Magician David Ben is in the news today as Montreal’s McCord Museum announced it has acquired a collection of 600 posters, 200 rare books and 200 documents documenting magic in the 19th to early 20th centuries. The acquisition cost approximately $3,000,000.00 but sounds priceless.
Mr. Ben is the Artistic Director of Magicana – an organization dedicated to the study of magic – and was a key adviser to the museum.
“It’s the second-largest collection of Houdini material held in a public institution,” Mr. Ben told reporters today.
The US Library of Congress houses the largest collection.
The materials will be made available for scholars and will be the subject of a 2017 exhibition at the museum.
The artifacts trace Houdini’s beginnings as a magician in eastern Canada, but also the rise of spiritualism – the belief that the dead can communicate with the living. It also “tracks the social history of advertising” through the use of lithography and its posters, Ben said.
The acquisition is the gift of the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation. Ms. Gattuso is the wife Standard Broadcasting’s Allan Slaight. Before becoming a major media mogul, Mr. Slaight was a professional magician and mind reader.
We will keep you advised on public opportunities to view the collection. We cannot wait.
Read more in The Montreal Gazette.