1933 Thayer History Monograph

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Postby magicam » 06/17/05 12:58 PM

Hi folks:

Question: how many of you have or have seen a copy of a little monograph produced in 1933, titled An Old Firm in a New Home or a Dream that Came True? It was written by C. A. George Newmann and is a short history and description of Thayers new magic home and studios at 929 S. Longwood. Its 6 tall and 41/2 wide, consists of 16 pages on glossy cream-colored paper (including the stapled wraps). My copy is signed Floyd G. Thayer and dated in his hand, June 21, 33. The colophon says that 2,000 (yes, 2,000) numbered copies were produced for distribution to Thayers friends and patrons. My copy is #343.

For those of you who have a copy, what copy # do you have? In my experience, this booklet is quite scarce in commerce, surprising since it seems that 2,000 copies were produced. So what happened to all the copies?

Also, is it possible that the text was also (or previously) published in a magazine?

Thanks in advance for any help or comment.


P.S. Some folks have written me asking why my real name is not used in my GF moniker. The reason is not worth rehashing, but I always sign my real name to my posts. Also, magicam is not a refernece to a magical camera or the like. Its Latin for magic and part of the name of my publishing imprint, Meminisse Magicam, which is Latin for To Remember Magic. CHS
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Postby Richard Lane » 06/17/05 05:18 PM

George Newmann has been haunting me for a few weeks so I can offer some guidance.


Newmann was well acquainted with the Thayers and enjoyed visiting the studio and mingling with the visitors, Once, he met Michael MacDougal, a young man who pitched Svengali decks on Los Angeles street corners. Newmann repeatedly delighted his new friend with his demonstration of the Rising Cards. Much later, Newmann was amused to discover Michael had evolved into Mickey MacDougal and now adopted the mantle of 'Card Detective.' Newmann suggested this self-promotion came from the careful study of old sharper books, rather than any insightful personal experience.

Anyway, in the November 2004 issue of Magicol, (Magic Monographs You might have Missed) mention is also made of 2000 copies. It does seem excessive.

James B. Alfredson in his monograph, "Newmann The Pioneer Mentalist," writes; "written at the request of Floyd Thayer who published it in 1933. It was reprinted in the The Linking Ring vol 13 - no. 4(June 1933) p. 248, under the title "Thayer's New Studio of Magic," and describes the Thayer's new home and studio Brookledge." If Newmann had published it himself, it would explain the bravado of the print run. I'd guess that Thayer handed out copies as a souvenirs to old customers.

Sadly I have not seen either, but I have viewed the original manuscript. It is bound into the second of three scrapbooks entitled, "Portraits if Some Famous Mentalists and Magicians I Have Known," bequeathed by Carl Jones to the Firestone Library within Princeton University.

The Thayer workshop photos are very large, maybe 24 inches by 12, and the 10x8's of the Studio are just as wonderful.

I have been working my way through George Newmann's scrapbooks at the Library of Congress and have a handful yet to catalog. The original estimate by the Library was around 120 books. The final tally may creep over 200 and my count currently stands at over 30,000 pages of extraordinary ephemera, letters, flyers, hand-outs, volumes of trick manuscripts, magazine articles from scholarly highs to the lowliest of pulp and an entire run of the "Magic and Magicians" column cut and pasted from Billboard.

Alfredson quotes John-McManus who owned the books after Newmann:

"How in the name of a dirty word could ONE man living ONE lifetime compile and preserve all this material?"

By the end of next month I hope to complete a pdf finding aid to these scrapbooks, with some bibliographic annotations, and the occasional prompt to material that caught my eye. I'll be distributing it free to anyone who is interested and a copy will be kept at the Library of Congress. Many of the volumes, all hidden away from the public in the stacks of the Rare Book and Manuscript Room, are neither numbered, nor marked on the spine. My list will help cut through some confusion that apparently has hampered both staff and visitors and will hopefully inspire others to take a look at George's curious obsession.

I look forward to contacting Mr. Alfredson soon, but if anyone else has an interest in Newmann, or can point me in the direction of further study, I'd love to hear from you. I'm particularly interested in tracking more his letters. Newmann was a man of often unpleasant opinions and his letters sometimes contain more candor than the notations found in these texts.

Finally, after trawling through over 180 scrapbooks I'd really like to discover the content of a few stray volumes that were non-magical. Once again quoting Alfredson in 1989, " Robert Lund, Jay Marshall, and perhaps others, have scrapbooks in their collections." Anyone own one of these orphans?

Many thanks,
Richard Lane.
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Postby magicam » 06/17/05 10:06 PM

Many thanks for the input, Richard. I did see the mention of the Thayer monograph in Magicol but did not think to look in Jim Alfredsons book on Newmann!

Its an interesting thought that Newmann may have published the monograph himself (and thus, as you suggest, the perhaps bombastic mention of 2,000 copies printed given the apparent scarcity of the monograph). But I wonder about that. No real concrete reason to dispute that theory, except that anything Ive seen of Newmanns seems to have been printed by hectograph, etc. and not very well designed in other words, cheaply! In contrast, the Thayer piece is nicely designed and printed by letterpress, though no mention of the printer is made in it.

Power to your project! Count me in as one who is keenly interested in your indexing work. A thankless task, but one which should prove of value to future researchers (Im sure Jim Alfredson would have found it most helpful). So thank you for performing this service for future historians.

Other than The Newmann Library, the little 31 page monograph CAGN published in 1945 (much of which was also published in The Linking Ring, I think) out of Minneapolis, and E. E. Rantas The Magic Library of C. A. George Newmann, published after Newmanns death, the only things I own relating to Newmann are his booklists. I must have about 90 pages of his lists. In many cases, the titles he offered for sale were occult in nature or otherwise with content on the periphery of magic as we think of it. He also offered many foreign-language titles. But even in these booklists, his character shines through in his descriptions. In a few cases, I have the cover letters that he sent with the lists, but in large part the only thing revealed in those letters is his capacity for hyperbole. Almost everything he offered for sale was rare and a bargain (some things never change...) and was often claimed to be duplicates from his collection. He also sometimes offered apparatus and posters for sale. If I can find them, Id be happy to send you photocopies of the letters, but I dont think they have the kind of content you are looking for.

Keep up the good work, Richard!

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Postby martinka » 06/17/05 11:39 PM

We listed one these on martinka.com sometime back, here is a link to the photos:



Ted Bogusta
Martinka & Co.
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Postby Guest » 06/18/05 01:01 AM

Richard is doing a very important work there, cataloging the Newmann Scrapbooks...a job that has begged to be done.

This is a service that others will thank him for!

Postby Guest » 06/24/05 08:28 AM

Hi Clay: My copy of Newmann's "An Old Firm..." is numbered 143, signed by Thayer and dated June 10, 1933. (Also by Bill and Irene Larsen "I think Floyd would be happy to kmnow the larsens still live in the 'dream come true'!") In the old 'Leonard Beck days' when I could get into the stacks of the L of C, I went through some of the scrapbooks; however, they had to be cursory looks due to lack of time. I, too, will be anxious to hear of the results of the search. Jim Alfredson

Postby magicam » 06/27/05 11:37 PM

Many thanks for the info, Jim. And as you'd always close in the days of snail mail, "Cheers!"

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Postby Tabman » 06/28/05 03:22 PM

Why the intense scrutiny on Newmann??? I was fascinated by him some years ago because of his association with Floyd Thayer but havent heard much about him lately. I had a copy of Jim Alfredson's book and other Newmann material. Excellent monograph. Did it have a black cover??? You've piqued my interest again.
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Postby magicam » 06/28/05 08:13 PM

Yes, Tabman, J. Alfredson's book did have a black cover and was good reading indeed - good enough for a reprinting, which is impressive in light of the specialized nature of the book. Jim's a very good writer.

I cant say I know of any particular resurgence of interest in Newmann. Sometimes I float a question on a book or subject in the hopes that the collective knowledge on GF will prove fruitful with some answers. So this topic has yielded some good information*, but the great news is about Richard Lanes indexing work with Newmanns scrapbooks a mighty task which should prove a valuable research resource.

Do you have any of Newmann's booklists or used apparatus lists? I'd be interested in knowing if that's the case.


*And to see the uglier side of floating questions on this forum, see "Food for Thought". :eek:
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Postby Tabman » 06/29/05 04:36 PM

Sorry I cant help you any more with Newmann material. I sold my book collection when I built the studio. I only miss a few of them, like now when it would be fun to track something down. I did read many of them and enjoyed owning them. I've never been wealthy so things have a way of being transitory. I viewed the books as a tool, a learning center to feed my passion for building certain kinds of magic. Most anything that made a real impact on me during that time ended up in my notebooks anyway.

I accumulated many of them during the early days of H & R Books (pre internet)when they would publish their used book list on MAGIC! and give us EBBS guys a first crack, that and Byron Walker was only a phone call away.

That was an awful lot of fun!!! Thanks for askin!

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Postby Guest » 06/30/05 05:30 PM

Hello Clay,

You probably already have this information from me somewhere but in case you've miss placed it I'm sending it to you again. I have a copy of the Thayer book your asking about as well as the Newman checklist. I also have the following Newmann lists posted below.

Ray Ricard

NEWMANN (George) 1880-1952
AN OLD FIRM IN A NEW HOME. Wraps. 13pgs. Frontis., and other photos. Calif: F.G. Thayer.,
1933. Autographed by Thayer. Copy #592 of 2000.

CHECK LIST - MAGIC LIBRARY OF C.A. GEORGE NEWMANN. Wraps. 104pgs. Mimeo. (n.d.). One of fifty copies printed.

HELLSTROMISM UNVEILED! THE TRUTH ABOUT MIND READING. Manuscript. 10pgs.(n.p.), (n.d.). David Price bookplate.

NEWMANN LIBRARY, THE. Wraps. 31pgs. Illus. Minneapolis, Minn., April 25, 1945. Autographed.

NEWMANNS SUPER DIVINO & BOOK TEST. Printed. 2pgs. (n.p.), (n.d.).

NEWMANN (C.A. George)
1946 GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY BARGAIN LIST. Mimeo. 8pgs. Minneapolis, MN., 1946.

A CHOICE COLLECTION OF RARE OLD CLASSICS. Mimeo. 10pgs. Minneapolis, MN.,(n.d.).

Minneapolis, MN., (n.d.).

ALL NOW LEFT OF THE RARE WORKS ON CONJURING & MAGIC. Mimeo. 1pg. Minneapolis, MN., (n.d.).



BARGAINS FOR COLLECTORS OF MAGICANA. Mimeo. 11pgs. Minneapolis, MN., (n.d.).

BIOGRAPHICAL & HISTORICAL WORKS ON MAGIC, ETC. Mimeo. 5pgs. Minneapolis, MN., (n.d.).


LIST "OCTOBER 11, 1948". Ditto. 7pgs. Minneapolis, MN., 1948.

LIST TO "C.B. YOHE". Mimeo. 1pg. Minneapolis, MN., Dec. 10, 1947.

MAGICIANS, ATTENTION! A BONAFIDE SACRAFICE SALE. Mimeo. 10pgs. Minneapolis, MN., (n.d.).


Postby magicam » 06/30/05 11:42 PM

Many thanks, Ray. And yes, I've the info and am still waiting for your answer on my trade proposal. :D :D :D Did Thayer date your copy with month and day? Seems to be his habit based on input thus far. And your copy is the highest number as well. Would be interesting to hear from someone who has a copy number far closer to #2000. Clay

P.S. Welcome to Genii Forum. Your contributions will no doubt be a real plus. CHS
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Postby Guest » 07/01/05 04:52 PM


FYI. Newmann's "...A Dream that came true" also appeared in the Thayer Magic Catalog No. 8. It is copyrighted 1936. The section is six pages and contains 6 photos.

Best Regards,
Chuck Romano

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