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Historical Essay

Magician's Escape Trunk

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Escape trunk, restraining devices, and curtain used by magician Ben Bergor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum objects #1982.159.17,19,21,23,25)

Date: 1914 

Description: Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz in Hungary and raised as Erich Weiss in Appleton, Wisconsin, preparing to do one of his famous escapes, this time from a sub...

Photograph

Off to the Trenches

Date: 1918-05-05 

Description: Send off for World War I recruits at the railroad station. The man leaning out of the train window is Ben Bergor, a professional magician and vaudeville pe...

Photograph

Ben Bergor Performs

Date:  date unknown

Description: Magician Ben Bergor of Madison performing a trick on stage. With him are his wife, who performed as Madame Alva, and an assistant.

Date: 1950 ca.

Description: Inside spread of flyer for an International Harvester free family party for friends and customers. The event was at Turner Hall in Columbia, Illinois, was...

Date: 1910 ca.

Description: Ben Goldenberger and his sister Olivia face each other over a small table. There is a menorah on the bookcase in the background. Ben would later change his...

Photograph

Joe Berg

Date:  date unknown

Description: Joe Berg, a professional magician and magic dealer, who was based in Chicago. This autographed picture was presented to Ben Bergor, a Madison area magician...

Date:  date unknown

Description: Madison magician Ben Bergor standing in front of the Leota Theatre. Bergor was born Ben Goldenberger, first performed in Vaudeville as Bennie Golden Berger...

Date:  

Description: Letterhead of Ring 31 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, with the seal of the IBM and a cartoon by Wayne D. Peterson (?) of Ben Bergor with a r...

Spirits Lead a Woman to Fortune

Morris Pratt was a well known psychic medium whose legacy is his eponymous spiritualist institution in Whitewater, known locally as "Pratt's Folly."

Photograph

Houdini, Harry

Date:  date unknown

Description: Harry Houdini in chains and ropes. He is tied to a wheel on a locomotive.

Date:  date unknown

Description: Magicians Dave (left) and Pauline Coleman performing their famous "Hindu Torture Board" trick using an anvil on a board full of nails positioned on the abd...

Date: 1920 

Description: Escape artist Harry Houdini being tortured by cannibals in the silent film "Terror Island." Like the other films in which Houdini stared, the plot was desi...

Book or Pamphlet

"Big Stage Show" Flyer Front

Date: 1950 ca.

Description: Front of flyer announcing an International Harvester free family party for friends and customers. "No selling"

Photograph

Dorny Dornfeld

Date: 1929 ca.

Description: Quarter-length studio portrait of Werner "Dorny" Dornfeld, a Chicago area magician who was a leader in several national organizations of magicians. The "Be...

Photograph

Houdini in Chains

Date: 1919 

Description: Harry Houdini in a scene from the silent motion picture, "The Grim Game."

Date: 1922 

Description: Quarter-length publicity portrait of renowned escape artist Harry Houdini.

Photograph

Ventriloguism Act

Date:  date unknown

Description: Ben Bergor, Madison magician, ventriloquist, and entertainment agent, performing with Jerry O'Reilly at a farm show. With Bergor is his wife Alva who often...

Date:  date unknown

Description: Letterhead of Ring 31 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, with the seal of the IBM and its name as segments of a scrolling banner.

Print

Dell O'Dell

Date:  date unknown

Description: Advertising brochure for Dell O'Dell, one of a few professional female magicians.

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