Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Houdini Family Photos Discovered


I never know what exciting things the day is going to bring. Today was an exceptional surprise. This morning I received an email from one of my readers about a discovery he made of some Houdini Glass Plate Negatives. He had one of Houdini smiling which is pictured above. He purchased these about a year ago at a flea-market!

But it's the second image that is the incredible one. He believes that the image below is of Cecilia Weiss. Jeff from JB Auction House, who is the finder of the plates, pointed out that the photos we have of Cecelia are mostly from 1900-1908. However, Cecilia died five years later, so it's possible this is her. (SEE UPDATES BELOW)
The Mystery Photo
I'm also posting this image of Cecilia with some of her known photos so you can compare for yourselves. Now, if it is NOT Cecilia, then my best guess is it is Hannah Steiner, Cecilia's mother, who was Houdini's Grandmother and is buried in the Houdini plot in NY. This yellowish photo (at the very bottom) shows Hannah on the far left, Rose Steiner and a young Cecilia Steiner.

A big thank you to Jeff for allowing me to post these images. Now folks, PLEASE comment below. Let us know if you think this picture is indeed an older Cecilia or perhaps Hannah.

UPDATE: Leave it to John Cox. He pointed out that there was a photo taken after 1908, this one was 1913 as Houdini was leaving for Europe. The last known photo of Cecilia Weiss and it is not the woman pictured above. However, I still believe this is a relative, probably Hannah. Your thoughts?
UPDATE 2: It looks like folks are leaning towards Hannah Steiner, which to me is still incredible.

Hannah, Rose and Cecilia Steiner

1913 image of Cecilia Weiss

10 comments:

  1. Wow! You know, I think it might be Hannah. The face just doesn't look the same shape at Cecilia. Cecilia's face is round -- like Houdini's. This face is longer. And the jaw line looks different. That's my two cents.

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  2. I've been staring at it all morning. At first I thought it was Hannah. But the more I look I think it may be Cecilia. If it is her, she has aged a lot in the 5 years since her picture had last been taken. The brow line and the nose all match up perfectly. But you are correct, the face seems more square, and the hair is much darker. I'm really interested in hearing other comments from folks.

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  3. BTW, there is the photo of Cecilia standing dockside in 1913 that was the last photo Houdini took of her. Check out Randi page 92. If anything, her older face is even more rounded. Very different from the woman above.

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    1. Fantastic. I kept thinking about that picture in the back of my mind but I never looked it up. I didn't realize it was taken in 1913. Ok, well that shifts the balance now from Cecilia to Hannah!

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  4. It's pretty clearly not Cecilia, to my eye. If Hannah's the one on the left in the picture of three, then that's her.

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  5. The part in the hair is identical but the eye lids are not the same. The new photo has her eyes open wider and in an older person there would be a drooping due to the muscle in the eyelids weaking. I believe she is a relative but not Houdinis mother.

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  6. No, not Cecilia...face shape wrong, too mannish, eye socket shape different. Possibly Hannah, or a sister of Hannah if she had any?

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  7. Can someone tell me who the lady is in the photo where Harry is kissing her in Rochester NY 1907? Because that doesn't look like the same one in the photo of Harry, Bess and Mom. Look at the square chin in that one. Look at the long ears.But the kissing photo sure does look like the negative above. Any ides on that?

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  8. Well, it's certainly NOT Cecilia. But this portrait sure looks similar to the Hannah in the old sepia-toned photo. Pretty cool! When do you suppose this photo was taken? And when did Hannah Steiner die?

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  9. Well whoever that lady is in the photo of Harry kissing her is NOT Cecilia either. Does not look like either one of the other photos. So whoever she is, is the same women that is in the Glass Plate. I believe Hanna died in 1887.

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