Help us get to over 8,752 articles in 2024.

If you know of a magician not listed in MagicPedia, start a New Biography for them. Contact us at

Society of American Magicians

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
(Redirected from S.A.M.)
Jump to: navigation, search

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."[1] 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.

Members over the years have included many professional magicians including Harry Blackstone, Jr., Siegfried & Roy, Lance Burton and David Copperfield.

Official Organs

  • 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.


The S.A.M. and I.B.M. produced a combined convention during these years:[2]

  • 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.[3]

Past Presidents

Official Web Site


  1. The Founding of the Society, MUM, November 2001
  2. [SAMtalk] Digest Number 5245, June 12, 2014