Harry Morphet and his wife Ida traveled across the country on the Lyceum and Chataqua circuits. They made appearances under canvas and in churches and other makeshift performance spaces to towns across the country who did not get that much entertainment. Until 1917 it was mostly lectures, but they also did also include some entertainment, although it was generally more high-brow than the competition coming from quickly growing Vaudeville.
From a report on their appearance at the 1912 Waxahachie camp (which had recently become part of the Chataqua circuit): “Perhaps not as popular but still widely anticipated were the Morphets: Masters of Magic, Melody and Mirth. The Morphets illuminated the stage without the house lights by holding a three burner chandelier fitted with a Welsbach gas mantle. An assistant held the chandelier while Morphet placed the end of a rubber tube into his mouth, breathed deeply, and, while blowing his breath out, lit the mantle with a match, casting a brilliant light across the auditorium.” I guess the act could have been dubbed “Mr. Pre-Electric.”
Mrs. Morphet, along with Mr. Morphet, provided the music, so she was a key performer and not just an assistant. How that worked in the magic part is unclear. It could be in the same way that Carol Roy was considered an assistant by audiences but actually made much of the magic happen while Marvin Roy got all the applause.
The report was published in Waxahachie: Where Cotton Reined King by Kelly McMichael Stott. I am not sure if it was Victorian modesty or Victorian downplaying of women when she is described as being a musician “Of satisfying quality.”
Harry Morphet started out in magic as a team act with his brother Fred, where they billed themselves as the Morphet Brothers. They did the Rising Cards, Misers Dream, bird productions, and other classics. Harry was also a ventriloquist.
When Fred died, Harry began performing with Ida under the billing “Magical Illusions or Mysteries of Dreamland.” Harry was a creator of magic, and their signature opening was the production of flags which included his original flag production that he would later market through his magic shop. When he died, his wife continued to run the shop.