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James Barton

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James Barton

Cover of Sphinx (Aug 1912)
BornJames L. Barton
April 21, 1858
St. Louis, Missouri
DiedApril 30, 1935 (age 77)
Clemington, New Jersey

James Barton (1858-1935) performed as "El Barto" and "Barton, The Merry Wizard" in the lyceum, vaudeville and private engagements. [1]


Barton began as an apprentice to Signor Blitz for several years when he was only eleven before starting his own career in 1874.[2]

He became very active in the magic society and became known as "Uncle Jim". In 1929, he was honored by a dinner in Philadelphia as the "Dean of Philadelphia magicians." He became President of the SAM Philadelphia Assembly No. 4 and the first president of IBM Philadelphia Ring No. 6.

His most successful years were from 1920 until his retirement in 1934, where he was one of the oldest magicians to play Lyceum. Barton announced his retirement from Lyceum at the 1934 convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians at the age of 76. He died the following year.


  1. Linking Ring February 1934
  2. Vaudeville, Old and New by Frank Cullen, Florence Hackman, Donald McNeilly (2007)