The autobiography of Carl Hertz was published by Hutchinson & Co. London, in 1924. Since it is more than 70 years since the author's death and I am one of his surviving relatives I am hoping that it is okay to copy parts of it onto my website without infringing the rules of copyright.
I will start with the synopsis of each of the 25 chapters as he wrote them in the book and, when time permits, add the complete text.
My boyhood - Fascination which conjuring has for me - I am discharged from a dry gods firm for performing conjuring tricks in business hours - I appear at an amateur performance and am a dismal failure - My sad experiences with touring companies - Notwithstanding the opposition of my parents, I decide to make conjuring my profession - I travel from San Francisco to Kansas city in search of an engagement - And arrive with twenty-five cents in my pocket, to find the theatre closed for three weeks - A friend in need - My interview with the manager of the Theatre Comique - I obtain an engagement on the reopening of the theatre - Kindness of my new friend, Hano, to me - My first performance - Its success leads to my securing a number of other engagements - Hano throws up his post as manager of a dry goods store and joins the profession - My meeting with him twenty-five years later
A serious illness - A strange coincidence - Unpleasant experiences at Philadelphia - My apparatus is destroyed by fire - Kindness of a brother professional, who helps me out of my predicament - Another accident - Singular adventure at Montgomery City , Missouri, where I am arrested and imprisoned in mistake for another man - Ludicrous mishap while performing at Louisville
I accept an engagement with a travelling circus - Serious accident to the circus trains on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad - Although only slightly injured, I decide to try to obtain compensation from the railroad company - My modus operandi - My interview with the company's manager at Nashville - I am sent to be examined by a doctor, who discovers that my injuries are faked - At his request I give a private performance, under an assumed name, at the Medical College - I receive $1,500 compensation from the railroad company - I go to New York and take an engagement at a variety theatre on the Bowery - Reply of the German proprietor to my request for my salary - I give a performance at William H. Vanderbilt's house on Fifth Avenue - A comedy of errors
I sail for Liverpool on my first visit to England - My appearance at the Folly Theatre, Manchester - My great success - My disappearing cage and canary trick - I perform the trick at the offices of the R.S.P.C.A., in Jermyn Street, and successfully refute the charge of cruelty which has been brought against me in connection with it - My appearance at the Crystal Palace - Amusing incident with Mr Clement Scott, the dramatic critic, at the Alhambra - Engagements at private houses - The house in Grosvenor Square - Conjuring entertainments and baccarat parties - Singular sequel - I give an entertainment at Mr. Alfred de Rothschild's house in Seymour Place - A distinguished company - The Prince of Wales and the rabbit - Visit to Mr. Rothschild in the City - His cigars
An adventure at Ascot - Mr. Jennings, of the Oxford Music Hall - I give an impromptu entertainment to fill a gap in the programme - Indignation of Mr. Jennings at my refusal to accept payment for my performance - The Vanishing Lady Illusion - Difficulty of finding a lady to assist in this trick - I engage Mlle. D'Alton, who subsequently becomes my wife - Ludicrous misadventure of an illusionist while performing this trick at Plymouth - My provincial tours - Singular requests made to me by persons who imagine me to posses supernatural powers - I leave England on a tour through Germany and Austro-Hungary - Amusing incident at the Reichsallan Theatre, Berlin - The missing pocket book - I give a performance before King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who is the only person present - "Where are you George?"
I sail for New York in the s.s. City of Chicago - The young Englishman and the cardsharpers - I intervene, and the shearers are shorn - Sequel to this adventure - My American tour - The pigeon and the diamond ring - The hat and the cake - Singular misadventure while performing at San Francisco - My reputation is saved by the presence of mind of my assistant - A luck chance enables me to perform a trick which is regarded as really marvellous - He is coming!... He is here!...He has gone! - The German proprietor and the red fire - I am the innocent cause of a young man being thrown over by his sweetheart, but succeed in reuniting the lovers - An audience of one - I perform card tricks for an hour at St. Louis to allow time for the rest of the company to arrive - I quell a racecourse riot - A facetious gentleman - Practical joke which I perpetuate at an hotel at Buffalo necessitates my abrupt departure from that town - Curious experience at Leadville, Colorado.
Madame 0'Della Diss De Bar, the celebrated medium, is prosecuted for fraud - I am called as an expert witness at the trial, and perform all the medium's manifestations in open court - Madame Diss De Bar sentenced to two years' imprisonment - The Swami case in England - I communicate with Scotland Yard and Swami is identified with Madame Diss De Bar - Story of August and Adolphe - I sail for England - My interest in mesmerism - My first attempt to mesmerise a person - An alarming experience - I acquire proficiency - My experiments in mesmerism during the voyage to England - Donovan's Derby - The gentleman with the revolver - I make the acquaintance of an apparently wealthy young man, who persuades me to allow him to accompany me to the different halls at which I am performing - Presents of jewellery which he makes to a lady singer and myself - I receive a visit from two detectives, who inform me that the jewellery is stolen property.