Adelaide Herrmann
Queen of Magic


Edited by Margaret Steele


(Only a few copies remaining)

125 copies printed, numbered,
and signed by the editor in a
linen-covered slipcase.

145 color and black & white
rare photos and images from some
of the finest magic-ephemera
collections in the world

Black & White Interior

(954) 533-3325


Madame Adelaide Herrmann (1853-1932) was a superstar of the Golden Age of Magic. With her husband, the brilliant magician Alexander Herrmann, the beautiful and fiery Adelaide developed the first Grand Illusion show, playing worldwide to sold-out crowds for over twenty years. The Herrmanns were colorful characters—fun-loving, energetic and multi-lingual entertainers who surrounded themselves with exotic pets, famous celebrities and an aura of glamour. At the height of their success they toured in their private railcar, relaxing during the off season at their Long Island mansion and aboard their private steam yacht. In 1896, Alexander Herrmann died suddenly aboard their railcar while in the middle of a tour, leaving Adelaide deeply in debt. Madame Herrmann stepped into the magician’s role—unheard of for a woman in that time—and re-opened the show at New York’s Metropolitan Opera house just six weeks after her husband’s death. Taking the title, The Queen of Magic, Adelaide Herrmann starred as a magician in American Vaudeville and European theaters for another three decades, until her retirement in 1928 at the age of seventy-four.

Now Madame Herrmann’s story is finally told, and what a story it is! Entitled “Sixty-Five Years of Magic,” Madame takes us on an amazing adventure, from her beginnings as a dancer and trick bicyclist, to her marriage to Alexander Herrmann and their subsequent tours of the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe. She peppers her memoir with hilarious anecdotes, misadventures, accidents and the continuous outrageous antics of the husband she adored. She describes their show in minute detail, including her husband’s magic repertoire and their baffling illusions which drew standing-room only audiences wherever they went. In heartrending detail, she tells the story of her husband’s death. She then reinvents herself into the first great female magician, and takes us through yet another thirty years of solo adventures.

After her death in 1932, the famous Madame Herrmann slipped into oblivion. While beloved among magic historians and collectors, who carefully preserved her rich legacy of photos, posters, and a multitude of ephemera, few beyond this rarefied world knew of her. She was known to have written a memoir, but after her death it did not appear. Then, in 2010, the manuscript of Adelaide Herrmann’s memoir, having been passed among her descendants for seventy-eight years, finally surfaced.

Adelaide Herrmann’s memoir is published verbatim and complete. This volume also includes all five of Madame Herrmann’s known published magazine articles, as well as selected letters to the editor, biographical articles, reviews, news stories and fashion pages. With an introduction and chapter notes by Margaret Steele, and 145 photos and images from many pre-eminent magic collections, this first-ever book on Madame Herrmann is a loving homage to the Queen of Magic.


(Full Color)
ISBN 978-1-883647-19-3

List Price: $215
includes shipping and insurance
364 Pages, 7x10

PAPERBACK (Black & White)
ISBN 978-1-883647-21-6

List Price: $30
includes shipping
364 Pages, 7x10


Margaret Steele is an American magician, musician and writer. A leading historian on Madame Adelaide Herrmann, she recently lectured at the prestigious Los Angeles Conference on Magic History. Margaret Steele performs a magical tribute to Adelaide Herrmann, featuring beautiful illusions from the Golden Age of Magic.


Steele assembles the long-lost memoirs of the “Queen of Magic,” a once-famous, nearly forgotten female magician.

Aside from Harry Houdini, few magicians from the golden age of magic have any contemporary name recognition—and any that do are men. Yet around the turn of the 20th century, Adelaide Herrmann held her own as a popular female magician. But because magic’s allure waned as the century wore on, few remember her. Enter Steele, a magician and Herrmann fan, who also performed tributes to the late magician. After acquiring Herrmann’s missing memoir in 2010 after it was discovered in a descendant’s closet, Steele edited it for this publication, a compilation of the memoirs along with an impressive selection of photographs, magazine articles and other ephemera. The memoir itself is compelling—it tells of her early life as a dancer and her falling in love with renowned magician Alexander Herrmann—although Steele notes that Herrmann “wasn’t above occasionally re-casting herself into anecdotes that had originally starred her husband. As much as I adore her, I don’t always trust her.” Alexander received all the attention during his life, and when he died, his nephew Leon briefly took over the act but proved ill-suited for the role. Herrmann next stepped up and made the show her own. She traveled across the United States and Europe, encountering floods and fires and often performing the "bullet catch" trick. It’s a fun story improved by Steele’s peppering the text with photographs to illustrate Herrmann’s text, giving the book the feeling of a well-loved scrapbook. The additional ephemera at the back of the book features writing about Herrmann’s costumes, articles Herrmann wrote for magazines about her job and numerous mentions of her in the press.

A must-own for fans of magic, Steele’s book is a fun peek into the history of magic’s golden age.