Was Vernon the First to Issue Lecture Notes?

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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 03:05 AM

Hi Folks:

I rarely visit the members only forum for The Magic Circle (its not very active, alas), but did this evening and something caught my attention.

Someone asked if Dai Vernon was the first person to issue lecture notes. Another replied that yes, that was indeed the case, and that these notes were issued free of charge in connection with Vernons lecture on Thursday, June 19, 1947, at the IBM convention held in Pittsburgh, PA.

I did a quick search here on GF using Vernon and lecture notes and didnt find anything on point. So I thought Id ask the GF brain trust what they know about this.

In addition to responding to the above, I also wondered: who was the first magician to give a lecture qua lecture and when?

Finally, does anybody here specialize in collecting lecture notes?

CHS
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/07 04:38 AM

In Potter's Index, he begins to list the lecture notes in 1952.

But what is a lecture notes ?

In The Phoenix N 13 July 10 1942, page 54, we can read this from Bruce Elliott, The Back Room, para 1 :

"It seems that Keith Clark who is fond of proclaiming to all and sundry his greatness, has been reduced, or shall we say elevated to a pitchman. That's right. After performing his silk routine which is a very pretty routine indeed, he then sold his pamphlet which describes said routine."
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 05:59 AM

Merci beaucoup, Philippe. C'est exactement le genre d'information que je recherche.

Vous posez une bonne question: quelles sont exactement des "lecture notes" ("notes de confrence"?). Il n'est pas clair ( moi au moins) si Elliott vendait rellement ses lecture notes, mais de l'autre ct, peut-tre il les a vendues.

Pardonnez mon mauvais franais.

Amicalement,

Clay

[Phillippe raises a good question: how do we define "lecture notes"? The quote he provides could describe the sale of lecture notes, but couldn't it also describe one of Elliott's general magic publications which he was taking the opportunity to sell in connection with his "lecture"?]
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/07 06:14 AM

Your french is correct and it seems that my english was not because I wanted to say that Bruce Elliot writes about Keith Clark who sold his routine.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 06:35 AM

Mon dieu! Your English is fine, Phillippe. I misread your post. You were clear that Elliott was discussing Clark.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 07:29 AM

I think the first lecture as we know it was given by Harlan Tarbell. Since Tarbell never missed an opportunity to sell anything, it would seem likely that he had something to sell.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 08:18 AM

Richard (anyone?),

What do you think is a good definition of "lecture notes"? Maybe the folks who collect them have developed criteria for what's "in" and what's "out."
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 08:35 AM

I think I reproduced some of the Tarbell lecture notes in Tarbell 8.

Lecture notes are generally categorized as being brief--"notes." The write-ups are often incomplete since the lecturer assumed they were only to remind people of what they'd seen at the lecture.

The meaning has changed over the years, of course. There are really two ways of thinking about lecture notes now:
1) Produce something and keep the price low ($5, $10) so everyone will buy it as a memento of the evening and it gives them something to have you sign.
2) Produce something that's expensive with detailed book-like descriptions. You make more money and the buyers get a lot more to take home (at the increased price) because they will actually be able to learn the material when they later reread it.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/07 09:19 AM

For Tarbell, see page 409 from Vol. 9 (1993)

Lecture notes :
Personal Course in Magic N 1 - 1942
Personal Course in Magic N 2 - 1942
Tarbell's 1947 Lecture Notes (SAM Convention, Chicago)
Personal Course in Magic - 1955

His first Ad appeared in the June 1942 issue of The Sphinx.

Perhaps it's the inspiration for Clark ?
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 10:04 AM

In "The Best of Pentagram Card Magic" edited by Martin Breese there is a chapter on the card work of Graham Adams, who gave a lecture to the Magic Circle entitled "S.W. Erdnase - His Book" on 30th January 1931. Peter Warlock noted in "Pentagram" that the Magic Circle library had a permanent record in the form of a "full written document copiously illustrated with first class photographs". I'm not sure if this counts as lecture notes, because it was a one-off that wasn't for sale to people who attended the lecture, but it was clearly a record of the lecture.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/16/07 11:26 AM

This was first reported in The Pentagram, Vol. 13, N 6, march 1959, page, 59 by Peter Warlock.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/16/07 11:46 AM

There were, I believe, only six copies of the Graham Adams notes made, with the first copy being given directly to the Magic Circle.

-Jim
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Postby Max Maven » 06/16/07 02:19 PM

From Genii, April 1997:

"The earliest forerunner of the modern magic lecture was probably a series of papers prepared at the behest of W. Golden Mortimer, [Society of American Magicians] founder and that organization's first President. The initial talk was delivered at the December, 1904 meeting by Oscar Teale. Entitled The Twentieth Century Magician, it addressed the topic of Stage Deportment, and, as with the succeeding entries, it included a lengthy discussion period following the discourse. These talks were far more academic in nature than most lectures today, and for the most part technical information was not imparted. One exception, arguably the first magic lecture in the modern sense, was when August J. Rehbein taught an original method for calculating the day of the week for any date at the meeting of November 4, 1905. (That was a Saturday.)"

It is not known if notes were provided for any of these lectures. The Rehbein system was later published in The Sphinx.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 02:57 PM

When I wrote (or, should I say - was researching) my book, "Edward G. Brown; A Magical Life" - I located a set of his lecture notes from the 1920's.

They were used by Trevor Hall for his book on Brown.

Paul Gordon
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 05:25 PM

Max! Excellent find--that's earlier than I would have thought.

Too bad DeLand never gave a lecture. :)
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/16/07 06:02 PM

While not a lecture as we use the term today, I do have a detailed article from early 1905 which discusses Nate Leipzig teaching classes out of Martinka's. It was pretty well structured: there were three levels of classes (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and they covered everything from sleight of hand to apparatus magic.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 06:52 PM

Sphinx?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/16/07 07:21 PM

No, this was a full page article in a non-magic publication (Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly).

-Jim
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Postby Matthew Field » 06/18/07 03:36 AM

Max Maven wrote: "The earliest forerunner of the modern magic lecture was probably a series of papers [for a] talk ... delivered ... [in] ... December, 1904 ..."

Maybe so. But Marlo has notes on this dating to 1903.

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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/07 03:43 AM

How do you know I have these notes ?
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 04:40 AM

Many thanks to those who have kindly contributed to this thread.

Thus far, the earliest dates mentioned for the first magic lectures are circa 1903-1905, and for lecture notes, the 1920s.

Some questions that come to mind:

Who wrote the April 1997 Genii excerpt quoted by Max? Was more said about lectures and lecture notes, or was that the extent of the discussion?

To Paul Gordon, who noted his discovery of Browns 1920s lecture notes, can you describe them more fully here? What is it about them that confirms they are lecture notes? Which of Browns lectures did these notes accompany? Was Brown known for giving lectures to his peers? Are there records of his lectures?

Returning to Richards descriptions of the nature of lecture notes, is it fair to say that, without a lecture, one cant have lecture notes? Taking this idea another step, to be lecture notes, wouldnt they have to be created specifically for the relevant lecture (or a series of lectures) and available to attendees at the lecture? I suspect that a prerequisite for understanding the history of lecture notes will be the consensus development of a precise definition of the nature of lecture notes. Perhaps the same process would be needed for determining when the first lectures were given.

Although perhaps a minor matter in conjuring history, I hope someone will someday write a monograph on the history of the lecture and lecture notes. I will be one of the first to purchase it!

Clay
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/07 05:54 AM

The excerpt comes from an article by Max Maven entitled A History of FISM (page 28).
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 06:30 AM

Dear Clay,

Re "To Paul Gordon, who noted his discovery of Browns 1920s lecture notes, can you describe them more fully here? What is it about them that confirms they are lecture notes? Which of Browns lectures did these notes accompany? Was Brown known for giving lectures to his peers? Are there records of his lectures?"


To describe them fully would takes too long. They are 45 pages of handwritten notes. They formed part of the lectures given to local clubs and then to The Magic Circle; as documented in Trevor Hall's book and briefly noted in my book on Brown. But, the notes begin "Recitations for Magical Societies" dated 1923 or 28 or 29. (Writing poor...I can't tell exact date.) Yes, Brown gave a lot of lectures...as also noted in The Magic Circular(s) of the 20's to 40's.

Paul Gordon
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 06:39 AM

Paul, thanks. Your description was just fine. It indeed sounds like Brown's manuscript may have been lecture notes, but not lecture notes. Clay
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 08:21 AM

Dear Clay:

I have also got a set of Francis Haxton lecture notes (titled "Francis Haxton Card Lecture") from 1951. He must have sold them (professionally bound), but Lord knows how anybody understood them. They make the 'Daley Notebooks' seems easy-to-read in comparrison.

Paul Gordon
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 09:26 AM

If memory serves, one of the talks in the series suggested by Mortimer was delivered by Charles Roltare, and entitled "The Utility of Suggestion in Magic." I have a four page set of notes from this "lecture" buried somewhere in my collection.
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 11:33 AM

Paul, thanks. Your description was just fine. It indeed sounds like Brown's manuscript may have been lecture notes, but not lecture notes. Clay
The preface to The Card Magic of E.G. Brown seems to support your premise, Clay. It mentions Brown's "reluctance to publish the secrets of his actual tricks was matched by his willingness to devote countless hours to the preparation and delivery of regular, immensely valuable lectures the The Magic Circle on the art, theory and technique of conjuring..." The preface does say, though, that Brown was looking forward to retirement and "the opportunity to write his own book on the subject he loved so well, and thus record all his work in a single, permanent, printed form."

The Brown lectures were printed in The Magic Circular in serial form. In addition, in the preface Hall states that "the one lecture that was never printed because of paper shortage, and might therefore have been lost forever, can be reconstructed thanks to the author's gift to me of his handwritten notes. It is Edward's invaluable dissertation on 'Forcing'."

While not conclusive, the comments do send me toward the direction that they were personal notes, and regardless of completeness, not intended for distribution or sale.


e
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 12:08 PM

Dear Eric,

Having written a biography/memoir of Brown (and therefore having lots of Brown material), I can say that Brown did offer notes for sale, but were possibly copied (copies of handrwitten notes) by Percy Naldrett (another subject of one of my books) who had a printing press in his garden and who knew Brown and who was editor (and printer) of The Magic Circular.

In Brown's notes, he says, in part, "Many sincere regards to Mr. Percy Naldrett for assistance with these [this?] manuscript."

One day, I hope to reprint the Brown notes and offer them to Matt Field for publication in The Magic Circular. (Or, I may release in booklet form.) The notes are NOT the same as those in Hall's book, but are a chore to fully understand... So, it's a project for the future... The bits I can read are very interesting, and include a few card trick ideas...

Since I wrote my book on Brown (2005), other tit-bits have been discovered...including said notes!

Best, Paul Gordon
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Postby Guest » 06/18/07 01:41 PM

And let me add the a clip from Whaley's Dictionary Of Magic regarding...

lecture notes
n. The magician's own published account of his lecture-demonstration to an audience of
colleagues.
[common]
Originally terse, ideosyncratic summaries of a magician's lecture-demonstration, these so-called
lecture notes have tended since the 1960s to become rather well-edited and more-or-less wordfor-
word renderings with fairly complete details of handling and presentation. However there
were a few earlier exceptions, the first being possibly Fred C. Figueroa's well-edited The
Abusive Use of Sleights (New York: The Society of American Magicians, 1909).
REF: J. Gary Bontjes, A Checklist of Magic Lecture Notes (1962).
Jargon by 1947 Braue; 1962 Bontjes; 1970 Johnson; 1973 Busby in The Magician's Magazine; 1977 Eckl; 1979 Severn,
107; 1981 R. Klause; 1982 Crosthwaite; 1983 O. Moore; 1984 Kaufman; 1988 Lorraine in New Tops; 1990 Wedler;
1995 Magicians Lecture Network ad in LR; 1997
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