Ben Bergor family papers, 1848-1994 (bulk 1930-1979)

Bergor, Ben

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Format Mixed Materials
  • Contributors
  • Physical Details
    • 33.4 c.f. (25 record center cartons, 4 archives boxes, 10 flat boxes and 12 card file boxes)
    • 16 audio recordings
    • 1 film (16 mm)
    • 3.7 c.f. of photographs (9 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder) and
    • 0.2 c.f. of negatives (1 card box)
    • additions of 0.6 c.f. (1 archives box and 1 flat box)
  • OCLC ocn173704646, ocn173692429
  • Finding Aids
    • Register


  • RESTRICTED: Copyright is retained by Mrs. Ben Bergor during her lifetime after which it is transferred to her two daughters. After the death of the last surviving daughter, copyright transfers to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.


  • Papers, 1848-1994 (bulk 1930-1979), of Ben Bergor, a Madison-based magician, entertainer and booking agent, together with papers of his sister Olivia Monona, an opera singer, and of their father Benedict Goldenberger.
  • Bergor's papers consist of correspondence with magicians, clients and others; writings; financial records, contracts, advertising and brochures of his Madison entertainment agency; and a humor library. Subject files include mailings from magic and humor dealers, musical compositions and scattered records of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians and the Houdini Club of Wisconsin. Among the prominent correspondents are magicians Percy Abbott, Joe Berg, Dave Coleman, Clarke Crandall and L.L. Ireland, and ventriloquists Howie Olson and Fred Ketch. Also includes the award album from the Houdini Club. Highlight's from the humor library include Charley Jones Laugh Books, Gags, 1000 Jokes, and Quote.
  • Olivia Monona's papers consist of diaries, and subject files relating to her career with the Chicago Grand Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
  • Benedict Goldenberger's papers primarily consist of diaries as a student at the University of Wisconsin during the 1870s.
  • The papers also include genealogical correspondence of historian John O. Holzhueter, Bergor's son-in-law, with a couple of early family documents.
  • The visual materials consist of portraits, snapshots of Bergor performing, many publicity stills of magicians and other entertainers, and portraits and snapshots of Olivia Monona and chorus members of the Chicago Grand Opera. The film is a televised broadcast of Bergor performing a sleight of hand card trick in 1930.
  • The audio recordings consist of auditions; radio broadcasts of skits, tricks, satires, etc.; family piano and opera performances; sound effects; and performances of "My Heart Went Boom," a composition by Bergor.


  • Electronic reproductions of some images are also Available through the Wisconsin Historical Images page on the Wisconsin Historical Society website at
Checking the Web...