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February 04, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-04

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" '- The MIhigan Daiy -eekd etC.Magazinde T ursdiy, Febrary 4, 1999

MAGIC
Continued from Page 28
The second floor, in addition to housing
more apparatus, accommodates the muse-
um's sizeable library. Totaling nearly
10,000 volumes, the bulk of Lund's
library includes tomes devoted solely to
conjuring. Many visitors are unaware that
the library includes volumes that make
only fleeting references to magic or magi-
cians. For example, a biography of Fatty
Arbuckle mentions Houdini, as it was
Harry Houdini who gave Arbuckle the
nick-name "Fatty."
Another portion of the second floor is
home to the collection of books about fic-
tional magicians. Horatio Alger novels
that include magicians as characters sit
side by side with more recent works like
"The Confessor" by John Gardener.
For seasoned visitors, the museum's
basement is the real source of fascination.

While material in the basement is not on
display, there are undoubtedly more items
stored there than in any other portion of
the building, including the library. A long
row of Steelcase filing cabinets occupies
much of the floor space in the basement.
Too many magic aficianadoes, their con-
tents are the most valuable commodity in
the entire building.
Alphabetically organized, the cabinets
hold files on thousands of magicians,
including all the information Lund had
ever gathered about a specific magician. If
he owned three or more pieces of paper
concerning a specific performer, amateur,
collector, or magic enthusiast, a file was
opened. Many of the museum's scrap-
books and larger files of correspondence,
ers are stored in apple boxes.
The rest of the basement serves as stor-
age for other major museum holdings.
These include one of the largest aggrega-
tions of magic sets in the world, several

illusions and a major collection of unique,
original typescript author's manuscripts of
various magic books.
Robert Lund passed away in 1995, at
the age of 70. His death was a serious
blow to the magic community - for near-
ly 50 years he had been regarded one of
the world's foremost authorities on the his-
tory of magic, not to mention an outstand-
ing writer. In "civilian life" Lund worked
as an editor of Motor, an automotive mag-
azine, and is the only writer to ever be
inducted into the Automotive Hall of
Fame. A confidant of magicians both big
and small, Lund shared the magic in his
life with all who were interested.
Robert Lund, with wife and partner
Elaine, put his heart and soul into the
museum. The couple worked
together with a tightly knit group of four
friends over a period of several years, to
restore the building that now houses the
collection, to its former glory. They
installed the displays and made the
American Museum of Magic part of their
lives by moving to Marshall not long after
the grand opening on April 1, 1975.
Elaine Lund runs the Museum, just as
she and Robert did together. It is open by
appointment and typically only available
to serious researchers and magicians.
Elaine Lund's vision of the future is far-
reaching -she plans for the institution to
outlive us all. For anyone fascinated in
conjuring and its remarkable history, the
American Museum of Magic is, and
always will be, the happiest place on earth.

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Houdini exhibits make up a sizeable portion of Museum displays. In the foreground
stands the great "self-liberator's" original "Milk Can" escape.

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