Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

May 18, 1994

New "Library of Congress Corner" Display Celebrates Magic

The Library of Congress and Social Issues Resources Series (SIRS) have released the latest in their cooperatively produced Library of Congress Corner series of informational displays. "Grand Illusions: The Art and Practice of Magic," compiled and written by Joan F. Higbee of the Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Division, with consultant Lynne Shaner, is a tour of the history of magic from the 16th century to the present. The first copy of "Grand Illusions" released will be on view at the 1994 World Magic Summit, scheduled for May 26-29 in Washington, D.C.

Posters, books, photos, magic apparatus, advertisements, and correspondence drawn from the Houdini and McManus-Young collections, as well as related material held by the Library of Congress, illustrate the historical development of performance magic and its relationship to the art today.

Comprising 16 poster-size units designed to fit into a free- standing display stand, "Grand Illusions" features informative images and text on people important in the history of magic -- including Houdini, Johann Hofzinzer, Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, and the Hermann family. Today's performance magic is represented by magicians Mark Wilson, Johnny Ace Palmer, Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon, and Tina Lenert.

"Grand Illusions" places alchemy, legerdemain, escapology, and seance magic in historical perspective. It celebrates the joy magic brings and the discipline required to perform it. And it reveals yet another facet of the magnificent collections of the world's largest library, which now numbers more than 104 million items.

The Library of Congress Corner series, published jointly with SIRS, offers viewers a chance to see graphically compelling, museum-quality exhibits of historic texts and documents from the Library's collections that evoke key figures, periods and movements in American history. For an initial investment of $1,400, institutions receive a 7-by-6-foot-tall free-standing aluminum display stand, and a one-year subscription, comprising four different displays (each accompanied by a supply of explanatory pamphlets); annual subscription renewals, each bringing four new displays, one each quarter, are $600 per year.

Library of Congress Corner displays published to date are "Thomas Jefferson's Legacy," "American Folklife: A Commonwealth of Cultures," "The American Cowboy," "The Open Road," and "Grand Illusions." Future displays will include "Reverberations of the Great War," "Books That Have Shaped America," and "'Herstory' and History." Individual displays may be purchased for $250.

To subscribe to the Library of Congress Corner series, or to purchase individual displays, call SIRS Customer Service at 1-800-232-7477.

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PR 94-096
ISSN 0731-3527

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