Envelope found in Houdini's desk - from a famous stage mentalist
Just think- you can own a piece of magical history- something that was handled by the great Harry Houdini in his daily life! This is a one-of-a-kind collectible, perfect for framing.
What a great gift!
This is one of the envelopes found in Harry Houdini's personal desk. It is postmarked June 20 (year unknown) from Chelsea, England. There is no return address, but Stuart Cumberland wrote his own name in the lower left corner.Stuart Cumberland died in 1922, so this letter was obviously written no later than 1922.The envelope was addressed to Houdini while he was appearing at the historic Empire Theatre in Southend-On-Sea, Essex.
Stuart Cumberland (1857-1922) was the stage name of Charles Garner, an English magician who specialized in thought reading or mentalism. His most famous routine was finding objects hidden by audience members by using "psychic powers". He was also a skilled writer who penned Spiritualism: The Inside Truth, and exposure of fake mediums and their methods.This was a very important topic to Houdini; in fact, fully half his stage show during this time was all about exposing fake spiritualists.It can be imagined that Cumberland and Houdini had quite a number of conversations about this matter, including what was sent in this envelope.
As a side note, the Empire Theatre at this time was owned and operated by the successful illusionist Albert Marchinsky, stage name "The Great Rameses". The theatre unfortunately was hit by an arsonist in 2015, and was demolished a year later.
See a larger version of the image here.
In the late 1980's, magician Peter Monticup (owner of MagicTricks.com), purchased Harry Houdini's ornate personal desk. The desk had been in storage in Houdini's former NYC home from 1926 until it was sold in 1980. Peter purchased the desk from this buyer, along with some other personal items from the Houdini home.
The desk had a number of secret compartments and hidden drawers. Inside one of the drawers was a stack of envelopes from correspondence Houdini had received. The envelopes were from all different sources- his lawyers, his fans, fellow magicians, etc. He even wrote notes on some of the envelopes, either noting the importance of the contents, or just scribbling on them as scrap paper.
In researching each of the envelopes, we've found an important connection to an event or person in Houdini's life. Of all the thousands upon thousands of letters he received each year, he saved each of these envelopes for a reason.Houdini was a notorious "saver".These envelopes were used as his personal Rolodex (address directory).
You provide the frame if desired.
This is a standard size envelope (about 3" x 4"). It's old, it's been through the mail, it's yellowed. Houdini tore it along the right edge (probably with a dull letter opener) to remove the contents. This envelope is in "AS FOUND" condition.
DISCLAIMER: Though these envelopes are absolutely original and absolutely came from Houdini's desk, we cannot be totally sure of the contents of the correspondence that was sent in the envelope, because the envelopes in the desk were all empty. What you read in the description above is our BEST GUESS about the contents of any correspondence, based on our research and our own conclusions.
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