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Henry Hay

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Henry Hay
BornJune Barrows Mussey
March 30, 1910
New York, USA
DiedJuly 27, 1985 (age 75)
CategoriesBooks by Henry Hay

Henry Hay (b.1910-d.1985) was born June Barrows Mussey in New York City. He started performing when he was only 13 as "Hadji Baba - The Boy Magician." At one point, he toured with his lifelong friend T. Nelson Downs.


His mother appears to be Mabel Hay Barrows Mussey (1873-1940), a dramatic director and dancer. His father Henry Raymond Mussey (1875-1940) was a professor of economics at Columbia and Wellseley and was manager editor of "The Nation" from 1918-1920 and from 1929-1930). His father's academic and literary background might underlie Hay's excellent writing.[1]

Hay graduated from Columbia University when he was only 19.

He spent World War II in the U.S. Marine Corps air intelligence unit and returned to civilian life as a freelance translator. Mussey traveled to Germany in 1950 to work as a foreign corespondent. He ended up moving to Dusseldorf in 1952, where he spent the remainder of his life.

He translated Ottokar Fischer's Illustrated Magic from German to English in 1931 and worked for a time as editor of The Sphinx. He also helped John Mulholland ghostwrite portions of his book, Beware Familiar Spirits (1938).

Using the pseudonym Henry Hay (Hay is believed to be a family name from his mother's side), he authored many classic books on magic for beginners including his most well known The Amateur Magician's Handbook.[2][3][4]



  1. References sent to MagicPedia by Mr. John Hertz. Barrow family papers 1861-1931, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University: call no. MS Am 1807-1807.S
  2. Who's Who in Magic, Sphinx, September, 1932
  3. Obit Genii 1985 November