Mildred May Searing (1880-1938) began her stage career at the age of nine as a song and dance performer. Harry Rouclere Terhune (1866-1942), was born in Paterson, New Jersey and joined a national traveling circus act at the age of nine. Harry took Rouclere as his stage name and performed as a juggler, gymnast, and magician. While he had a successful career, things did not really take off until he married Mildred and they began doing their mind reading act.
They formed the team of Mildred and Rouclere (also called the Mildred Novelty Company), doing a mind reading act. Then in 1891 they kicked it up a notch with their introduction of “Psychonotism.” Mildred was “hypnotized” by Rouclere while seated on a chair on the stage. He went out into the audience and they could whisper actions to him. Without his even speaking, she would carry out those actions. Mildred’s eyes are were closed the entire time. It was definitely not the traditional mind reading code act, and it created a sensation. Another act they were known for was “Mildredism” where Milred produced living representations of thought of figures.
They became headliners and made a lot of money with the act. An article in a 1912 Sphinx reported that they had just worked 62 straight weeks. Around 1914 they settled down to a well-earned retirement to run the hotel in Ridgewood, New Jersey that they owned. They still apparently performed from time to to time, and hosted events for magicians at his hotel.
Harry learned to fly. He purchased a couple of planes and an air field, and had daily passenger flights. He also set a few speed records. The plane was used at Christmas where he dressed as Santa and delivered gifts with his daughter, who played the role of Mary Claus.
While they had a son, Harry Rouclere Jr., it was their daughter Mildred Rouclere Jr. who really kept up the family name. After her mother died, she worked with her father as an assistant. Mildred Jr. was mentioned performing a flashy act in Max Holden’s column in a 1936 edition of Genii. She and her father attended the SAM Rouclere Assembly 25 together, and she wrote articles for the Paging the Ladies section in Genii magazine.
In a report on her performance on February 19, 1938: “…Mildred Rouclere, Jr., ‘The world’s most closely watched girl,’ performed a delightful and charming 20-minute act. Some were: Card on Sword Point, Torn and Restored Borrowed Derby Hat, a lady’s gloves were borrowed, stretched, shrunk, vanished, and finally restored in good condition to the greatly bewildered assistant. Miss Rouclere kept up the tradition of her illustrious parents.”
Mildred Rouclere Sr. is one of the 14 (out of 261) inductees into the the Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame.