Page 8 - March 2015
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studies were used in Houdini’s books,                 collecƟon remains at the BriƟsh Library and is
although no acknowledgment of his English             available (by appointment) to researchers.
colleague’s work was ever given. In addiƟon,
Houdini purchased many choice items from              For all his faults, Harry Houdini did pay for the
Evans, oŌen for quite small sums of money.            funeral of Evanion, and assisted Mary, his widow,
This source of income helped Evans in the             financially. The great illusionist also provided
last year of his life. He died in June 1905,          funds for the upkeep of the graves of many con-
just over a year aŌer meeƟng Houdini for              jurors and fellow arƟsts during his lifeƟme.
the first Ɵme. Henry Evans worked unƟl the
end of his life, sƟll accepƟng bookings in            The Evanion catalogue is online at hƩp://www.
the final months as his health deteriorated.           bl.uk/catalogues/evanion/, where BPS members
Largely forgoƩen by 1905, his associaƟon              will find a cornucopia of printed ephemera, pro-
with Houdini revived interest in the English          duced by many different processes over a period
magician, and the collecƟon received                  of 150 years or more. The range is vast, and high
considerable publicity aŌer it was menƟoned           resoluƟon copies may be printed or dowloaded,
in Houdini’s books.                                   although ownership of these images remains
                                                      with the Trustees of the BriƟsh Library.
Biographical research reveals that Houdini
took advantage of Evanion, and it has been            I discovered the Evanion collecƟon some years
suggested that the pressure of work—                  ago when researching the history of Stevens,
Houdini urged Evans to spend long hours               Shanks, the London type-founders. In aƩempƟng
working for him—may have hastened his                 to trace the origins of the founders’ factory at 89
death. Evans parted with some of the finest            Southwark Street I found a surviving trade card
items in his collecƟon at prices which were           for Sir Joseph Causton & Sons’ “account book
derisory, even in 1905. Those items found             and envelope manufactory”, the earliest occu-
their way into the Theatre Arts Library at            pants of the building. The card had been picked
the Harry Ransom HumaniƟes Centre at                  up by Henry Evans in the 1880s and found its
the University of Texas, but the bulk of the          way into the collecƟon at the BriƟsh Library.
                                                      Thank you, Evanion.

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