Interested in magic history?

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
JBA Janson
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Joined: January 21st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Interested in magic history?

Postby JBA Janson » September 21st, 2001, 4:32 am

There might still be some magicians out there interested in magic history and related subjects and not having info of the best associations or publications. Here some info:

In 1950 The Magic Collectors' Association was founded and it is still alive today, stronger than ever with some 400-500 members (I think) around the world. They publish MAGICOL, an interesting magazine about magic history 4 times a year (the last issue is no 140!).

Every year in April-May we have a big convention nowadays most often in Schaumburg outside Chicago. During four days 200-300 historians/collectors from all over the world meet to listen to interesting lectures, see old tricks seldom performed and most important, talk with each other.
There is also a very big dealer set up, where you can buy antiquarian and out of print stuff - very often the books that got away and you now are looking for!

Every year there is a guest of honor, whom you have a good chance to meet and talk to. Here just a few from early years: Al Flosso, Sid Lorraine, Dorny, Gene Gordon, Walter Gibson, Stewart James, Milbourne Christopher, Marion Nicola, Will Rock, Jane Thurston, Virgil&Julie, John Calvert and from recent years Jay Marshall, Teller, David Ben, Gay Blackstone, Paul Daniels. And they are all very accessable during our meetings.

You might also become a collector of magic stuff!! There are illusions, tricks, Houdiniana, books, posters, photos, ephemeria, magazines, business cards, magic mirrors etc etc!! Or you can do like some guys - THEY WANT IT ALL!

Access to all this will cost you ONLY $ 20 a year and here is where you send your money:

Magic Collectors' Association
PO BOX 511
Glenwood, Ill 60425-0511 US

For many early years Jay & Francis Marshall and the Chicago boys were the great engine behind the club and the early "conventions" were in the back rooms of Magic Inc and the small theatre there. Great times. Today David Meyer and wife Anita and Tom Ewing carry the major workload with a lot of help from other members.

Do join the club and go to one convention. You will never regret it - and your understanding and respect for magic will forever change. You might even become a better performer!

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Matthew Field
Posts: 2740
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Slydini
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Re: Interested in magic history?

Postby Matthew Field » September 21st, 2001, 9:20 am

Allow me to second JBA's recommendation about the Magic Collector's Asociation. I am not a magic collector and have little interest in collecting, can't attend the MCA convention, but my $20 membership is some of the best money I've ever spent. The Magicol magazine, small though it is, has great articles by and about legends such as Dorny, great photos of apparatus and illusions from Tad Ware and others, reminscences from the likes of Jay Marshall -- long live the M.C.A.!

Matt Field

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Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6809
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California

Re: Interested in magic history?

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 21st, 2001, 2:07 pm

Me-Three! I'm a budding (but broke) collector and the history of our craft is a passion of mine. Magicol is a terrific little magazine. If you have even a glimmer of interest in magic's wondrous past, a membership in the MCA (and the subscription to Magicol that comes with it) is a must. I believe the dues are going up to $24 – but it's still a bargain!


JBA Janson
Posts: 37
Joined: January 21st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Re: Interested in magic history?

Postby JBA Janson » September 22nd, 2001, 4:17 am

To complete the info about magic history/magic collecting I must also mention two bodies with great contributions over the years: New England Magic Collectors Association and The Los Angeles Conference on Magic History. Here some info:

The New England Magic Collectors Association was founded some 20 years ago and was set up to bring together people interested in magic history/magic collecting living in Northeast US. Driving forces among many were Ray and Ann Goulet and Ed Hill.
The club has two very interesting activities; they publish "The Yankee Magic Collector", and they arrange every second year "The Yankee Gathering".
The publication, last issue no 9 of some 140 pages, contains highly interesting articles about magic history and collecting. Editors are Ed Hill and Bob Schoof and you can buy it for some $25 from
Ray Goulet
137 Spring Street
Watertown, MA 02472
and they might also have some back copies left even if the print run is only 175. Great reading!

The Yankee Gatherings, normally in Salem or Cambridge(the latest was no. VIII in Nov 2000 in Salem) are great four days events full of lectures, shows, auctions and face to face discussions. They always also stage a very interesting exhibition!
This event is by invitation only to historians outside the Club. If you live in North East why not become a member and have direct access to all this!? Ray and Ann Goulet have now handed over the responsibility to the younger generation and they being full of energy and knowledge you can look forward to great activities.

The Los Angeles Conference on Magic History was started in 1989 after an initiative by Mike Caveney, John Gaughan, Ricky Jay (now replaced by Frankie Glass), Joan Lawton and Jim Steinmeyer. In November, in alternative years to the Yankee Gathering, they arrange a three day conference in North Hollywood, full of high quality lectures and events. Often a superb exhibition, especially during the years when Ricky Jay was still curator for the Huntingdon Library. Mikes buying of the Egyptian Museum will of course guarantee plenty of material for future exhibitions!
One speciality of this meeting is the John Gaughan restoration and the subsequent performance of some historically significant magic illusions. My greatest experience was to see the Dr Hooker Card Rise after a hiatus of 60 years - unbelievable! Other remarkable feats were The Blue Room and the Maskelyne Levitation - among many! With such talents as for example John Carney and Tina Lenert, these are great moments!
Of course there are also a lot of dealers, with interesting stuff and normally you visit Magic Castle, especially when The Professor and my very good friend Larry J. were still around.
Because of desire to keep the conference intimate, it is by invitation only. However for the Big Show on Saturday they normally run this in the big show room, so that many more LA locals can attend.
I am really looking forward to the 7th Conference in November this year!

You should also note that from Tuesday Nov 14 the Getty Museum will open an exhibition: "Devices of Wonder" with material from the collections of Ricky Jay and John Gaughan!! A must see event!

Finally I wish to point you to a publication that is a great value for the magic historian: "PERENNIAL MYSTICS", which is published and edited by Jim Hagy of Chicago.
The latest is #16 and it is published once or twice a year. It contains great historical material. #16 has 85 pages and the major article is by Bill Kalush, in which he gives an interim report on his great project to find early (he means really EARLY) books on magic! His earliest so far is from around 840 AD written by an Englishman in Latin describing an arithmetic trick!! This book was on the market from a mere $ 1.000.000!
Each issue of Perenniel costs in US $ 20 and you can contact
Jim Hagy
2373 Arbeleda Lane
Northbrook, ILL 60062
ask also about back issues!

Finally - I just learned that The Collectors Meeting for 2002 will be in Texas, Dallas! So you Southeners - join the club and see you in Dallas next year!!

[ September 22, 2001: Message edited by: Richard Kaufman ]


Re: Interested in magic history?

Postby Guest » September 28th, 2001, 2:15 am

Entering into this conversation late, I want to add a note about Magical Past-Times: the On-line Journal of Magic History.

Gary Hunt and Fred Evans make this site happen, and I have found it fascinating. Some wonderful stories and essays have appeared on the site.

-My $.02-


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