Selected Special Collections
Publications and pictorial material relating to magic, magical apparatus
John J. and Hanna M. McManus and Morris N. and Chesley V. Young jointly
presented their magic collection to the Library of Congress in 1955. The
collectors had become acquainted through their shared interests and had developed
the 20,000 item collction. John McManus, New York attorney and president
of Rolls-Royce's American affiliate, and his wife also assembled a collection
of magic paraphenalia which they donated to the Ringling Museums in Sarasota,
Florida. Since the death of John McManus in 1955, Dr. Young, a New York opthalmologic
surgeon, and his wife have added material to the Library's collection.
The McManus-Young Collection provides a rich survey of the literature of
what Dr. Young terms "illusion practices," the magician's manipulation of
the imagination of others, and includes works on conjuring, ventriloquism,
fortune-telling, spiritualism, witchcraft, gambling, hypnotism, automata,
and mind reading. Rare volumes and pamphlets from the collection are kept
as a unit in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
While strongest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century publications, the collection
embraces significant older works such as Reginald Scot's The Discoverie
of Witchcraft (London: 1584), Thomas Ady's A Candle in the Dark (London:
1656), and many editions of Harry Dean's Hocus Pocus. Also included
is an extensive file of explanations of magic tricks, the scrapbooks of mentalist
C. A. George Newmann, and the famous card-rise box designed by Austrian magician
Dr. Johann N Hofzinser. Leonard D. Beck's article, "Things Magical in the
Collections of the Rare Book Division" in the Library of Congress Quarterly
Journal, v. 31, October 1974, p. 208-234, describes many McManus-Young
items. Most volumes are represented in the author/title and shelflist card
files for the collection.
Among the pictorial materials from the collection maintained by the Prints and Photographs Division are
dust jackets from magic books, portraits of magicians, carnival photographs,
Houdiniana, and miscellaneous printed ephemera. Aside from the theater advertisements
which are kept with the posters, the McManus-Young items are described in
the division catalog.
Digitized Material From the McManus-Young Collection
||Astley, Philip, 1742-1814. Natural Magic, or, Physical Amusements Revealed. London: Printed for the author, and sold by all the booksellers in England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1785.
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|| Boaz, Sieur (Herman). The Juggler's Oracle, or, The Whole Art of Legerdemain Laid Open. À London: Printed for William Cole [182-?] ([London]: Printed by G.H. Davidson).
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||Decremps, Henri, 1746-1826. The Conjurer Unmasked: Being a Clear and Full Explanation of All the Surprizing Performances Exhibited as Well in this Kingdom as On the Continent By the Most Eminent and Dexterous Professors of Slight of Hand... London: Printed for C. Stalker ..., MDCCXC .
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||[Houdini at the Wintergarten, Berlin] 1903.
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||von Nettesheim, Agrippa. Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1535. The Vanity of Arts and Sciences. London: Printed by R. Everingham for R. Bentley ... and Dan. Brown ..., 1694.
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|| Decremps, Henri, 1746-1826. The Conjurer Unmasked: Being a Clear and Full Explanation of All the Surprizing Performances Exhibited as Well in this Kingdom as On the Continent By the Most Eminent and Dexterous Professors of Slight of Hand... London: Printed for C. Stalker ..., MDCCXC .
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||Mathematicall recreations, or, A collection of sundrie problemes extracted out of the ancient and moderne philosophers, as secrets in nature and experiments in arithmeticke, geometrie, cosmographie, horologographie, astronomie, navigation, musicke, opticks, architecture, staticke, machanicks, chimestrie, waterworkes, fireworks, &c. ... Printed at London : By T. Cotes, for Richard Hawkins ..., 1633.
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||The New Conjuror’s Museum and Magical Magazine. London [1806?-].
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||Scot, Reginald, 1538?-1599. Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft.
[London]: Printed by R.C. and are to be sold by Giles Calvert ..., 1651.
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||The Whole Art of Legerdemain, or, Hocus Pocus Laid Open and Explained By Those Renowned Masters Sena Sama, Hamed Ben-Ali, and All the Celebrated and Mysterious Professors in the Art of Natural Magic... Baltimore: C.V. Nickerson, 1830.
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