Henry Ridgely Evans (1861–1949) was an American amateur magician and magic historian.[1][2]

Henry Ridgely Evans
Occupation(s)Magician and psychical researcher

Biography edit

Evans worked in Baltimore, Maryland as a journalist and wrote books on conjurer tricks and magic. He has been described as a "great historian of the magic arts" and "an exemplary historian and biographer of magic".[1][3] He was a critic of spiritualism and theosophy and exposed the fraudulent tricks of mediums.[4]

Evans contributed to the book Magic Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography which received a positive review by the psychologist Joseph Jastrow.[5] Author William Lindsay Gresham described Evans book History of Conjuring and Magic (1928) as a "treasure house of data on magic, magicians, and productions."[6]

Correspondence with Harry Houdini edit

The magician Harry Houdini wrote that Evans book The Old and the New Magic was a notable book on the history of magic but he "falls into the error of his predecessors in accepting as authoritative the history of magic and magicians furnished by Robert Houdin. He has made no effort whatever to verify or refute the statements made by Robert-Houdin, but has merely compiled and re-written them to suit his twentieth-century readers."[7]

Houdini had originally planned to write a book known as History Makers in the World of Magic, however he gave up on this idea and handed over the material he had written to Evans who was also working on a similar book of his own. Houdini proposed that on the title page the book appeared "as originally planned by Harry Houdini & Henry R. Evans."[8] It is unclear if the book was ever published.[9]

Evans had worked on a scrapbook that contained matters dealing with spiritualism and trickery. He gave it to Houdini in 1924. It is now estimated to be worth over $35, 000.[10]

Publications edit

Evans with magician Milbourne Christopher.



References edit

  1. ^ a b Pritchard, William Thomas. (1958). This is Magic: Secrets of the Conjurer's Craft. Citadel Press. p. 112
  2. ^ Robenalt, James D. (2004). Linking Rings: William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America. Kent State University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0873388085
  3. ^ Coleman, Earle Jerome.(1987). Magic: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Press. p. 20
  4. ^ Fox, Irving P. (1898). The Spatula. The Spatula Publishing Company. p. 653
  5. ^ Jastrow, Joseph. (1897). Magic Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography by Albert A. Hopkins; Henry Ridgely Evans. Science, New Series, Vol. 6, No. 153. pp. 850-851.
  6. ^ Gresham, William Lindsay. (1959). Houdini: The Man who Walked Through Walls. Holt. p. 301
  7. ^ Houdini, Harry. (1908). The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. New York: Publishers Printing Co. p. 16
  8. ^ Silverman, Kenneth. (1996). Houdini!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 210
  9. ^ Who Was Henry Ridgely Evans? Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  10. ^ Houdini, Harry. Magic (Auction Catalogue). Manny Weltman Collection. New York: Swann Galleries, 2002.

External links edit