The New Houdini Chronology documents every week of Houdini's life with known performances and notable events. On this page you can view a rotation of sample years as I continue to build on it. My plan is to eventually offer the complete chronology as a book. I hope you'll find this a useful reseach tool and enjoy the previews!


Weeks run Monday to Sunday.
Last update: 2/9/19

Jan. 1-7: Chase's Theater (1424 Pennsylvania Ave.), Washington D.C. [1][2]
➤ Mon., Jan. 1: Houdini escapes jail cell No. 3 at 10th Precinct Station. [2]
➤ Thurs., Jan. 4: Houdini reportedly visits the White House "for the purpose of asking the President to allow him to try at the great vaults of the Treasury." Does not see President. [2]
➤ Sat., Jan. 6: Houdini escapes Charles J. Guiteau's Murderers Row cell at United States Jail. Moves all prisoners from cell to cell. [2]
Jan. 8-14: Keith's Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [2]
➤ Mon., Jan. 8: Houdini escapes Philadelphia jail cell. Nude test. Testimonial provide by Jas. J. Donaghy, Captain of Detectives. [6]
Jan. 15-21: Keith's Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [1][2]
➤ Thurs., Jan. 18: Challenge by "attendants of two of the largest hospitals for the insane in Philadelphia" to escape from straitjacket. [2]
➤ [n.d.] Challenge by N. Snellenburg & Co. packers to escape from packing case. Free in 15 mins. [2]
Jan. 22-28: Keith's Theater, Philadelphia , PA. [2]
➤ Fri., Jan. 26: Challenged by Louis V. Wolf to escape custom made handcuffs weighing 15 pounds. Forty-five minute struggle. [2]
Jan. 29-Feb. 4: Keith's 14th St. Theater (58 East 14th Street), New York, NY. [1][2]
➤ Sun., Feb. 4: "Houdini Reveals Card Slights" article published in New York World.

Feb. 5-11: Keith's 14th St. Theater, New York, NY. [2]
➤ Keith's advertises that Houdini will do a straitjacket escape at every performance. [2]
➤ Wed., Feb. 7: Challenged by Brill Brothers Union Square to escape dry-goods packing case. Free in 10 mins. [2]
Feb. 12-18: Opera House, Lowell, MA. [6]-need secondary source for city.
➤ Wed., Feb. 14: Challenged by Otis Allen & Son Box Manufacturers to escape packing case. [6]
Feb. 19-25: Keith's Theater, Providence, RI. [1]
➤ Mon., Feb. 19: Escapes Providence jail cell and three pairs of handcuffs. Nude test. Receives testimonial from Peter B. Cannon, Captain of Detective Bureau. [6]
Feb. 26-March 4: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Fri., March. 2: Challenged by Henry Siegel Co. to escape packing case. Free in 18 mins. [2]

March 5-11: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Fri., March. 9: Challenge by a six person committee to escape from a close-woven wicker hamper locked and roped. Escapes takes 62 mins. Houdini tells reporter it was "the hardest of all his tests." [2]
March 12-18: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
March 19-25: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Mon., March 19: Houdini escapes jail cell and scales wall at Boston Tombs (Somerset Street) in 16 mins. [2]
➤ Mon., March 19: Houdini re-challenged to escape handcuffs after cabinet is searched and assistants made to stand away. [2]
➤ Tues., March 20: Houdini performs for students at Harvard Union. Tied in 60 feet of rope. Free in 12 mins. Students "fought for pieces of rope as souvenirs." [2]
➤ Sun., March 25: Private performance at Boston Athletic Association. Performs escapes and magic. [1][2][4]
March 26-April 1: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Houdini does Prison Cell and Barrel Mystery this week. [2][10]
➤ Fri., March 30: Challenge by Philip Broomfield and Co to escape from a "Witch's Chair" (a.k.a. Maine Tramp Chair). Ordeal takes hour and 24 mins. [2]
➤ Short film Houdini Defeats Hackenschmidt is shown at Keith's during this week. [8][11]

April 2-8: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Fri., April 6: Houdini celebrates 32nd birthday. (Papers report it as his 33rd birthday.)
➤ Fri., April 6: Challenged by C.U. Thomas Co. to escape from packing case built on stage. Free in 43 mins. Presented with a Tiffany pocket watch on-stage by B.F. Keith's manger H. D. Dupeee. [2]
April 9-15: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][10]
➤ Wed., April 11: Houdini accepts challenge that will involve him "suspended in mid-air" on Keith's stage, but nature of challenge in unknown. [2]
➤ Sun., April 15: Houdini performs at Keith's benefit "in Aid of the Suffers from the Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius." [2]
April 16-22: Salem Theater, Salem, MA. (16th, 17th, 18th) / Hartford Opera House, Hartford CT (19th, 20th, 21st) - Houdini Company. [2][1][4]
➤ Houdini begins touring with his own roadshow company on the Stair & Havlin circuit. Features: the Zancigs, the Kita Banza Troupe, Miss Anna Chadler, and the Altheat Twins. [2]
➤ Mon., April 16: Houdini escapes jail at 15 Front Street police station in Salem, MA in 16 mins. [2]
➤ Wed., April 18: The great San Fransisco earthquake and fire.
➤ Sat., April 21: Challenged by Wise, Smith & Co. to escape from packing case at Hartford Opera House. [2]
April 23-29: Blaney's Theater, Newark, NJ - Houdini Company. [1][2]
➤ Mon., April 23: Houdini escapes jail at Newark police headquarters in 11 mins. [2]
April 30-May 6: Auditorium Theater, Baltimore, MD - Houdini Company. [1][2][4]
➤ Wed., May 2: Challenged by Stewart's Department Store to escape packing case. [2]
➤ [n.d.] Challenged by Elite Laundry to escape wicker hamper. [9]

May 7-13 American Theater (42nd & 8th St.), New York, NY - Houdini Company. [1][2][4]
➤ Wed., May 9: Challenged by physicians to escape straitjacket from Blackwell's Island. Must be done in full view of audience. [6]
➤ Sat., May 12: Challenged by packers from The Fourteenth Street Store to escape from packing case. [2]
May 14-20: West End Theater (125th St. near 8th Ave.), New York, NY - Houdini Company. [2][4]
May 21-27:
May 28-June 3:

June 4-10:
June 11-17:
June 18-24:
June 25-July 1

July 2-8:
July 9-15:
July 16-22:
July 23-29:
July 30-Aug. 5:
➤ Fri. Aug. 3: Houdini visits Appleton. Backs out of challenge from Outagamie jail, saying it is escape-proof. [2]

Aug. 6-12:
✪ ➤ Fri., Aug. 10: The Right Way to Do Wrong "just published" in UK. [2]
Aug. 13-19:
Aug. 20-26:
Aug. 27-Sept. 2:

Sept. 3-9: Keith & Proctor's Union Square, New York, NY. [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 6: Houdini escapes jail at Yorkville police court. Watched through peephole. [2]
Sept. 10-16: Keith & Proctor's Union Square, New York, NY. [2]
✪ ➤ Sept. 15: First issue of Houdini's Conjurers' Monthly Magazine published.
Sept. 17-23: Chase's Theater, Washington, D.C. [1][2]
➤ Wed., Sept. 19: Houdini escapes "the most difficult handcuffs ever used to challenge him." [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 20: Challenged by Killian & Co. to escape sealed paper bag without tearing bag. Free within 10 mins. [2]
➤ Fri., Sept. 21: Challenged by S. Kann, Sons & Co. to escape packing crate. Free in 16 minutes. Store displays box in window. [2]
➤ Sat., Sept. 22: Again challenged by Killian & Co. to escape sealed paper bag without tearing bag. Free in 15 minutes.[2]
Sept, 24-30: Chase's Theater, Washington, D.C. [2]
➤ Tues., Sept. 25: Challenged by Saks & Co. to escape packing case constructed on stage. Free in 29 minutes. [2]
➤ Wed., Sept. 26: Challenged with Blackwell's Island Asylum straitjacket with leg bag and ropes. [2]
➤ Thurs., Sept. 27: Houdini escapes "rope imprisonment in a chair." [2]
➤ Fri., Sept. 28: Challenged by William Knabe & Co. to escape zinc-lined and screw fastened piano case. Free in 57 minutes. Emerges exactly at midnight. [2]

Oct. 1-7: Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, PA. [1][2]
➤ Mon., Oct. 1: Challenged by Pittsburgh and Allegheny country prison officials to escape prisoner irons, including cuffs that held "Shoebox" Miller. Police occupy four boxes in theater. [2]
➤ Thurs., Oct. 4: Houdini escapes shackles and cell at Allegheny Central Station. Swaps prisoner in cell. [2]
➤ Thurs., Oct. 4: Challenged by Kaufmann Bros. to escape from packing case. Free in 14 mins. [2]
Oct. 8-14: Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, PA. [2]
➤ Wed., Oct. 10: Challenged by Regal Shoe Company to escape packing case constructed on stage. Free in 19 mins. [2]
➤ Sat., Oct. 13: Houdini gives three "Farewell Performances" at Grand. [2]
Oct. 15-21: Columbia Orpheum Theater, Cincinnati, OH. [1][2]
➤ Mon., Oct. 15: Escapes Cincinnati jail cell and three pairs of handcuffs. Nude test. Receives testimonial from Paul M. Milliken, Chief of Police: "Exhibitions of a similar character have been given at these Headquarters, but never so complete and artistic. Mr. Houdini is a wonder in this line." [6]
➤ Mon., Oct. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 2 published.
Oct. 22-28: Columbia Orpheum Theater, Cincinnati, OH. [1]-need secondary source.
Oct. 29-Nov. 4: Shea's Theater, Buffalo, NY. [2]

Nov. 5-11: [venue unknown], Toronto, Canada. [5]
➤ Sun., Nov. 11: Houdini escapes jail cell in Central Police Station (Lt. Andy Rohan), Chicago, IL. [6]
Nov. 12-18: Majestic Theater, Chicago, IL. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 14: Challenged by Mandel Brothers "Expert Packers" to escape packing case. [6]
➤ Nov. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 3 published.
Nov. 19-25: Majestic Theater, Chicago, IL. [1][2]
Nov. 26-Dec. 2: Temple Theater, Detroit, MI. [1][2]
➤ Mon., Nov. 26: Houdini struggles for hour and a half in tempered with handcuffs. Bess leaves stage in tears. [2][4]
➤ Tues., Nov. 27: Houdini jumps handcuffed from the Belle Isle Bridge into Detroit River. [2]
➤ Tues., Nov. 27: Challenged by Goldberg Bros. to escape packing case. Free in 9 mins. [2]
➤ Fri. Nov. 30: Challenged by Regal Shoe Co. to escape roped hamper. Also wearing challenge cuffs brought on stage by 15-year-old Ollie Border. [2]

Dec. 3-9: Cook Opera House, Rochester, NY. [2]
Dec. 10-16: Valentine Theater, Toledo, OH. [1][6]
➤ Dec. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 4 published.
Dec. 17-23: Keith's New Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [2][6]
➤ Fri., Dec. 21: Challenged by the Acker Co. to escape packing case. [2]
Dec. 24-Dec 30: Keith's New Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [1][6]
➤ Wed., Dec. 26: Challenged by the Charles Beck Paper Co. to escape hand-sewed paper bag with wired seems and wax seals. [2]
Dec. 31- Jan. 6: Keith's New Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [2][6]

Primary Sources:
[1] Koval, Frank. The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary, Part 3: 1906 to 1910. Chadderton: 1992.
[2] Original newspaper story or advertisement via or other archival source.
[3] Silverman, Kenneth. Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[4] Christopher, Milbourne. Houdini The Untold Story. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1969.
[5] Original Houdini letter, cable, contract or signed item.
[6] Original pitchbook, program, playbill, pressbook or poster.
[7] Houdini diary.
✪ Denotes a first or possible first.

Additional Sources (1906):
[8] Solomon, Matthew. Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini, and the New Magic of the Twentieth Century. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2010. 
[9] David London, Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini (exhibition)
[10] Moulton, H. J. Houdini's History of Magic in Boston 1792-1915. Glenwood: Meyerbooks, 1983.
[11] F.J. O'Connor "Boston Show week of March 26, 1906" Managers' Report Books, vol. 4, 224, Keith/Albee Collections, University of Iowa Library.

© 2018 by John Cox. All rights reserved.

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