Providence: What Cheer Print, [nd, but ca. 1885]. Broadside, 29 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches, with 6 1/2 x 8 1/4-inch wood engraving, signed by Jackson's Print, of Prof. Reynolds onstage with flying demons, a cauldron, and various displays on a table. Printed on inexpensive advertising paper, now a light brown tone. Three minor holes, one barely affecting the image. In very good condition. Item #WRCAM37786
A marvelous and extremely rare example of late 19th- century American advertising ephemera for Prof. H.B. Reynolds, "the world renowned sorcerer, necromancer and magician." The wood engraving shows the Professor on stage with a few of the elements to be seen during his performances. These include demons, birds, and cards in various stages of flight, a boiling cauldron, two separate card displays, and a table with three objects used in the act (including an additional demon's head). Measuring nearly two and a half feet in height, the text of the broadside details the wonders the audience will see. These include "original and more marvellous illusions than was [sic] ever performed by the Ancient Egyptians or the Necromancer of India...The wonderful power of producing realities from nothing and commanding articles to be constructed from the ashes of the earth...His marvellous power of conjuring is manifested by merely asking for or moving his hand that his desires are complied with...." Reynolds also claimed to be "cabalistic in his superiority of multitude of mankind, allowing himself to be bound with 100 feet of cord in the hands of the most expertitious in knot tying; when in a moment of unseen gesture he frees himself from the cords that bound him and is found within the silent enclosure of a structure whose walls have been permanently secured with screens and nails, locked and sealed, and bound with ropes." Although much detail is provided regarding Reynolds' skills and attributes, the actual place of performance is not indicated. Space was intentionally left blank for the name of the venue to be added when available, but the price of admission ("15 and 25 cts., Children under 10 years, 15 cents") and performance times ("Doors open at 7 p.m. Oracles 8 p.m.") are noted. Printed in Providence, the name of the printing house, What Cheer Print, is derived from the Narragansett Indian's greeting to Roger Williams in June 1636 ("What cheer, Netop" [friend]). A fascinating example of late 19th-century American advertising ephemera. Extremely rare, not in OCLC, but one copy in the Smith Magic Collection at Brown University.