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Society of American Magicians

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Revision as of 18:41, 3 July 2011 by Jpecore (Talk | contribs) (Past Presidents)

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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.

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]

One of the co-founders and member No. 1 was Dr. Saram Ellison.

The S.A.M. offers the opportunity to unite and associate with leaders in the World of Magic - not only professionals, but with amateurs, manufacturers, magic dealers, book authors and magic collectors. 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.

Members have included 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.

Past Presidents

Official Web Site
  1. The Founding of the Society, MUM, November 2001