Society of American Magicians
The Society of American Magicians, founded on May 10, 1902 in Martinka's famous magic shop in New York City, New York, is the oldest magical society in the world. For over a century it has promoted the ideals shared by Kellar, Houdini, Thurston and over 30,000 others world-wide who have held membership in the society. These ideals include the elevation of the Art of Magic, the promotion of harmony among magicians, and the opposition of the unnecessary public exposure of magical effects.
Through its monthly publications, annual conventions, and with over 250 "Assemblies" throughout the world, the S.A.M. provides the necessary forum for the advancement of magic through discussions, lectures, research, performances, and exchange of magic secrets within the magic community. To promote these endeavors the S.A.M. presents awards and fellowships in recognition of outstanding achievement in the Art of Magic.
On April 26, 1902, thirteen men assembled, with W. Golden Mortimer as the chairman. "The time had come, they agreed, for a real organization of wizards. Committees were appointed to study possible by-laws and other details. Enthusiasm burned bright. Saturday, May 3rd, the group had grown to 23 men, and a week later, May 10th, The Society of American Magicians met for the first time as a permanent organization." Dr. Saram Ellison, one of the co-founders, became member No. 1.
On February 7,1904, Harry Houdini was elected to membership and at the Fourth Annual Dinner Show held on June 4,1908, which included Harry Kellar, Howard Thurston, Signor Deadato, Imro Fox, and T. Nelson Downs, Houdini was named as an Honorary Member.
Over 260 S.A.M. Assemblies have been established world wide. "M-U-M" is the official publication of the S.A.M. The letters stand for "Magic - Unity - Might".
The Society of Young Magicians (S.Y.M.) was established in July, 1984.
In July 2002, the Society celebrated its Centennial Year in New York City along with the US Postal Services which issued a Houdini Commemorative Stamp during the Centennial Celebration.
- Mahatma contained the official Society of American Magicians column beginning in July, 1902 and starting with the September, 1902 issue, it was their official organ.
- The Sphinx became the western organ of the Society of American Magicians with Volume 1 Number 9 (November 1909) and with Volume 8 (March 1909) it started proclaiming itself to be the official organ of the Society of American Magicians.
- M-U-M started in October, 1911 by Charles Roltare. It did not take the place of the SAM's Official Organ, The Sphinx. It was a private circulation, to members only, to discuss intimate subjects pertaining to the precepts of the Society. Its columns were open to members only.
- Starting with the October, 1927, M-U-M was printed within the pages of The Sphinx.
- On May 1932, Sphinx stops declaring itself as the official organ of SAM.
- On September, 1932 issue of Sphinx it starts declaring it contains "Official Reports of the Society of American Magicians and Other" and continues to until February 1936.
- In 1941, the S.A.M. contracted Genii to print their M-U-M as part of the magazine.
- Starting in June, 1951, Milbourne Christopher took over, publishing it again as an independent magazine and MUM has been continuously published ever since.
George Schindler is currently the Dean of the Society of American Magicians, a lifetime appointment. Past Deans include Harry Kellar (the first Dean), Frederick Eugene Powell, Al Baker, Jean Hugard, Herman Hanson, Werner Dornfield, H. Adrian Smith and Jay Marshall.
- 1950 - Chicago: 1,500 attendees
- 1951 - New York City: 1,000 attendees
- 1959 - Chicago: 1,200 attendees
- 1960 - Boston: 1,000 attendees
- 1962 - Cleveland: 800 attendees
- 1964 - New York City - 1,000 attendees
- 1970 - Milwaukee- 500 attendees
- 1973 - Miami Beach - 1,000 attendees
- 2008 - Louisville - 1,900 attendees
- 2014 - St. Louis - 1,400+ attendees
Hall of Fame
On October 25, 1971, the SAM opened their Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame and Magic Museum in Hollywood, California. It featured photographs and hand-drawn portraits of the magicians elected into the Hall of Fame by the National Council upon the recommendations of the National Historians Committee. Magicians elected to the Hall date from Dedi of Ancient Egypt to contemporary stars of magic.
In December 2004, a transformer fire sent toxic fumes into the Washington Mutual Bank Building that housed the Hall of Fame Museum. Local Government officials ordered the building closed until the toxic contaminants could be remediated following EPA procedures. The museum remained sealed and the contents inaccessible for years. Access to artifacts became available in 2010 and the search for a new home for the Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame is currently underway.
- 1902-05 W. Golden Mortimer (Toured the United States as "Mortimer's Mysteries" before becoming a physician.)
- 1905-06 John W. Sargent (Performed as "Sargent the Merry Wizard" and was secretary to Harry Houdini)
- 1906-08 Francis J. Werner (A society entertainer, musician, artist and magician. Also worked for U.S. Customs Service)
- 1908-09 Oscar S. Teale (An architect, illustrator and researcher for Houdini)
- 1909-10 William A. Ransom (Executive Secretary to wealthy railroad businessmen)
- 1910-11 Elmer P. Ransom (Toured America with own show before becoming one of New York's top society entertainer.)
- 1911-12 Charles Roltare (Professional vaudeville magician and first editor of M-U-M)
- 1912-14 Henry Hatton (born Patrick Henry Cannon and stage name around 1867)
- 1914-15 Lionel M. Homburger (The third editor for MUM and later legally changed name to Dr. Lionel Hartley)
- 1915-17 Richard Van Dien (Lived to be 90 and had one of the most extensive magic libraries in New Jersey)
- 1917-26 Harry Houdini (One if the most well known magicians to ever live)
- 1926-27 Bernard M. L. Ernst (Amateur magician and lawyer of Harry Houdini)
- 1927-29 Howard Thurston (Had one of the largest traveling Vaudeville magic show of the time)
- 1929-30 Theodore Hardeen (Brother of Houdini)
- 1930-31 James C. Wobensmith (Author and attorney who patented many of Thurston's illusions)
- 1931-32 Werner F. Dornfield (Known as "Dorny" was close friend of Houdini and Thurston)
- 1932-33 Bertram E. Adams ("New England's busiest magician" whose magic collection is now in the Boston Public Library)
- 1933-34 William H. McCaffrey (One of the best card magicians of his time)
- 1934-35 William R. Walsh (Invented Appearing Cane in 1947)
- 1935-36 Julien J. Proskauer (Published Conjurors' Magazine 1945-1947)
- 1936-37 Irving R. Calkins, M.D. (Surgeon and Olympic pistol expert)
- 1937-38 Theodore T. Golden (Noted Washington D.C. Lawyer)
- 1938-39 Nate Leipzig (One of the Card Stars of the U.S.A.)
- 1939-40 Eugene Bernstein (Prominent Chicago attorney that specialized in hypnosis and spook shows)
- 1940-41 H. Adrian Smith (Magic collector)
- 1941-42 Richard Cardini (Master magician whose career spanned almost half a century)
- 1942-43 Herman Hanson ("Mystic Hanson" worked on Howard Thurston's show and later managed Max Holden's magic shop)
- 1943-44 John B. Handy (Bred miniature rabbits at his estate, "Nolanus", which contained a magic theater)
- 1944-45 Warren E. Simms (Professional magician, ventriloquist billed as "the White House magician")
- 1945-46 Raymond F. Muse
- 1946-47 Bert Allerton
- 1947-48 Charles C. Slayton
- 1948-49 John McArdle
- 1949-50 Dr. Harlan Tarbell
- 1950-51 Richard DuBois
- 1951-52 Ace Gorham
- 1952-53 Leslie P. Guest
- 1953-55 William R. Greenough
- 1956-57 Charles O. Schoke
- 1957-58 Milbourne Christopher
- 1958-59 Hugh Riley
- 1955-56 Lloyd E. Jones
- 1959-60 Thomas K. Hawbecker
- 1960-61 William J. McCarthy
- 1961-62 Neil C. Doren, M.D.
- 1962-63 George E. Mueller, M.D.
- 1963-64 Edward Schneider
- 1964-65 J. Ronald Haines
- 1965-66 James C. Johnson, M.D.
- 1966-67 John U. Zweers
- 1967-68 Vynn Boyar
- 1968-69 Edward A. Schuman
- 1969-70 Forrest F. Sample
- 1970-71 Bradley M. Jacobs
- 1971-72 J. Gary Bontjes
- 1972-73 Edward E. Mishell
- 1973-74 Richard L. Gustafson
- 1974-75 William P. Dunbaugh
- 1975-76 Dr. Roy Kupsinel
- 1976-77 Charles W. Brigham
- 1977-78 Donald E. Lea
- 1978-79 Roy A. Snyder
- 1979-80 Bruce Fletcher
- 1980-81 James Zachary
- 1981-82 Henry Moorehouse
- 1982-83 Herb Downs
- 1983-84 Frank W. Dailey
- 1984-85 Raymond M. Corbin
- 1985-86 Cesareo R. Pelaez
- 1986-87 David R. Goodsell
- 1987-88 William E. Andrews
- 1988-89 Robert A. Steiner (?-2013)
- 1989-90 Fr. Cyprian Murray, OFM, Cap.
- 1990-91 Margaret Dailey
- 1991-92 Michael D. Douglass
- 1992-93 George Schindler
- 1993-94 Dan Rodriguez
- 1994-95 Dan Garrett
- 1995-96 Don Oltz
- 1996-97 Craig Dickson
- 1997-98 Loren Lind
- 1998-99 Gary Hughes
- 1999-2000 Harry Monti
- 2000-2001 Jann Goodsell
- 2001-2002 Warren Kaps
- 2002-2003 Ed Thomas
- 2003-2004 Jay Gorham
- 2004-2005 John W. Apperson
- 2005-2006 Rich Dooley
- 2006-2007 Andy Dallas
- 2007-2008 Maria Ibanez
- 2008-2009 Bruce Kalver
- 2009-2010 Mike Miller
- 2010-2011 Mark Weidhaas
- 2011-2012 Vinny Grosso
- 2012-2013 Christopher Bontjes
- 2013-2014 Dal Sanders
- 2014-2015 Kenrick Ice McDonald
- 2015-2016 David W. Bowers
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