Week 3: (Nov. 12 to 16) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Julie @ JulzReads): Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
From me, it’s a little bit of all three: A list of great books, a few books on the same subject that I haven’t read, and a call-out for yet more books. And what’s my topic?
Female Magicians and Magicians’ Assistants
What I’ve Read
Adelaide Herrmann was extraordinary. She was the wife and assistant of Alexander Herrmann (known as Herrmann the Great). When he died in 1896, Adelaide picked up his mantle and continued to perform as a headline magician for another thirty year.! Magician Margaret B. Steele collected and published Herrmann’s memoirs in 2012 and a beautiful and exuberant illustrated children’s version was published in 2016.
- Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Adelaide Herrmann (My Review)
- Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff & Iacopo Bruno (Illustrations) (My Review)
Adele Friel’s career in magic was brief, but her memoir of the three years she spent with Harry Blackstone’s show gives a glimpse into what it was like to be a “box jumper”—an assistant who is often jumping in and out of boxes. Magician Ning Cai has spent time in boxes as well, but as an endurance artist and escapologist. Hers is also one of the few modern biographies I’ve found.
- Memoirs of an Elusive Moth: Disappearing Nightly with Harry Blackstone and his Show of 1001 Wonders by Adele Friel Rhindress (My Review)
- Who is Magic Babe Ning? by Ning Cai (My Review)
What I Haven’t Read…Yet
There are several books by and about female magicians that are hard to find, mainly due to the small-press nature of most magic publishers. Below are two that are at least available through a large retailer like Amazon. Dell O’Dell had her own circus in the 1920s and her own TV show in the 1950s. Frances Ireland specialized in magic for children and also took over her husband’s business when he died. L.L. Ireland Magic Co. is one of the oldest magic shops in the US. It still exists today in Chicago as Magic, Inc.
- Don’t Fool Yourself: The Magical Life of Dell O’Dell by Michael Claxton
- You Don’t Have to Be Crazy But It Helps by Frances Ireland
What Else is There?
I’m always looking for more books about magicians and magicians’ assistants. If you know of any, let me know!