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BornFrancis "Frank" Joseph Rowan
March 2 1885
Hartford, Connecticut

Oudini (1885-?) was the stage name of Francis "Frank" Joseph Rowan, an escape artist and obvious Houdini imitator based on the name, during the early 1900s in the Boston area.


Oudini wrote a book called The Great Mysteries in 1909 in which he exposed his escapes and included many photos and press clippings of his performances. On the reverse side of the title page with the copyright date are the names "by Frank J. Rowan and E. T. Stewart".

Some thought that Robert Doidge might have been "Oudini" because he had at one time so many copies available to sell.

John Henry Grossman wrote in his MUM "Ask the Doctor" column that Walter B. Gibson informed him that Doidge told him that it was Frank J. Rowan, who lived near Haverhill, Massachusetts (where many of the press clippings from the book came from).[1]

Robert Doidge was a real person and not Rowan's alter ego. Looking through the M.U.M., Robert William Doidge Jr. (born in 1893) was a member of the S.A.M. as of 1917. He was added to the Honor Roll for his military service in 1918. In the 1910 census, Rowan is listed as a living in Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, born in Hartford, Connecticut on March 2, 1885 of Canadian-English parents.

He listed his profession as "actor".[2][3]

In the November of 1919 in Ellis Stanyon’s Magic magazine a mention that Stanyon received a copy of Rowan/Oudini’s publication. It appeared S.A.M. member Robert Doidge of Somerville, Massachusetts acquired several copies of the booklet. His idea of sending it to Stanyon (unbeknownst to Doidge at the time) may have ended up being a method of selling more booklets. Doidge sent the booklet to Stanyon to “…keep them out of the hands of those having no genuine interest in Magic.” [4]

In the 1920 Census, Francis (not Frank) and his wife, Robina were working as butler and maid in Boston. In the 1930 Census, Robina was still working for a family, but her marriage status changed to 'widow'.

Doidge sent copies of the booklet by 'Oudini' to Harry Houdini with the same message about keep the booklet away from layman's eyes. Doidge co-authored a booklet with David J Lustig titled [5]

Doidge continued to write articles and ideas into the 1930's for Theo Annemann's The Jinx magazine [6]


  • Secrets of The Great Mysteries (1909)


  1. MUM March 1978
  2. Houdini The Key by Patrick Culliton
  4. Magic November 1919
  5. Vaudeville Ventriloquism by Robert Doidge and David J Lustig 1920
  6. The Jinx 1937-1938