To Fellow Magic Collectors, Historians and Bibliophiles:
My friend Burt Sperber plans to publish a facsimile of the rare first edition of Henry Dean's The Whole Art of Legerdemain, or Hocus Pocus in Perfection, published in London in 1722. The reprint will be supplemented with an historical essay on Dean's book, and an updated bibliographical checklist of all known editions of his work, which will include photographs of the title pages and frontispieces of all entries. Another good friend, the esteemed Dr. Edwin A. Dawes, has kindly agreed to prepare the historical commentary. I will do the bibliographical work, and Byron Walker has generously offered access to his incredible collection of Deans, which is almost certainly the largest in public or private hands (over 30 variants).
Nearly all research projects of this kind benefit greatly from the assistance of fellow collectors and bibliophiles, and this project is certainly no exception. So I would appreciate hearing from any of you who own any editions of Deans book, using the entry numbers from Toole Stott's conjuring bibliography if possible; and of course, if any of your copies vary from those listed by Toole Stott, please let me know how they differ. For each entry in the updated checklist, we will note the owners (unless youd prefer to remain anonymous). There is no need to contact me if you own the 1983 Walter Graham reprint of the 1763 edition, or the 1886 Robertson reprint of the 1797 edition. Also, please note that the scope of the work relates only to editions which expressly attribute Henry Dean as the author. There were many conjuring chapbooks published with Hocus Pocus or The Whole Art of Legerdemain in their titles (especially in the early 19th century), and in fact many of these books plagiarized from Dean (who in turn had plagiarized the text of earlier conjuring books!), but at this time we are only interested in publications which expressly named Dean as the author.
Your assistance and input will surely help to improve the Dean checklist by making it more complete. You can contact me here or by PM (please provide your e-mail address in the PM).
With many thanks in advance from me and Burt for your assistance,