Jacob Philadelphia's book

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 12/18/07 10:43 AM

Who knows what was about Philadelphia's book "Kleines Tractatlein seltsamer und approbirter Kunststucke" (Little Treatise on Strange and Suitable Feats), 1774? This book known like first magician book written by American born author, but I did not find it on different lists of "first magic books". Is it was about natural magic or black magic? Or it was like Pinetti's book?

Postby Guest » 12/21/07 09:50 AM

I believe that the book is so rare most people who make lists are unaware of its existence. I would guess that it's like Pinetti but more reliant on Guyot (it was new then). But this is mere speculation because I only know of one copy and have never seen it.

Postby Guest » 12/21/07 11:33 AM

I find title page on Milbourne's "Panorama of Magic" page 42. I was surprized that really book was written on German, because all use only English name. I even do not know is famous engrave of Philadelphia from frontispis of this book.

All information about Jacob Meyer strange. Most peoples call him "First American born magician who became popular on Europe", but looks like he emigrated to America with his family and can not be "American born". Many books write he call himself Piladelphus Philadelphia, but looks this name we can see only on Plakat by George Lichtenberg. I wonder what wrote his descendant Marion Philadelphia on 1999 book.

Postby Philippe Billot » 12/21/07 03:58 PM

excerpt from Whomagic by Bart Whaley

Philadelphia, Jacob
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 14 Aug 1734?- ) Stage name of Jacob Meyer aka "Meyer", son of Jewish immigrants from Polish Galicia. Learned c1750 by tuition from Dr Christopher Witt, a Rosicrucian occultist.
Moved to England around mid-1750s. After 1765 become the first American magician to perform in Europe. Pro illusionist & sleight-of-hand artist. Toured England (c1765), Ireland, Portugal (1765?), Spain, Russia, Romania ( ? & 1772), Turkey, Sweden, Prussia, Vienna (1774), Lneburg, Weimar (1777), Gttingen (1777), Strasbourg (1779), & Switzerland. When not on tour, lived with his wife & 2 children in Kthen by 1783 until last reported there in 1797.
Wrote Kleines Trafttlein seltsamer und approbirte Kunststcke [Little Treatise on Strange and Appropriate Feats] (Vienna: 1774). This 72-page book is the earliest published work on magic by an American-born conjuror. The only known copy is in the Christopher Collection. [Dam;Daw;Ch;Sal;St]
Philippe Billot
Posts: 992
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 12/22/07 12:17 AM

Thank you, M. Philippe Billot.

Looks like all of this I know (may be not so accurate). And of course I respect Bart Whaley's book. But German sources what little more closely to living place of Meyer suggest date of his death like 1813 and not so sure where he was born - on Galica and moved to America, or on America where was moved his family (of course, if I understand English correct).

I believe only what I see. And I know that by pass information from one man to another exactness fall. So, for me interesting that book. This is first source.

Please. Just now I ask not clever questions.

What is this - Christopher Milbourne collection? Where it placed? Who possessed it? How I can connect with man who have it? Or after auctions of 1981 and 1997 it was divided?

Postby Guest » 12/22/07 04:17 AM

Mr. Christopher passed away many years ago, and his widow, Maurine, now owns the collection. She lives in the city of New York.

The auctions you mentioned consisted mostly of duplicates.

P.S. For more information on Philadelphia, you might try the following books:

Rubens, Alfred Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850. London, The Jewish Historical Society of England, 1974.

Oettermann, Stephan & Sibylle Spiegel Lexicon der Zauberknstler. Offenbach am Main, Germany, Edition Volker Huber, 2004.

Rudin, Barbel (ed.) w/ Horst Flechsig and Lars Rebehn Lebenselixier Theater, Budenzauber, Freilichtspektakel im Alten Reich 1. Band. Reichenbach, Germany, Neuberin-Museum, 2004.

Postby Guest » 12/22/07 07:27 AM

Thanks. I will ask about that books from my German friends. Hardly believe that "Lexicon der Zauberknstler" (Enciclopedia of Illusionist) can suggest something more than standard information from Bart Whaley's "Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic" or German "Das Groe Hokuspokus", but I will try.

Postby Guest » 12/22/07 03:29 PM

You're welcome, Oleg.

There is some biographical material on Philadelphia in another journal of Jewish culture and history, but I can't recall the title right now. This journal was published in the early 1900s.

Postby Guest » 12/23/07 12:20 AM

To say truth "biographical material" not so much interesting. Of course, if I find prove that Meyer really born not in America I can write: "Aha... All peoples suppose he was born in America but I tell you truth... Read only my book..." but for me more interesting understand what kind of tricks perform this man. Unfortunately, on standard articles there are no place for such information.

On Russian book I find something what looks like information from Philadelphia's book - tricks what he performed. Mr. William Kalush correct - one card trick looks like from Gyuot (with blindfold eyes chosen card nailed by sword). But I do not believe Russian books and try get sources. There noted German magazine Artistik (Circus art) 1961 N1 and article by famous German (DDR) collector Markschiess van Trix. Now I search it.

BTW. Just now my German friend tell me that on German known more than one books written by "Philadelphia" but all of them supposed like written peoples who use pseudonym Philadelphia. Meyer was not so high educated to write book. Who know how many books of "Philadelphia" on collection of Milbourne Christopher, or it is only one and this one he suppose like written by real Meyer?

Amazing that after Milbourne Christopher German authors, what newer see this book, begin write that Philadelphia made it...

Postby Guest » 12/23/07 11:08 PM

Althought Milbourne Christopher owned many rare books, the information he published about some historical aspects of them and about magic in general was not very accurate. For example, in his Illustrated History of Magic, he stated that the famous photo of the two Egyptians with the four cuplike shapes was a pair of cups and balls workers, and that the painting came from a tomb at Beni Hasan, which was underwater.

All of this information is totally false.

The tomb at Beni Hasan (tomb #15) was never submerged. It is some 300 km from the site of Lake Nasser, which was created by the Aswan dam.

Christopher often subtituted his fervent desire for certain things to be true for historical fact.

Perhaps Byron Walker could shed some light on this subject.

Postby Guest » 12/24/07 02:20 AM

Apologize. And what about cuplikes? Is there are explanation text near that picture? I always suppose - not. And I newer believe it was cups and balls.

I do not think Milbourne Christopher was "guilty". Book was popular and made not for scientists but for easy peoples. He can not always write correct "on document ... written, that someone who call himself ... perform next ..." and should write not correct "Magician ... on year ... perform ...". But this is our problem evaluate all sources on authenticity. Because we want to know.

So, most easy question what I know and what can help me much - how many different books on German with name Philadelphia on Milbourne Christopher collection?

BTW. On Russia like 10-15 books by "Pinetti". And only one close to text of French and English variants.

Just two of them:

Postby Guest » 12/31/07 02:20 PM

OK. I get "Lexicon der Zauberknstler".
Nothing new about book. Just information "on 1774 was pulished by Philadelphia..."

Little more information that on Whaley, but I am interesting German sources and did not find anything new.

BTW. Happy New Year. It is now in Russia.

Postby Guest » 12/31/07 11:16 PM

Happy New Year to you, too.

You might want to check to see if Ricky Jay has any information on Philadelphia as well.

Don't let the idea that he was not formally educated make you think that he was incapable of writing a book. This may be a false assumption.

Postby Guest » 01/01/08 11:08 AM

Dear Mr. Bill Palmer.

I am open for all information. Of course I will accept Mr. David Copperfield's invitation to check his library and suggestion of Mr. Ricky Jay to became friends, but ... I have no information that somebody from that person hear about me.

Do you know easy method how to connect with Mr. Ricky Jay? His email? I did not find it on http://rickyjay.com/contact.htm

Postby Guest » 01/01/08 03:46 PM

Mr. Stepanov:

I wish I could give you Ricky's e-mail address, but I don't have it. The cryptic message on his website indicates to me that he isn't apt to make any new friends easily. However, a lot of people who know him read this forum. Maybe he will learn about you from these posts and try to make contact with you.

Meanwhile, I'm sure that many people are trying to find out information for you.

Postby Guest » 01/01/08 04:25 PM

Dear Mr. Bill Palmer.

I like your idea. I hope it can work.

I am really enjoy to communicate here. All peoples so kind and know so much. I have only one problem - I want to be such interesting to peoples like they interesting to me.

Postby Guest » 01/02/08 11:08 AM

I find your dedication to unraveling the mysteries of magic history very interesting.

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