Magic posters...

One of my favorite family legends is that my great grandmother used to raise doves for Harry Houdini.  I like to imagine what it must have been like to be around in the heyday of mentalists, magicians and "spiritualists". It must have been pretty amazing to be a kid back in the 1920's before there were so many people were exposing the tricks of the trade. My imagination would have run wild.  I've always been facinated by magic tricks and remember being pretty freaked out as a kid watching the magicians do their tricks on TV( I still don't get that sawing people in half thing).

But alas, as for the modern magicians...well they are a bit too cheesy for me. I just can't do it. The style is just not right. (I'm talking about you, Criss Angel.) The "magic" is gone for me.

So, I must return to a time when the magician was king...Check out the incredible design of these vintage magic posters. I love the style and drama of each one of them. There is such beauty in the type and a kind of beautiful strangeness throughout each design. Some of them are pretty pulp in their imagery, and maybe even a bit erotic, which is always fun.  I love how the artists used bits of the surreal world by drawing all the spirits and devilish imps in the air. It's all pretty fantastic, don't you agree?

Handy Randy 1927, via flickr
Howard Thurston...Lovely bit of spiritualism via Shorpy
Alexander via

Harry Houdini circa 1895, via The Library of Congress

Little devils....The Great Carter

Lovely Harry Kellar poster from 1894
Another wonderful Keller Poster via Library of Congress
J.J. De Coligni and his assistant via Flickr

Hermann the Great

Most of these posters were made in the heyday of Vaudeville(about 18880's to 1930's).  I would love to truly credit the illustrators if these designs, but that information seems a bit scarce. Does anyone know who did the artwork for these posters? Thanks!

For more vaudeville/circus imagery of this time, check out this amazing website,