[Ads-l] "escape artist"

Bill Mullins amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 21 18:28:50 EST 2021

A recent tweet talks about early use of "escape artist":


OED has no entry for the term.

1906 NY _Morning Telegraph_ Feb 9 9/2
The men who made the box nailed the "escape artist" up in it and then invited every one present to come up and put in an additional nail.

1907 _Conjurer's Monthly Magazine_ Apr. 264/1
This particular escape is evidently meant for a deaf audience judging by the amount of noise made by the lady escape artist in getting out, which great feat she accomplished in about five minutes.

1932 _Billboard_ Apr. 16 19/1
TRACEY L. KNAPP, magician and escape artist, is playing ballrooms in Connecticut as an added attraction and drawing well.

1906 was the earliest I found, and am surprised it was so late.  Houdini was doing escapes a decade before that, and other magicians even earlier.

(also noted while searching:  "fire escape artist", from last half of 19th century - one who skips out  on a hotel bill by leaving via the fire escape.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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