magic tricks explained

BALDWIN, Samri S., and Mrs. Kittie BALDWIN. The Secrets of Mahatma Land Explained Teaching and Explaining the Performances of the Most Celebrated Oriental Mystery Makers and Magicians.

[Brooklyn, Dyson, 1895].


4to. Original cloth-backed printed boards; pp. 120, highly illustrated after photographs and with wood-engravings throughout; binding worn, internally very good and clean.

'Second edition ... the first edition (comprising ten thousand copies) of this work was printed in Australia. The sale was unexpectedly great that it was sold out within a few months. Unortunately not a single copy was left and this edition was very hurriedly rewritten from memory' (Preface to the Second Edition). Enough made-up publication pre-history and the slight contradiction between not expecting to sell many copies, but going for a print run of 10.000. Samri Baldwin "The White Mahatma" (1848-1924) was a successful magician and spiritualist, he did the handcuff trick before Houdini and toured widely. He is one of the first to disclose magic tricks and this book, which could probaly bought at his show for half a dollar, explains and illustrates these. The illustrations, from various sources and sourcerers are a mix of exotic, mainly Asian, spiritual rituals, penny-dreadful-style scenes, and visualizations of magic tricks.

Provenance: Christopher Woodward, American collector of books on magic, bookplate (his silhouette by D. Vernon).