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Jess Kelley

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Jess Kelley
BornJustin Aloysius Kelley
May 27, 1882
Somerville, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 29, 1948 (age 65)
Cambridge City Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jess Kelley (1882-1948), a clever Boston magician, once showed Nate Leipzig several coin moves that Leipzig later used in his act.[1]


In 1910-11 he assisted professional magician Bill Baker in a vaudeville act billed as "Bill Baker and Jess".[2]

A comical card manipulator, he also began doing a magical clown act throughout New England in the 1920s.[3]

By 1927 he was working clown comedy with Silent Mora.[4]

Max Holden writes in his "TROUPING AROUND IN MAGIC" column for The Sphinx (January, 1928) that Kelley was working at the Jordan Marsh store in Boston doing clown magic and was one of the most talked of entertainers in Boston.

In the October, 1928 issue of The Sphinx, U.F. Grant in the column "NEWS FROM PITTSFIELD, MASS." said that Kelley "should be known as the man of 500 tricks and 1,000 stories."


  • Most original effect at the Boston Society of Magicians "Originality Night" 1924[5]



  1. Linking Ring, Mar 1948, page 79
  2. Linking Ring, March 1943
  3. Billboard, JUNE 21, 1924
  4. Sphinx, July 1927
  5. Sphinx, March 1924
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 47, No. 1, March 1948, Jess Kelley Dies, page 19