A three page autograph letter signed by Beatrice Houdini on mourning stationery dated November 9, 1926 provides a moving account of her husband’s death less than two weeks earlier, on October 31. The letter was uncovered in Germany and it is believed has never been published. Houdini’s widow describes the exact circumstances of Houdini’s unexpected death from a ruptured appendix, lamenting, “The world has lost a Genius, but I have lost my Man.”
Literature forms a major subcategory of the May sale, with over 40 lots dedicated to authors including James Joyce, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene, Henry Miller, and Stephen Crane. Of these, a great percentage includes a single-owner collection of autographed material from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady. Allen Ginsberg signed a June 8, 1960 typescript draft of annotated notes that would later become part of Magic Psalm, a poem featured in Kaddish and Other Poems published by City Lights Bookstore in February 1961. The manuscript was inspired by Ginsberg’s experimentation with hallucinogenic ayahuasca during recent travels in Peru.