Herbert J. Collings performed his pseudo-Chinese act under the name Col Ling Soo. He was a successful performer and twice served as President of The Magic Circle, from 1928 – 1931 and from 1954 – 1958. This explains why on his letterhead he has crossed out the word ‘Past’ in front of the words ‘President of the Magic Circle’. 1955 was the Golden Jubilee for The Magic Circle. His letter tells us that he had a particularly busy week over the period of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. This item from the Chris Woodward Collection is included here with his kind permission. There is much more on this fascinating character in Ref. no. N2345, which contains Herbert J.’s illustrated ‘Smilestones: Recollections of Herbert J. Collings in his own words: 1898-1946’.

This is a promotional piece about Herr Schalkenbach, The Electric Musician, consisting of reviews of his performances at The Canterbury Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, May 1873. The date of the first review from ‘The Era’ is incorrect. It should be 4 May 1873. On page 1 of the item is a hand-written note that Schalkenbach was at the Egyptian Hall on 30 December 1876. George Jenness in his book on the Maskelynes at the Egyptian Hall also says that Schalkenbach was at the Hall over that Christmas.

The item on page 32 is headlined ‘King of Magic’s Command Show’. It describes a visit to the Putney Home for Incurables by members of The Magic Circle, at the invitation of David Devant. The article reported Devant’s view that ‘Conjuring has certainly not made the advance during the last twenty years that it should have done.’

Members of J.N. Maskelyne’s company presented the original of this testimonial, dated 26 May 1898, to JN. This particular copy is rather special because JN gave it to George Cooke for Christmas 1898. His inscription on the reverse is ‘To G.A. Cooke| Accept this copy with my [incomplete word, possibly ‘heartfelt’] reciprocation of the good wishes in the original. | J.N. Maskelyne | Christmas 1898.’

Page 2 of this item includes: ‘Patrons are respectfully requested to book their seats in advance to avoid disappointment’. This shows that the item is an advertising piece rather than a programme. Although this item is undated, the acts match those on the programme for December 1907. The first illustration shows the two inside pages, and the second shows the front and back of the item. The acts listed are Joad Heteb; Owen Clark; Barclay Gammon; ‘The Magical Master’ play; ‘Spectres of the Sanctum’ sketch.