Magicol No. 198 | May 2023
This issue is a continuation of our exploration of magic’s great history, characters and yes, collectibles, too. It is also steered by new editor, Julie Eng, and she is joined by many new and familiar writers of Magicol.
This issue features a new series called “The Escapists: A Celebration of Female Daredevils and Escapologists.” It’s a collaborative effort by Michael Claxton and Gary Hunt. In this first installment of three parts, we learn about the courageous women of yesteryear who broke through stereotypes and pushed back against ridicule, while finding clever and curious ways to elevate the art of escapology. In celebrating their achievements, the authors also paint human portraits of these intriguing women, reminding us how difficult and challenging it was, not only to be an entertainer in the vaudeville era but also to be a woman breaking free of more than just ropes, “nippers” and straitjackets.
We turn next to Gabe Fajuri’s article about American magic-book dealer Leo Rullman. One must remember that Rullman was selling books by mail lists and catalogues in the Twenties, well before the days of abebooks.com! It was, as Gabe points out, an art in itself to find and sell books, while also discovering other treasures of magic. We get a sense of Rullman’s careful curation and clever marketing prose, as Gabe also shines a bright light on the unbelievable items that were regularly listed for sale in Rullman’s condensed and intriguing catalogues.
Enrique Jiménez-Martínez then invites us on a journey, back to the early nineteenth century, to learn more about the fascinating history of a family of “aeronauts”: Étienne-Gaspard Robertson and his two sons, Eugène and Dimitri. Enrique has devoted a number of years researching the Robertson patriarch and, now in Magicol, he shares his discoveries of Robertson’s two sons, both of whom lived action-packed lives of their own as high-profile aeronauts. Enrique goes far beyond the novelty of balloon piloting to highlight the myriad challenges—financial, physical, logistical—involved in ascensions so long ago. We also learn how the older son, Eugène, followed in his celebrity father’s footsteps as what was known back then as a “professor of amusing science.”
Michael Claxton gives us an incisive overview of the first in-person Yankee Gathering since 2018, held in Westborough, Massachusetts, which was hosted last November by NEMCA. Michael gives us a balanced report on all events, from lectures to the swap meet, and includes a lovely review of guest of honour Jim Steinmeyer’s lecture and interview.
In our new section, “Reflections,” we welcome Ann Myrece James and her enchanting history as The Dancing Magicienne. It is both fascinating and heartening to see, through Ann Myrece’s life story, how the magic community really can forge meaningful connections for practitioners and collectors alike. And we are also so pleased to welcome Richard Hatch back with his charming piece on Pinetti that ties this issue of Magicol to Magicana’s epic project, The Rich Cabinet Collection. Richard, in his ever-generous way, found the time to help us identify a broadside included in an article about Pinetti in Volume IV of The Rich Cabinet Collection. And, in vintage Hatchian form, we happily find out a lot more about the broadside than first anticipated!
Which brings us to our last reflection for the issue: Clay Shevlin’s remembrance of Dr. Eddie Dawes. For over nine decades, Eddie lived a long, full and—yes!—rich life. As we all know so well, he was truly one of the very best. His recent passing in March brought forth a flood of tributes and memories, and we are so very pleased to include Clay’s loving homage to our dear and wonderful friend Eddie in the pages of the latest Magicol.
$40, plus shipping and handling.
Magicol (ISSN 0460-5314) is published by Magicana. Perfect bound (soft cover), digitally printed in color, 5.5” x 8.5” (14 x 21.5 cm), 148 pages.
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