Magical days – and nights – at historical society

David Copperfield magically appeared in Manhattan earlier this month.

Well, we may be exaggerating… but his being on hand to lead the press tour of “Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection” was not announced in advance.

It made for an exciting introduction to a much-anticipated exhibition that continues through Sept. 16 at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library.

Copperfield, the Emmy Award-winning illusionist who traces his roots to Metuchen, New Jersey, has loaned the museum a stunning selection from his collection that is being complemented by an extensive schedule of related programming.

Copperfield, who told us he bought his first trick at the “magic counter” at Macy’s in Herald Square and would perform in his hometown as Davino the Boy Magician, has assembled a collection of memorabilia related to the careers and milestones of the legendary magicians who inspired him. There are handcuffs, a straightjacket and trunk used by Harry Houdini, along with stage costumes, posters, magic kits and materials related to many others, including the Chinese Conjurer (in reality Westchester-born William Ellsworth Robinson).

Taking center stage is the display devoted to the “Death Saw,” one of Copperfield’s most famous illusions.

It all adds up to quite an exploration, one that we plan to cover more fully in our August print edition.

In the meantime, check out the society’s website for details on “Summer of Magic” programming. Among the highlights are the “Living History Weekends,” through Aug. 26; “Houdini Weekend,” July 13-15; and “Capturing the Magic Weekend” Aug. 24-26, along with workshops, films, family programming, performances and more throughout the run.

For more, visit

– Mary Shustack

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