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: 1/14/19

Jan. 2-8: Hippodrome Theater, Bolton, UK. [1][8]
Jan. 9-15: Empire Theater, Nottingham, UK. [1][8]
➤ Wed., Jan. 11: Mrs. Flitcroft dies in Wisconsin. [15]
Jan. 16-22: Empire Theater, Birmingham, UK. [1][8]
Jan. 23-29: Empire Theater, Bradford, UK. [1][8]
Jan. 30-Feb. 5: Palace Theater, Hull, UK. [1][8]
➤ Fri., Feb. 3: Challenged by carpenters and joiners of George. H. Scorror company to escape packing case. [6]

Feb. 6-12: Empire Theater, Leeds, UK. [1][8]
➤ Thurs., Feb. 9: Challenged by Joshua Tetley & Son Brewers to escape Milk Can filled with beer. Houdini overcome by fumes. [6][8]
Feb. 13-19: Barnard's Palace Theater, Chatham, UK. [1][8]
➤ Houdini tied to a cannon challenge in Chatham. [8][10]
Feb. 20-26: [venue unknown], Rochester, UK. [8]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini photographed with police chief in Castle Gardens. Jail break here? [8]
Feb. 27-March 5:

March 6-12: Empire Palace, Sheffield, UK. [8]
March 13-19: Empire Theater (Queen Street), Cardiff, UK. [1][8]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini shows film of his Australian flights during act. [8]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini visits Charles O. Williams about construction of the Water Torture Cell. [1]
March 20-26:
March 27-April 2: Hippodrome Theater, Southend-on-Sea, UK. [1][6][8]
➤ Fri., March 31: Challenged by Joiners of F&E Davey to escape packing case made from Inch Timber. [6]

April 3-9: Palace Theater, Huddersfield, UK. [1][8]
➤ Thurs., April 6: Houdini celebrates 37th birthday. Photographed with (new?) dog "Bobby." [8]
April 10-16: Hippodrome, Portsmouth, UK. [8]
April 17-23: Palace Theater, Burnley, UK. [1][17]
➤ Fri., April 21: Bess writes to Hardeen: "Harry is worked to death, he looks so old, he is quite gray." [3][5]
April 24-30: Hippodrome Theater, Southhampton, UK. [1][8]
✪ ➤ Sat., April 29: One-time performance of playlet Challenged or Houdini Upside Down to copyright Water Torture Cell. [1]
➤ Sun., April 30: The Great Lafayette killed in theater fire in Edinburgh.

May 1-7: Empire, Swansea, UK. [8]
➤ Tues., May 2: Houdini receives his special license from the Lord Chamberlain of Great Britain for his Water Torture Cell play. [1][5]
May 8-14: Empire, Hackney, U.K [6][8]
➤ Wed., May 10: Challenged by Messrs. Waters Bros. to escape Milk Can filled with milk. [6]
➤ Sun., May 14: Houdini sends crew to film funeral of The Great Lafayette.
May 15-21: Empire, Finsbury Park, London, UK. [8]
✪ ➤ Fri., May 19: Houdini does a double packing box escape (box within a box).
May 22-28: New Cross Empire, London, UK. [1][8]
➤ Sat., May 27: Houdini elected president of The Magicians Club in Inaugural Meeting in the Crown Room of the Holborn Restaurant, London. [8]
May 29-June 4: Palace Theater, Halifax, UK. [1][8]
✪ ➤ Thurs., June 1: Houdini performs Double Fold Death Defying Mystery advertised as being "first time on any stage in any part of the world." [6][12]
➤ [n.d] Houdini photographed with dog Bobby, Dash, and Harry Hardeen, Jr. in front of Palace theater. [8]
➤ [n.d] Houdini does underwater handcuff escape at Whitegate canal lock at Siddal. [8]

June 5-11: Empire, Shepherd's Bush, London, UK. [1][8]
➤ Wed., June 7: Challenged by Coppers to escape from a Rum Punch Hickory Barrel after it has been "coppered" and "headed in."  [6]
June 12-18:
➤ Tues., June 13: Houdini sails for New York City aboard the Kronprinzessin Cecilie. [1]
June 19-25:
➤ Tues., June 20: Houdini arrives in New York City. [1]
June 26-July 2:
➤ Wed., June 28: Bess's sister Marie Rahner marries John Hinson. Houdini pays for wedding. [5][13]
➤ Sat., July 1: Variety reports that Houdini will "employ no handcuffs in his act" when he begins new tour on Sept. 4. [2]

July 3-9:
July 10-16:
July 17-22:
July 24-30:
➤ Mon., July. 24: Houdini, Gladys and family look for lost dog "Eric." Find him at end of day accidentally locked in closet. Houdini writes letter to Bess about it. [5][15]
July 31-Aug. 6:
➤ Tues., Aug. 1: Houdini copyrights playlet Challenged or Houdini Upside Down[14]

Aug. 7-13:
Aug. 14-20: Houdini attends Chicago International Aviation Meet in Grant Park, IL. [3][15]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini meets Orville Wright. [3]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini jumps shackled from airplane 50 ft into Lake Michigan. [3][16]-need a primary source
Aug. 21-27:
Aug. 28-Sept. 3:

Sept. 4-10: Orpheum Theater, Montreal, Canada. [1][6]
➤ Wed., Sept. 6: Houdini jumps handcuffed from the Wellington Street bridge into Lachine canal. [2]
➤ Fri., Sept. 8: Challenged by packers of W.H. Scroggie, Ltd. to escape from packing crate. [2]
Sept. 11-17: [Likely engagement in Providence, RI.]
➤ Tues., Sept. 12: Houdini jumps handcuffed from upper deck of Steamer Warwick into Providence river. [1]
Sept. 18-24: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][6][16]
➤ Fri., Sept. 22: Challenged by T Wharf Fishermen to be tied to an 8-foot plank "in true Sailor's fashion." Free in 17 mins. [6][16]
Sept. 25-Oct. 1: Keith's Theater, Boston MA. [1][2][16]
✪ ➤ Tues., Sept. 26: Challenged by Boston businessmen to escape from dead "Sea Monster" carcass onstage at Keith's Boston. [2][16]
➤ Fri., Sept. 29: Challenge from "Lunacy Attendants" to escape from "mummy-fashion" wet sheets and iron hospital bed. [2][16]

Oct. 2-8: Keith & Proctors 5th Avenue Theater, New York, NY. [1][2]
➤ Houdini is not in headline spot on bill for "first time in 28 years." Appears 6th on program. [2]
➤ Wed., Oct. 4: "Lunacy Attendants" challenge Houdini to escape from wet sheets. [2]
➤ Wed., Oct. 7: Houdini runs ad in Variety announcing he is not going to patent or copyright his Double Fold Death Defying Mystery. Also that he has given up Aviation. [2]
Oct. 9-15: Grand Theater, Syracuse, NY. [1]
Oct. 16-22: Shea's Theater, Buffalo, NY. [1][2]
➤ Tues., Oct. 17: Papers note Houdini no longer doing "the old, worn-out handcuff" act. Mention of Double Fold Mystery. [2]
➤ Wed., Oct. 18: Challenged by George Hansen of the Seamen's Union to escape seaman's bag. Free in 15 mins. "Swoons" into the arms of an attendant. [2]
Oct. 23-29: [venue unknown], Toronto, Canada. [1][5]
Oct. 30-Nov. 5: Temple Theater, Detroit, MI. [1][2]
➤ Tues., Oct. 31: Houdini performs "Halloween exhibition" at offices of The Free Press. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 1: Challenged by sail loft firm to escape straitjacket. Houdini writes that escape ruptured a blood vessel in his kidney. [2][5]
➤ Thurs., Nov. 2: Challenged by Detroit Creamery Co. to escape Milk Can filled with Milk. [2]

Nov. 6-12: Temple Theater, Rochester, New York, NY. [1][2]
Nov. 13-19: Grand Opera House, Pittsburgh, PA. [1][2]
➤ Turs., Nov. 14: Challenged by Independent Brewing Co. to escape Milk Can filled with beer. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 15: Challenged by shippers of Bogs & Buhl to escape packing case. Free in 8 mins. [2]
➤ Wed., Nov. 15: Houdini goes to Mercy Hospital for broken blood vessel. Doctors convince him to rest. [3]
Nov. 20-26: Houdini cancels Toledo engagement. Stays home in bed. [5]
➤ Mon., Nov. 20: Houdini writes to Will Goldstone: "I am taking a vacation laying on the broad of my back and doing some thinking." [5][9]
Nov. 27-Dec. 3: Houdini cancels Cleveland, OH engagement. [5]

Dec. 4-10: B.F. Keith's Theater, Columbus, OH. [1][10]
➤ [n.d.] Houdini drops straitjacket escape on doctor's orders. Temporarily brings back handcuff escapes. [11]
➤ Fri., Dec. 8: Houdini does 2 hour show called "A Night With the Spirits" at Masonic Hall in Prospect Park, PA. [2]
Dec. 11-17: B.F. Keith's Theater, Cincinnati, OH. [1][2]
Dec. 18-24: B.F. Keith's Theater, Louisville, KY. [1][2]
➤ Wed., Dec. 20: Challenged by local brewer to escape Milk Can filled with beer. [2]
➤ Thurs., Dec. 21: Challenged by mail clerk to escape mail pouch locked by government rotary lock. [2]
➤ Fri., Dec. 22: Challenged by Montenegro-Riehm Music Co. to escape from a Farrand-Cecilian Player-Piano box. Free in 18 mins. [2]
Dec. 25-31: B.F. Keith's Theater, Indianapolis, IN. [1][2]
➤ Wed., Dec. 27: Challenge from Indianapolis Brewing Co. to escape Milk Can filled with Liber's Special Brew. [2][5]

Primary Sources:
[1] Koval, Frank. The Illustrated Houdini Research Diary, Part 4: 1911 to 1915. Chadderton: 1993.
[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 (1911):
[8] Tait, Derek. The Great Houdini: His British Tours. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2017.
[9] Gresham, William Lindsay. Houdini: The Man Who Walked Through Walls. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1959.
[10] Hanosek, Joseph. Houdini!!! in Columbus, Ohio. Joseph Hanosek: 2015.
[11] Kalush, William, and Larry Sloman. The Secret Life of Houdini. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
[12] Randi, James, and Bert Randolph Sugar. Houdini: His Life and Art. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1977.
[13] Marie (Rahner) Hinson audio interview by Stanley Palm.
[14] Weltman, Manny. Houdini: A Definitive Bibliography. Van Nuys: Finders/Seekers Enterprises, 1990.
[15] Culliton, Patrick. Houdini The Key. Los Angeles: Kieran Press, 2010.
[16] Moulton, H. J. Houdini's History of Magic in Boston 1792-1915. Glenwood: Meyerbooks, 1983.
[17] Lead, Brian, and Roger Woods. Houdini The Myth Maker: The Unmasking of Harry Houdini. Brian Leads and Roger Woods, 1987.

© 2018 by John Cox. All rights reserved.

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