Magician of the Week #17 (Extended Edition): John H. Percival

This is a very special edition of the Magician of the Week, because our featured magician’s personal collection is now cataloged online for the first time ever:

John Percival, with card up sleeve

John Percival spent nearly eighty years practicing his magic in Providence and building an excellent collection of books on the topic in the process. Now, thanks to volunteer Elise Petrarca, that collection of over 1,200 books plus ephemera and manuscripts is cataloged in its entirety online. You can find the books in the Library’s online catalog* (you’ll find most — and soon all — of them by doing a call number search for “John H. Percival”) and the description of the ephemera collection on our website. (Elise managed all of that work over the course of the last semester.)

And if you’d like to find out more about Percival and get a quick tour of the collection with a selection of images, you can find that online at If you’d like to see this terrific collection in person, don’t hesitate to visit.

* Alright, there are a few books scarce enough that they’ll take a little longer to catalog. And  a small collection of Percival’s letters still needs a finding aid. But they’ll be along soon.

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