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the ephemera described in the leƩer. It was       paid is not known, but any purchase over £20
not fashionable to collect this kind of material  would have been referred to the Trustees,
in the nineteenth century, and although a         and no such record exists. DocumentaƟon
small number of Evanion’s associates knew of      recording significant acquisiƟons during
his hoard, it was probably regarded as a rather   that year also fails to menƟon the Evanion
quirky hobby. Houdini saw it as treasure trove.   collecƟon, which was probably not seen as
He wrote of their first meeƟng in his book, The    being very important at the Ɵme. A further
Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, “In his trembling     batch of material was handed over by the

hands lay priceless treasures for which I had     magician in October the same year. In all,
sought in vain—original programmes and            some 5,000 separate items were purchased
bills of Robert-Houdin, Phillippe, Anderson,      for the naƟon by the end of 1895, and a small
Breslaw, Pineƫ, KaƩerfelto, Boaz...”.             collecƟon of correspondence between Evans
                                                  and Dr Richard GarneƩ, Keeper of Printed
Nine years earlier, Henry Evans had               Books, records the acquisiƟons and remains
approached the authoriƟes at the BriƟsh           on file at the BriƟsh Library.
Library—his ‘second home’—about the
possible purchase of his collecƟon. He was        Soon aŌer their iniƟal meeƟng, Harry Houdini
in dire need of money, and in July 1895 had       persuaded Evanion to work as his research
handed over several thousand items, receiving     assistant. This involved many long hours in
less than £20 for the material. The exact sum     the Reading Room, and the results of Evans’

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