Magic Organizations, Fraternities and Societies.
- This is currently a work in progress
Prior to 1900
There were not any organized fraternities of magic in the world in prior to the 1900s outside of local social clubs.
L'Academie was the first French Society and possibly the first in the world, although there were very early German and Indian clubs.
The Conjurers' Club in Florence, Italy was in existence in 1887.
In the United States, there were small groups like those that assembled in the "Martinka's Little Back Shop." Known among themselves as "SATURDAY KNIGHTS," because of the fact that it was mostly a Saturday night event. These Saturday night gatherings resulted in a series of social entertainments. This was possibly the first entertainments for magicians by magicians, which were initially held in a little private theater of Martinka & Co.' in New York.
The first real impetus of creating a club for magicians most likely came as a direct result of Mahatma, the first periodical published in United State devoted to the interests of magic, which began publishing in 1895. This periodical introduced magicians to each other, fostering a fraternal feeling.
That same year, W. D. LeRoy was one of the first to attempt in bringing those interested in the art together in an organized body when he proposed the "Grand Lodge of The Magic Mystic Fraternity" in Boston, Mass.
On January 14, 1896, there was issued by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of the State of Massachusetts a charter for a corporation to be known as "The Magic Mystic Fraternity." Its object being to unite fraternally, acceptable men who are recognized performers of ability in the art of magic or sleight-of-hand, or who possess some skill in legerdemain, and the establishment and maintenance of a place for social meetings. This is the first society of its kind ever chartered anywhere with an aim of better fraternal feeling, the protection of each other, and the advancement of its members into the deeper mysteries of the magic realm
However, the Magic Mystic Fraternity did not seem to have gotten any further than to "incorporate," and nothing more was heard of it.
He later organized and became the first President of The Conjurers' Club in Boston. The slogan for the club was "Work-Eat-Play", which was still going strong in 1918.
In, March, 1902, the Sphinx periodical began publishing and by the May issue that year an editorial stated: "Last November I devised a scheme for creating a friendship among all magicians and lovers of magic. I called my society "The Order of The Sphinx." W. D. LeRoy,the Boston agent for the Sphinx, was one of the first to send in his application for membership.
However, after learning about the existence of the newly formed Society of American Magicians in New York in May, 1902 in Martinka's magic shop, "The Order of The Sphinx" was abandoned and they all put their efforts into the helping the SAM, in which LeRoy became member 33 when he was admitted during the first regular monthly meeting of the SAM on June 7, 1902.
By February, 1905, magicians from London, England made an application to the S. A. M. for information regarding organization of a Society of Magicians.
In 1905 the Magic Circle in London was formed.
The first "Annual Dinner" Banquet of the S. A. M. was held Saturday evening, May 27, 1905, at Hotel Vendome in New York.
In 1905, George E. Closson of Troy, New York began sending out a "Prospectus of the Brotherhood of Magicians". By 1906, Closson of Troy, New York founded the Brotherhood of Magicians, most likely to promote his magic business and was president. He handed the organization over to "Mystic," G. E. Heath of Carroll, Iowa in 1918.
By September, 1907, The Australian Magicians asked for information and such data as might prove of service to them in organizing a Society. The Society of Australian Magicians to avoid confusion change their name to "Australian Society of Magicians." (A. S. M.)
During 1908 the first move was made by the S. A. M. toward including magicians outside of the United States. Letters were mailed by the president to the Australian Society, London and Germany. Sympathy with the movement, through a letter written by David Devant, but nothing came from Australia and Germany, so the movement flagged.
Some of the first local independent clubs, after SAM was created, were the Knights of Magic in New York, Demons Club of Baltimore, the Los Angeles Society of Magicians, Spokane Magic Club, Nashville Cercle Magique, The Magic Masters of Chicago in 1910. Later came the Chicago Magicians Club and the Chicago Conjurers Club which took over the charter for the Chicago Assembly #3, Society of American Magicians.
The National Conjurers' Association was formed in 1911 by Charles J. Hagen.
"The Mystics" which was founded in 1909 and lasted to the outbreak of war in 1914.
In 1917, the Pacific Coast Society of Magicians based in San Francisco, merged with SAM as the Golden Gate Assembly.
The Pentacle Club was founded in 1919, consisting of members of Cambridge University who were interested in magic as the successor to "The Mystics".
In 1922, The International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.) was founded by Len Vintus of Canada, and Gene Gordon of the United States.
The Society of Osiris Magicians formed in March, 1923 and incorporated in Maryland was founded by Thomas Worthington.
Scottish Conjurers' Association was the fourth magical society to be founded in the city of Glasgow founded by Duncan Johnstone, Jimmy Findlay, De Vega (Alex M. Stewart) and Richard Armour in 1924.
The Mystic Thirteen was organized in 1932 in a novelty and magic store owned by Ed Schutz. Charter members were Robert Gunther and Carl Stenquist.
The Pacific Coast Association of Magicians (PCAM) was established in 1932 in western USA.
The Wizard's Club was organized in 1932 in the Midwest.
In 1933, the Hull Magicians' Circle was founded by Bert Dexter and Jasper Maskelyne served as Honorary President from 1934 until his death in 1973.
In 1938, the Magician Alliance of Eastern States (MAES) became an outgrowth of the Keystone State Federation of IBM Rings, which held conventions during the 1930s, the last one being held in 1938 at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Around 1942, the Magician's Guild of America started in New York City to support professional magicians with the slogan: "For good entertainment, demand a Magician".
In 1948, The Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM) (International Federation of Magic Societies) was founded as international body coordinating dozens of national and international clubs and federations around the world.
in 1953, the Invisible Lodge was founded as a club for Masonic Magicians by Sir Felix Korim of England.
In 1998, the Canadian Association Of Magicians was formed with a goal to join [[FISM] to sponser Canadian magicians.
- THE ADVENT AND BRIEF HISTORY OF MAGIC FRATERNAL SOCIETIES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA By Oscar S. Teale, Sphinx, January, 1928 thru June, 1928.
- Magical Socieities and the Amateur by Russ Walsh, Sphinx, March 1951.