Here's a thought: who are the most influential amateur magicians in the history of magic?
I'll start with my favorite: Professor Hoffmann (Angelo Lewis). An attorney by profession, his elegant, encyclopedic texts -- including Modern Magic, More Magic, Later Magic and Latest Magic
-- provide a remarkable catalog of a broad spectrum of the art of illusion.
Hoffmann's seminal work catapulted generations of magicians into the art. In My Magic Life
, David Devant credits obtaining a copy of Modern Magic
with his entry into conjuring. One professional conjurer suggested that Hoffmann should be "hanged" for exposing so much of the craft to the public. Yet his tireless efforts virtually created the hobby, converting a guild-like profession into an accessible pastime and entertainment for countless millions.
Even today, more than a century after their creation, his works remain a joy to read.
There must be scores of other amateurs who have advanced the art. Any ideas?