Happy holidays from the Library of Congress! With more than 155 million items in its collections, it’s no surprise that the institution could really celebrate the season all year, highlighting a variety of holiday-related items. We’ll deck the halls for the next several days featuring historical holdings from the nation’s library.
While this card,ca. 1935, may not have magically appeared in mailboxes, its recipients were receiving a bit of cheer from, as the card states, “the oldest living lady magician in the world.”
Beatrice “Bess” Rahner was a performer in her own right when she married Ehrich Weiss. Together they became the well-known couple Mr. and Mrs. Harry Houdini. In the early years of their marriage, they performed in full partnership on stage. Harry ultimately became the star of the show, and they both devoted themselves to his career. However, Beatrice knew and could practice the art of illusion and, as this card documents, she recognized her role as such.
Following Harry’s death Oct. 31, 1926, Bess moved to Hollywood to continue promoting her husband’s memory and legacy. In fact, she kept a full-time publicist on her payroll for 16 years after his death, just to keep his legend alive.