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Treasure 120: Walford Bodie
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Treasure 120: Walford Bodie

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 120: Walford Bodie
Historic Documents
343
Treasure 120: Walford Bodie
In the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods, at the height of music hall variety, Dr Walford Bodie M.D. was one of the most famous and highly paid entertainers in Britain. He remains an enigmatic and charismatic figure in the history of the North East. Born Samuel Murphy Bodie at 33 George Street, Aberdeen on 11 June 1869, he went on to become a leading showman, hypnotist, ventriloquist, controversial 'bloodless surgeon', and was billed variously as The Electric Wizard, The Modern Miracle Worker of the North, and The Most Remarkable Man on Earth.

Our treasure is a photograph album held by Aberdeen City Libraries that offers an insight into the life and times of Bodie and his amazing family. Walford Bodie was for much of his career the headline performer of an extended and shifting company of artists. Members of his family, and in particular those of his wife, often played important roles in the Bodie Show. In 1890 Bodie married Jeannie Henry (1869-1931), who performed with Walford as an illusionist and mind-reader called Princess Rubie, until her retirement in 1930. Jeannie and 3 of her sisters went on to play important parts in the Bodie show. One of her sisters was Annie "Nan" Henry (1880-1970) and it is her album that we now hold in the library.

The album is a large volume, bound in dark green leather. Within floral endpapers there are around 101 pages each containing approximately 3 photographs. The images are a mixture of postcards and photographic prints. Most appear to have been sent to Nan Henry while she was living in the Bodie family home in Macduff. Many have signed endearments on the front and carry short messages on the reverse.

To learn more about this unique character, have a browse in the Treasures from our Collections interactive exhibition.
TR15_11
Aberdeen Local Studies
Yes
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