Dai Vernon: A Biography

Artist—Magician—Muse (Volume 1)

His medium was magic and Dai Vernon turned the clandestine world of conjuring on its ear with virtuoso sleight of hand and a dogged pursuit for perfection. 


Dai Vernon: the last great undiscovered artist of the twentieth century.

Born in 1894 in Ottawa, the son of a Canadian civil servant, Vernon moved to Manhattan in 1915 and never looked back. Miracles flowed from his fingertips—effortlessly. The source of his secrets: the underbelly of gamblers and hustlers that roamed back-room dens of iniquity, jail cells and city streets of America. Vernon sought them out, befriended them and made their secrets his.

This book traces the first half of this remarkable journey—Ottawa, Coney Island, Manhattan, Chicago, Havana, Kansas City, Colorado Springs—and the celebrities—Houdini, Billy Rose and Roosevelt—that Vernon encountered along the way. Dai Vernon: A Biography also details the evolution of magic in the twentieth century. From the stages of London and Paris to the back rooms of magic emporiums where secrets are bought and sold, Vernon’s life and work escort the reader through vaudeville, Broadway theatres, grand magic spectaculars, New York nightspots and the dawn of television. 

At last, the cornerstone of the craft has been unveiled for all to see.

Hardbound, 366 pages illustrated with over forty rare photographs and a full-colour dust jacket.

Order directly from Squash Publishing for $39.95

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Ben, David
Dai Vernon : a biography : artist, magician, muse, 1894-1941 / David Ben.

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-9780675-0-9

1. Vernon, Dai, 1894-1941. 2. Magicians–Canada–Biography. 3. Magic– History–20th century. I. Title.

GV1545.V47B45 2006 793.8092 C2006-902473-1



The Man Who Fooled Houdini (Genii, June 2006)
Over The Rainbow (MUM, May 2006)
Dai Vernon: A Legacy of Magic (MAGIC, June 2006)