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Lorraine's list of best books

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Sid Lorraine's list of best books was published in his column "Sid Lorraine's Chatter" in Tops for June 1939 in response to a question posed to him in a letter. Lorraine was asked "for a list of what I consider the best twenty books published prior to 1920, and a list of twenty such books published since that date. The works to cover magic generally as to history, manipulation, etc."

Books published prior to 1920

  1. The Old and the New Magic - Henry R. Evans (1906)
  2. Our Magic - Jasper Maskelyne and David Devant (1911)
  3. Art of Magic - T. Nelson Downs & Hilliard (1909)
  4. The Expert at the Card Table - Erdnase (1902)
  5. Modern Magic - Professor Hoffmann (1876)
  6. Sleight of Hand - Edwin Sachs (1877)
  7. Magicians' Tricks, How They Are Done - Henry Hatton & Adrian Plate (1910)
  8. Expert Billiard Ball Manipulation, Part 1 & 2 - Burling Hull (1910)
  9. The Modern Conjurer - C. Lang Neil (1902)
  10. Original Magical Creations - Stanley Collins (1915)
  11. Original Mysteries for Magicians - Brunel White (1918)
  12. The Magical Entertainer - P. T. Selbit (1906)
  13. Problems in Mystery - Max Sterling (1909)
  14. Magical Originalities - Ernest E. Noakes (1914)
  15. Modern Coin Manipulation - T. Nelson Downs (1900)
  16. Secrets of Conjuring and Magic - Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1878)

Lorraine added, "Not quite twenty but that's all I can think of. There are such books as Abbott's Behind the Scenes With the Mediums and the complete file of Stanyon's Magic but I am listing strictly magical works and not including magazines."

Books published after 1920

Lorraine started, "No magazines; mental, spiritualistic or ventirloquial books included ... not because I don't value these, but you asked for strictly magical books ... For that reason, I won't include the Annals of Conjuring which appeared in the Magic Wand Quarterly and should be in book form."

  1. Quicker than the Eye - John Mulholland (1932)
  2. The Story of Magic - John Mulholland (1935)
  3. Magical Masterpieces - Louis Nikola (1934)
  4. The Nikola Card System - Louis Nikola (1927)
  5. Encyclopedia of Cigarette Tricks - Keith Clark (1937)
  6. Greater Magic - John Northern Hilliard (1938)
  7. The World's Cut and Restored Rope Tricks - Burling Hull (1927)
  8. Manipulative Series - Laurie Ireland (1937)
  9. Card Manipulations No. 1 - Card Manipulations No. 5 - Jean Hugard (1933-36)
  10. The Three Shell Game - Tom Osborne (1938)
  11. Al Baker's Book - Al Baker (1933)
  12. Magic and Stagecraft - Guy Jarrett (1936)
  13. And a Pack of Cards - Jack Merlin (1927)
  14. Popular Card Tricks - Walter Gibson (1928)
  15. Advanced Lessons in Cups and Balls - Eddie Joseph (1938)
  16. Mathemagic - Royal Heath (1933)
  17. Thimble Magic - Jean Hugard (1936)
  18. 202 Methods of Forcing - Ted Annemann (1932)
  19. Magic of the Hands - Edward Victor (1937)

Lorraine added, "For the twentieth book, I would pick any Waller publication or any one of the excellent Naldrett series. The Tarbell Course should be included in your collection, but I don't consider this a book ... it is practically a library in itself. There are, I'll admit, many excellent books left out of this list, but as you've limited me to twenty, my own peculiar magical taste is thus represented."