New York. Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation successor to Dick & Fitzgerald. 1869.
Nicely illustrated vintage book ("197 fine wood-cuts"); paper covers (chip to top free edge corner of front cover and abrasions to spine); 131 numbered pages plus 12 advertising pages at rear. Very small water spot to front cover. The first three chapters of the book are evidently aimed at youngsters (Play-room Games; Board and Slate Games; Table and Toy Games; while the next ten chapters appear more suited to adult amusements. These are: Comic Diversions; Parlor Magic & Slight of Hand; Tricks Requiring Simple Apparatus; Tricks with Cards; Scientific Recreations; Optical Amusements; Pneumatic Amusements; Amusements in Mechanics; Arithmetical Amusements; and Curious Puzzles. A sample amusement is "The Decapitation" from the "Comic Diversions" section. The description of the amusement is accompanied by the following warning: "...not to be practiced on those who have very weak nerves." This particular "Diversion" is accomplished by presenting an exposed head ("a boy with soft silky hair") on a draped table top, the rest of the body hidden beneath the table. An accomplice combs the boy's hair to resemble a beard and paints false eyebrows under the real eyes, next painting a false nose, mustache, and mouth on the forehead. The face is powdered to look pale. One can imagine the pained groans and stifled guffaws from guests viewing the deception; also, their unspoken desire to see a hopeless evening speedily concluded. Item #53429