Experience of a lifetime today exploring Harry Houdini’s personal collection at the Library of Congress. They have nearly 4,000 items including correspondence, scrapbooks, paraphernalia, and books – the oldest, Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft from 1651, which we were able to hold in our bare hands.
We were able to read letters Houdini wrote to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Great Howard Thurston, and Teddy Roosevelt. I read a letter he wrote to Carl Rosini describing his torment over losing his mother.
The piece I loved the most? A postcard Houdini sent to his mother in 1886 when, at age 12, he literally ran off with the circus: “Dear Ma, I am going to Galvaston (sic) Texas and will be home in about a year. My best regards to all. Did you get my picture if you didn’t write to Mead Bros Wood Stock Ill. Your truant son, Erich Weiss (his real name).
For someone who’s studied Houdini since about 1971 this was magical. Thank you Cousin Troy Pratt for organizing this adventure. It required a lot of homework, planning, and special arrangements. I will never forget today, or you.