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Topic: Eugene Laurant
Message: Posted by: gfajuri (Jan 5, 2005 08:00AM)
Hello All,

In an effort to bring my research into the life of Eugene Laurant to a close, I am posting a quick note here asking for help. I've gathered a complete picture of his life thus far, however, odd facts and interesting sidelights always come out AFTER a project is published. I'd like to keep the "hey, did you know about such and so" comments to a minimum, post-publication.

As such, if anyone reading the Forum has Laurant stories, photos, letters, or ephemera in their collection, please contact me asap. I am finishing up my biography (based on his scrapbooks, which I've been fortunate to have as resources) on "The Man of Many Mysteries" as I type this, and don't want to leave anything out.

The book will be available in mid-April. But for those who can't wait, check out "The Magic Hat," which RK was kind enough to mention in his most recent Genii Speaks column. Copies are available at http://www.squashpublications.com

Happy New Year!

Gabe Fajuri
Message: Posted by: sethb (Jan 5, 2005 10:29AM)
Congrats on the forthcoming Laurant biography. It's always interesting and helpful to read about the careers of magicians of this caliber.

One question: you said you had access to Laurant's scrapbooks. Other stage performers seem to have kept these with regularity, too. Were these scrapbooks simply a vaudeville and Chatauqua tradition, or did they serve a business purpose (to show to bookers and agents)? Or were they the modern equivalent of "brag books" and photo albums, maintained simply for the performer's own pleasure?

Whatever the reason, these scrapbooks seem to be the main, and sometimes the only source of tracing a performer's career. If they contain primarily newspaper clippings and theater programs, my guess is that they are also very fragile by this point in time and require careful handling and preservation, no? SETH
Message: Posted by: gfajuri (Jan 6, 2005 08:31AM)
Seth,

The scrapbooks (five of them) were compiled over the course of Laurant's career, and were kept, I think, for personal reasons. The first piece in the earliest scrapbook is, in fact, a program from a school recital in 1885 or 1886, when Laurant (then Greenleaf) was only 10 years old!

However, there are very few personal items in these books - mostly newspaper clippings and reviews of his show, which leads me to believe that your hunch about the books being "brag" books, so to speak, could be correct. I've seen several other magic scrapbooks of professionals, and there seems to be a distinction between the personal and professional books.

I'm lucky to also have access to the records of the company that booked Laurant for nearly 30 years. The Redpath Chautauqua agency of Chicago donated their collection to the University of Iowa, and I have had an opportunity to sift through the massive collection. There are over 500 documents in the collection on Laurant alone.

The book will be available in April. Thanks for your interest.

Best Regards,

Gabe
Message: Posted by: magic_guy (Feb 5, 2005 09:18PM)
I've been interested in & also have done research on Laurant for some time now. I've got an original poster & more info gleaned from old magic publications. I DEFINITELY am awaiting your book. CONGRATS & YEAH!
Message: Posted by: gfajuri (Feb 7, 2005 11:46AM)
Magic_guy,

Have you turned up anything interesting about Laurant in your research?

Also, which poster do you have? Is it one of the three that Tarbell designed for Laurant, or one of the lithos?

The book is now finished, and will go to the printer next week. I expect to have the finished product in hand in April at the latest.

Best,

Gabe
Message: Posted by: magic_guy (Feb 11, 2005 11:37PM)
I have one of the lithos. I just get the feeling that when it came to kids, he was THE man. I've got some good stories from the old Sphinx mags. I first became interested in him when I was in Wisconsin visiting my friend Little Johnny Jones. We went to tour the local theatre, a BEAUTIFUL place, and I saw a playbill for Laurant on the wall. It was Menominee, Wisc.
Message: Posted by: gfajuri (Feb 14, 2005 11:25AM)
Magic_guy,

Which Litho do you have? The Witch of the Flame, or another one? I'm very curious...

Best,

Gabe