Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Above is a photo of Harry Houdini standing next to the grave of Robert Heller (William Henry Palmer) the great Victorian Age Magician. He was buried in the Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia PA. Houdini discovered the grave after much searching. Within a few years after it's discovery the grave site had fallen into disrepair and SAM Assembly #4 in Philadelphia took it upon themselves to raise money to get the grave cleaned up. Apparently a similar thing happened about then years after that.
2011 marks the 133rd Anniversary of Heller's death/burial at Mt. Moriah and the condition of the grave area is apparently very overgrown and poorly maintained. Actually, for several years there has been NO work done to the cemetery at all. It's a disaster basically. It's a very large cemetery and along with Robert Heller is the famed historical seamstress Betsy Ross. A group called 'The Friends of Mt. Moriah' have come together and organized a number of clean up days. They are seeking volunteers and I have decided to help them and line up magicians to participate as well.
My goal is to clean up the Heller grave and surrounding plots. The date of October 8th has been set for this clean-up. If you are interested in participating, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add you to the list of people and will contact you via email with all the updates and information you'll need. You're help is certainly appreciated.
Below is a site which shows the condition of the cemetery today. There has been some cleanup since these photos were taken, but we are expecting something like this. http://www.abandonedbutnotforgotten.com/mount_moriah_cemetery,_abandoned.htm
I have to regretfully let you know that the Heller Project, the clean-up of Robert Heller's Grave in Philadelphia, is going to have to be postponed. Yours truly has a fever of 102. I've been sick all week and desperately trying to recover in time to make the 3 hour drive but it looks like I'm not going to be able to make it.
I've contacted everyone who gave me their email to let them know. I did state though that anyone who still felt they wanted to help the group 'Friends of Mt. Moriah' with their clean-up, which is still taking place, is more than welcome to go. OUR group was just going to be working on Hellers Grave. So I'm sure the other group could sure use the help if you feel so inclined.
My apologies to all. It's a delay, we'll get out there before too long and restore Heller's Gravesite to friendly and visitable location.
UPDATE 2014: Heller Grave Found!
The Friends of Mt. Moriah recently found the grave of Robert Heller and uprighted the grave stone which had fallen over. If you'd like to see what it looks like today, please visit my other site
Monday, August 22, 2011
This is the grave of Richiardi Sr. He was a Argentinian magician and the father to the famed Richiardi Jr.. He claimed that his father too was a magician. But it appears that his first job in the magic world was working as an assistant and builder for Ricardo Richardine Sr..
Richiardi Sr was killed in Atlanta Georgia 1937 in a car accident while on tour in the United States.
The grave is located in Greenwood Cemetery Atlanta, Georgia.
photo courtesy of “Levent Cimkentli Photo”
Levent is a working magician and a magic historian. His magic instructional DVDs are worth ten times what he charges (in my opinion). His articles on magic history have been featured in magazine and his book Cardini: The Suave Deceiver has received incredible praise by reviewers all over the magic world. His latest book on Richiardi Jr. is due out in 2011. To learn more about Levent Cimkentli, go to www.leventmagic.com
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Born on September 9th, 1869, Walter Truman Best was his real name but he changed his performing name to Edward Maro. He began his entertainment life as a musician, but later learned conjuring from Dr. A.M. Wilson.
Mike Caveney wrote about Maro in the September 2011 issue of MAGIC Magazine and a photo of his gravestone caught my eye! His tombstone is a 5.5 ton boulder which has a plaque mounted on it. Caveney mentions that he was buried in a family cemetery in St. Charles IL, but doesn't mention the name of the cemetery. Fortunately, other curious magic types have searched out the grave and discovered it's whereabouts. At the Chicagomagic blog, there is a photo of the gravestone on it's side. Apparently since that time, the stone has been lifted and a permanent cement foundation put in place to keep the boulder from falling over.
Edward Maro, the Prince of Magic died on February 26, 1908 of Typhoid Fever, he was only 39 when he died. He is buried in the North Cemetery in St. Charles IL. His is the only 5.5 ton boulder marking the grave so it's not difficult to find. In front of his grave are the graves of his wife and his mother. There are better photos of the grave at FindaGrave.com
To read an interesting article about the grave and why it looks as nice as it does today, check out this link http://saxo.dailyherald.com/article/20100917/News/309179941/ My friend Terry Evanswood, was instrumental in getting the large boulder reset. It's a great story.
A proper biography of Maro will appear at my Magic Detective Blog later in the year.
Friday, August 12, 2011
While doing research for Civil War era magicians, I came across a document which led me to the location of Samri Baldwin's grave.
He was born Samuel Spencer Baldwin on January 23, 1848 in Cincinnati Ohio. His interest in magic began when he witnessed a performance of the Davenport Brothers. He worked on duplicating their feats but the Civil War got in his way. He became the drummer for the 83rd Ohio Infantry Regiment. His regiment fought at the Siege at Vicksburg.
He continued working into his 70s. In 1921 he had a short lived spot in the Thurston Show. He had actually brought with him his trunk filled with all the treasures he had collected during his years of performing. Gifts given to him by General U.S. Grant, King George Bismarck, Emperor Franz Josef and a host of others. These rare treasures were to be a gift to Howard Thurston, but Baldwin and Thurston did not get along and Samri kept these treasures for his own. I assume they came into the possession of his daughter Blanche Baldwin. There whereabouts today are unknown.
He died on March 10, 1924 in San Francisco, CA. He is buried at The Presidio Cemetery also known as San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, Plot A, Section 655.