Harry Houdini ( 1874-1926) is pictured in a portrait signed by him the year he died (1926), and [below] in an archival 1921 film press shot.

Accompanying the portrait are Houdini's classic "exposé" books "Miracle Workers and their Methods", and "The UnMasking of Robert Houdin", with Houdini's inscription, which states his opinion on his historical writing:

 

"Best wishes from the author of this first authentic history of magic and magicians —

Harry Houdini."

 

These photographic portraits and artifacts juxtapose the seeming opposite characteristics of intellectual and physical prowess which combined to characterize Houdini's brilliance: his ability to merge thought and action in a manner that never failed to captivate public attention.