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McManus-Young Collection

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

Natural Magic 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.
Page Turner - PDF (21.11 MB) - Bibliographic Information
juggler’s oracle 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).
Page Turner - PDF (41.5 MB) - Bibliographic Information
The Conjurer Unmasked 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 [1790].
Page Turner - PDF (63.95 MB) Bibliographic Information
Houdini at the Wintergarten [Houdini at the Wintergarten, Berlin] 1903.
Page Turner - PDF (105.8MB) Bibliographic Information
The Vanity of Arts and Sciences 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.
Page Turner - PDF (212.86 MB) - Bibliographic Information
The Conjurer Unmasked 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 [1790].
Page Turner - PDF (63.95 MB) - Bibliographic Information

Magic Apparatus
Magic apparatus from the McManus-Young Collections in the Rare Book and Special Collection Division.

Mathematicall recreations 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. The New Conjuror’s Museum and Magical Magazine. London [1806?-].
Page Turner - PDF (39.46 MB )- Bibliographic Informaton
The Discovery of Witchcraft Scot, Reginald, 1538?-1599. The Discouerie of Witchcraft. [London] 1584. [London]: Printed by R.C. and are to be sold by Giles Calvert ..., 1651.
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Scot’s discovery of witchcraft 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 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.
Page Turner - PDF (37.28 MB) Bibliographic Information
The Wonderful History of the Celebrated Friar Bacon The Wonderful History of the Celebrated Friar Bacon: who studies the magic art, and saves a gentleman from the Devil, to whom he had sold his soul and body... London: Printed by W. Lewis for T. & J. Allman, 1829.
Page Turner - PDF (13.29 MB) - Bibliographic Information



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  May 28, 2013
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