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E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.
The March 2022 issue included:
– the launch of the Films Category and the Davenport Film Collection YouTube Channel.
– Ali Bongo version of the Gozinta Box with a double load.
– “Humpty Dumpty” children’s paper tearing trick.
– Devant’s early performing career.
– the staying power of traditional toys and novelties.
– “Shanroy” Scenery from The Servais Le Roy Company.
– an 1889 letter from J.N. Maskelyne and an unresolved issue

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

The transcript of this letter is:
May 9 1896
Dear Sir
I have considered the question of purchasing your collection of Playing Cards and have decided not to do so. I may however hear of someone who would like such a collection, and if I do I will put the matter before him.
Yours very truly
J.N. Maskelyne
H. Evanion Esqr.

It would appear that this letter was once in the Jimmy Findlay Collection. Jim Hagy mentions in his book on Evanion that: ‘Findlay possessed in his collection a letter from Maskelyne to Evanion dated May 9, 1896 declining to purchase the latter’s playing card collection’. (Early English Conjuring Collectors: James Savren and Henry Evanion by James Hagy, Second Edition published in 2020 by Reginald Scot Books, Glenview, USA, page 72.) Jim’s excellent book is the place to go to for information on Evanion.

The transcript of this letter is:
June 19. 1889
Dear Sir
I shall be glad to inspect your collection a little later on. Just now I am exceedingly busy with machines for the Paris Exhibition.
I have much matter concerning androids.
Yours very truly
J.N. Maskelyne
H. Evanion Esq.

Maskelyne’s letter is to Henry Evanion, a major collector of paper ephemera, including much relating to magicians. For information on Evanion see Early English Conjuring Collectors: James Savren and Henry Evanion by James Hagy, Second Edition published in 2020 by Reginald Scot Books, Glenview, USA.

Some of the 1890-1891 Egyptian Hall programmes for the Maskelyne and Cooke shows include an advertisement for Maskelyne’s Mechanical Cashier & Book-Keeper on the back page. The example illustrated here is from Ref. no. N2012. According to the advertisement it ‘Beat all competitors at the Paris Exhibition, receiving the highest award given for cash registering apparatus’. The illustration includes the words ‘Silver Medal, Paris 1889’. It is likely that Maskelyne’s letter to Evanion refers to the work needed to prepare these machines for the Exhibition.

The curator of this website is currently trying to confirm that Maskelyne really did win the Silver Medal. This is necessary because J.N. Maskelyne’s claims cannot always be taken at face value. A search by the National Library of France confirmed that M. Maskelyne of Manchester did submit a cash register (details here) but was unable to find information relating to the medals awarded.

The wand came with a tag saying ‘Evanion’s wand’. In the collection is a copy of a letter from Cambridge magician Claude Perry saying that the wand came to him from Stanley Thomas. From Claude it passed to his good friend David Cridland, who gave it to the Davenport Collection. Unfortunately we have no information on why Stanley Thomas believed it to be Evanion’s wand. Peter Lane had the thought that the link between Evanion and Stanley Thomas could have been Arthur Margery.