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: 2/16/19

Dec. 31- Jan. 6: Keith's New Theater, Philadelphia, PA. [2]
➤ Jan. 4: Challenge from University of Pennsylvania football team to escape from a giant football. [1][2][4]
Jan. 7-13: Keith's Theater, Boston, MA. [2][4][14]
➤ Mon., Jan. 7: Diary entry: "Gee whiz! Another ice bath. They want to see me earn my money." [7][8]
➤ Wed., Jan. 9: Diary entry: "Took cold bath, 49 deg." [7][8]
➤ Thus., Jan. 10: Diary entry: "Took cold bath, 48 deg. Doctor stops ice bath." [7][8]
➤ Sun., Jan. 13: Houdini gives private show at the Boston Athletic Association. Escapes challenge casket made by the National Casket Co. in 58 mins. [2]
Jan. 14-20: Keith’s Theater, Boston, MA. [4][14]
➤ Jan. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 5 published.
➤ Wed., Jan. 16: Diary entry: "Cold bath, 40 deg. Gee, it's cold." [7][8]
➤ Fri., Jan. 18: Diary entry: "Taking icy baths to get ready for bridge jump. Water about 36 deg." [7][8]
➤ Fri., Jan. 18: Challenged by Gilchrist Company to escape packing case built on stage. [2]
➤ Sun., Jan. 20: Challenged by Pittsburg Glass Co. to escape a plate glass box. [6]
Jan. 21-27: Keith's Theater, Boston, MA. [1][4][14]
➤ Thurs., Jan. 24: Challenged by W. L. Douglas Shoe Company to escape from a specially made leather bag. Free in 23 mins. [2][6]
➤ Fri., Jan. 25: Private challenge from 13 members of the Somerset club held at home of J.S. Fay Jr. at 169 Commonwealth Ave. Houdini bound with cord and fishline. Takes 1 hour and 45 mins to bind him. Escapes in 1 hour 13 mins. Wins $500. [2]
➤ Fri., Jan. 25: Challenged by Henry Siegel Company to escape a roped packing case within a packing case. Free in 20 mins. [2]
Jan. 28-Feb. 3: Keith's Theater, Pawtucket, RI. [2][12]

Feb. 4-10: Keith's Theater, Pawtucket, RI. [2][12]
Feb. 11-17: Keith's Theater, Boston, MA. "Challenge Week." [2][12][14]
➤ Mon., Feb. 11: Challenged by Riverside boiler works in Cambridge to escape a riveted iron boiler. Free in 7 mins. [2][14]
➤ Fri., Feb. 15: Challenged by Dr. J. E. Wait of the Boston Athletic Association to escape a plate glass box made by Charles Marston. Free in 36 mins. [2]
➤ Feb. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 6 published.
➤ Sun., Feb. 17: Challenged by Derby Desk Company to escape from a locked roll top desk. [14]
Feb. 18-24: Maryland Theater, Baltimore, MD. [2]
➤ Wed., Feb. 20: Houdini does "new trick" of being handcuffed and bound "spread eagle" to a wooden door laid across two tables. [2]
Feb. 25-March 3: Maryland Theater, Baltimore, MD. "Challenge Week." [2]
➤ Mon., Feb. 25: Needle Trick and handcuffs at matinee. Packing Case built on stage in evening. [2]
➤ Tues., Feb. 26: Asylum straitjacket and handcuffs at matinee. Crazy Crib and handcuffs in evening. [2]
➤ Wed., Feb. 27: 500 foot rope challenge at matinee. Escape from Douglas Leather Mail Pouch in evening. [2]
➤ Thurs., Feb. 28: Needle Trick and The Witches Pillory at matinee. Iron Hamper escape and handcuffs in evening. [2]
➤ Fri., March 1: Nailed, chained and handcuffed to door at matinee. Escape from Blackwell's Island straitjacket in evening. [2]
➤ Sat., March 2: Iron-Bound Willow Hamper escape and handcuffs at matinee. "Time-record escape" from full length straitjacket in evening. [2]
➤ Sat., March 2: Challenged by Deputy Sheriff Noah Walker to escape handcuffs on a leather belt behind his back. [2]

March 4-10: Valentine Theater, Toledo, OH. [1]
March 11-17: Valentine Theater, Toledo, OH. [1]
➤ Fri., March 15: Challenged by Marine Boiler Works to be riveted inside a hot water boiler. [6]
➤ March 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 7 published.
March 18-24: Keith's Theater, Columbus, OH. [1][2][10]
March 25-31: Chase's Theater, Washington, D.C. Advertised as "Farewell" to city before Houdini returns to Europe. 12 challenges in one week. [1][2]
➤ Mon., March. 25: Houdini refutes claims of Prof. Maurice Joyce that he colludes on his packing case challenges by escaping Kann, Son & Co. packing case made on stage (10 mins) and Killian paper bag (17 mins). [2]
➤ Tues., March. 26: Houdini escapes woven iron crate. [2]

April 1-7:
➤ Sat., April 6: Houdini celebrates 33rd birthday.
April 8-14: Keith and Proctor's 125th St. Theater, New York, NY. [2][6]
➤ Fri., April 12: Challenged by Brill Brothers to escape packing case built on stage. [6]
April 15-21: Keith and Proctor's 125th St. Theater, New York, NY. [1]
➤ April. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 8 published.
April 22-28: Orpheum Theater (Fulton St. near Flatbush Ave), Brooklyn, NY. [2]
April 29-May 5: Keith and Proctor's 58th Street Theater, New York, NY. [1][2]
➤ Fri., May 3: Challenged by Bloomingdale's to escape packing case. [1]

May 6-12: Cook Opera House, Rochester, NY. [2]
✪ ➤ Tues., May 7: Houdini jumps handcuffed from Weighlock Bridge (near Court St.) into Erie Canal, Rochester, NY. First filmed outdoor stunt. [2]
✪ ➤ Wed., May 8: Film of Houdini's bridge jump shown at Cook Opera House. [2]
➤ Thurs., May 9: Houdini roped to chair by sailors challenge. [2]
May 13-19: Keith and Proctor's 23rd Street Theater, New York, NY [2]
➤ May 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 9 published.
May 20-26: Davis' Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, PA. [1][2]
➤ Mon., May 20: Houdini's dog Charlie goes missing. [2]
➤ Mon., May 20: Challenge from former superintendent of West Penn Hospital Charles S. Howell to escape a "Crazy Crib." [2]
➤ Tues., May 21: Houdini does test jump from Seventh St. bridge (45 ft). [2]
➤ Wed., May 22: Houdini jumps manacled from Seventh St. bridge into Allegheny river. Stunt filmed. [2]
➤ Thurs., May 23: Challenged by shippers of the Boston Store to escape packing case. Free in 13 mins. [2]
May 27-June 2: Davis' Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, PA. [1][2]
➤ Houdini receives raise of $2,500 for his two weeks in Pittsburgh for turning down $1,500 offer to play Nixon Theater for Klaw & Erlanger circuit this week. [2]
➤ Wed., May 29: Challenged by Joseph Horne & Co. to escape packing case built on stage. Free in 14 mins. [2]
➤ Thurs., May 30: Challenged by Penn Paper Box Co. to escape paper box without breaking box or seals. [2]
➤ Fri., May 31: Challenged by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company to escape glass box. [2]

June 3-9:
➤ June. 8: Variety reports Houdini has signed $70,000 contact with United Booking Office for 40 weeks. Contract allows him to sell his merchandise in theaters. [2]
June 10-16: Union Square Theater, New York, NY. [2]
➤ June. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 10 published.
June 17-23: Union Square Theater, New York, NY. [2]
June 24-30: Variety reports Houdini "lays off" this week "for the first time in a long while." [2]

July 1-7:
July 8-14:
July 15-21:
➤ July 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 11 published.
➤ Sat., July 20: Houdini finishes writing The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. [7]
July 22-28:
July 29-Aug. 4:

Aug. 5-11:
Aug. 12-18:
➤ Aug. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 1, No. 12 published.
➤ Fri., Aug. 16: Houdini meets Dash returning from Europe aboard Teutonic. Papers play up rivalry. [2]
Aug. 19-25:
Aug. 26-Sept. 1: Orpheum Theater (Ellis St. near Fillmore), San Francisco, CA. [1][2]
➤ Wed., Aug. 28: Houdini leaps manacled into San Francisco bay from pier at foot of Washington St. [2]

Sept. 2-8: Orpheum Theater (Ellis St), San Francisco, CA. [1][2]
➤ Sun. Sept. 8: Challenged by sailors to escape rope tie "in Scientific Fashion." Free in 16 mins. [2]
Sept. 9-15: Orpheum Theater (Ellis St), San Francisco, CA. [1][2]
➤ Rival Brindamour plays Princess Theater next door to Orpheum this week. [1][2]
➤ Fri. Sept. 13: Challenged by the Coulter Rattan Co. to escape iron-bound hamper. [2]
➤ Sept. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 2, No. 1 published.
Sept. 16-22: Orpheum Theater (Spring St between 2nd & 3rd), Los Angeles, CA. [2]
➤ Fri. Sept. 20: Challenged by the Bon Marche Store to escape from a packing case. J.H. Hale Co. absorbed store and takes up challenge. Free in 8 mins. [2]
➤ Sun. Sept. 22: Los Angeles police manacle Houdini with more than 100 pounds of irons. Free in 8 mins. [2]
Sept. 23-29: Orpheum Theater (Spring St between 2nd & 3rd), Los Angeles, CA. [2]
➤ Sat. Sept. 28: Houdini jumps handcuffed from the roof of Pavilion at Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park) in Los Angeles, CA. [2]
Sept. 30-Oct. 6: Orpheum Theater (Spring St), Los Angeles, CA. [2]
➤ Tues., Oct. 1: Sailors rope tie challenge at matinee. Packing case challenged by the Hamburger store in evening. [2]
➤ Fri., Oct. 4: Challenged by postal workers to escape a mail bag. Billed as "Houdini vs. Uncle Sam." If he fails he will need to be carried to post office to be unlocked. [2]

Oct. 7-13: Grand Theater (Fifth St.), San Diego, CA (7th, 8th, 9th). [2][9]
➤ Mon., Oct. 7: Houdini dives handcuffed into San Diego Bay from Spreckle's Wharf at G Street. [5][9]
Oct. 14-20: Orpheum Theater, Denver, CO. [1][2][6]
➤ Oct. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 2, No. 2 published.
Oct. 21-27: Orpheum Theater, Denver, CO. [2]
➤ Sat. Oct. 26: Leopold Weiss attacked by intruder inside 278. [2][11]
Oct. 28-Nov. 3:
➤ Fri., Nov. 1: Short story Dan Cupid -- Magician by Houdini published in Buffalo Evening News. [2]

Nov. 4-10: Orpheum, Kansas City, MO. [1][2]
➤ Hardeen appears at rival Shubert theater this week. [2]
Nov. 11-17: St. Charles Orpheum, New Orleans, LA. [1][2]
➤ Thurs., Nov. 14: Challenged by local firm to escape packing case while shackled in "old-fashioned slave chains." [2]
➤ Nov. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 2, No. 3 published. Advertises The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin.
➤ Sun., Nov. 17: Houdini dives shackled into Mississippi River from gang plank of Steamer "J.S." at foot of Canal Street in heavy rain. [2][6]
Nov. 18-24: St. Charles Orpheum, New Orleans, LA. [1][2]
Nov. 25-Dec. 1:

Dec. 2-8: Majestic Theater (Monroe near State St.), Chicago, IL. [2]
➤ Wed., Dec. 4: Dan Cupid -- Magician by Houdini published in The Argus. [2]
➤ Fri., Dec 6: Houdini's jump from Wells Street bridge stopped by police for lack of permit. [2]
Dec. 9-15: Majestic Theater, Chicago, IL. [1][2][6]
➤ Fri., Dec. 13: Challenged by Hogan Envelope Company to escape from a giant envelope. [6]
➤ Sun., Dec. 15: Houdini eats dinner at Roterberg's following matinee. Has spaghetti, roast beef, mashed potatoes, coffee and lady fingers in cream. Writes love letter to Bess after. [5]
➤ Dec. 15: Conjurers' Monthly Magazine Vol. 2, No. 4 published.
Dec. 16-22: Majestic Theater, Chicago, IL. [1]
➤ Hermann The Great also on Majestic bill this week.
✪ ➤ Tue., Dec. 17: Does trial run of Milk Can escape without water. [11]
➤ Wed., Dec. 18: Escapes shackles and sack in water tank during show at Illinois Athletic club. [2]
➤ Wed., Dec. 18: Houdini writes letter to Mrs. Flitcroft in Delavan, WI. [5][13]
Dec. 23-29: New Grand Theater, Indianapolis, IN. [1][2]
➤ Tues., Dec. 24: Houdini escapes shackles at U.S. marshal's office. [2]
Dec. 30-Jan. 5: New Grand Theater, Indianapolis, IN. [1][2]

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 letter, cable, contract or signed item.
[6] Original pitchbook, program, playbill or poster.
[7] Houdini diary.
✪ Denotes a first or possible first.

Additional Sources (1907):
[8] Kellock, Harold. Houdini His Life Story, New York: Hardcourt & Brace, 1927.
[9] Crawford, Richard. The Way We Were in San Diego. The History Press, 2011.
[10] Hanosek, Joseph. Houdini!!! in Columbus, Ohio. 2015
[11] Kalush, William, and Larry Sloman. The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
[12] Gary Hunt.
[13] Yadon, Gordon. Houdini Came to Delavan at age 12. Mystifier, 2nd Quarter 1994. The Houdini Historical Center.
[14] Moulton, H. J. Houdini's History of Magic in Boston 1792-1915. Glenwood: Meyerbooks, 1983.

© 2018 by John Cox. All rights reserved.

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