to become the President of S.A.M. from 1929 – 1930.

While scanning these images I noticed something “magical”. Look at the page number below!

A picture I have not seen of Hardeen and Dr. A.M.Wilson standing under the Vaudeville marquee.

Coming up I will be starting a new series reviewing each issue of Houdini’s publication “Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine”.

Houdini’s lessor known Milwaukee Connection

It isn’t a new story that the Weiss family lived in Milwaukee for a time, but it is not as well known or told as the Appleton story. Here is a recent story and video filmed at the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee by WISN Milwaukee Wisconsin:

Escape artist, magician Houdini developed performance skills while living in Milwaukee

David Saltman of The Houdini File has done extensive research on the subject. Read David’s accounts here:

Houdini & Hardeen Returns!

That’s right folks I’m back from the dead!

Yesterday I received my copy of the new book “The Life And After Life Of Harry Houdini” by Joe Posnanski in the mail. It came on October 31 “Halloween!” the day Houdini died!

This evening I was reading the book and to my complete astonishment my site “Houdini & Hardeen” was mentioned in the Book in a list of “other contenders” being compared to the greatest Houdini Blog of all “Wild About Harry”!

I didn’t think anyone was reading my blog so I turned it off in 2018 and stopped writing. This mention of H&H along side such greats as John Cox’s blog Wild About Harry, and other sites which I admire so much The Houdini File, The Magic Detective, Houdini Circumstantial Evidence, and Interval Magic is a true honor and it has inspired me to start the site up again. And… the book showed up, signed by Joe Posnanski on the day Houdini died “Halloween”. I can’t ignore that!