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W. W. Durbin

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W. W. Durbin
BornWilliam Warner Durbin, Jr.
September 29, 1866
Kenton, Ohio
DiedFebruary 4, 1937 (age 70)
Kenton, Ohio

William W. Durbin (1866-1937) was a politician, magician and owner of the the American Egyptian Hall Theater and Museum from Ohio. He was elected the first elected president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and was editor for their Linking Ring magazine (1927 until 1937).


With a brief career as a professional magician from 1897 to 1902, William "W.W." Durbin was better known as a lawyer and politician in Ohio. He claims he was offered by Kellar to be his successor before it was given to Thurston.

The highlight of his political career was a plum appointment by FDR to serve as Registrar of the U.S. Treasury. Applying his political savvy to the magic arena, he became the first elected president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and an editor for the Linking Ring (1927 until 1937). He also wrote a series entitled "My life in Magic" for the magazine just before he passed away.

Durbin created a tiny Egyptian Hall theater in his home, launched the first magic convention and was an avid, if careless, collector of magic memorabilia. His collection (which he started in 1895) became the nucleus of the Egyptian Hall Museum collection, later stewarded by magic historian David Price, in 1953. Durbin also bestowed a great gift on magic collectors -- to entice top performers -- such as Downs and Cardini -- to appear at I.B.M. conventions, Durbin subsidized the creation of attractive window cards, usually featuring photos of the performers and artwork from their lithographic posters. These beautiful creations have become highly prized by collectors.

His act was described in Holden's Programmes of Famous Magicians.

IBM Ring No. 71 in Ohio is now called the W. W. Durbin Ring in his honor.


  • The Sphinx, Vol. 31. No. 10, December 1932, Who's Who in Magic, page 407
  • Cover The Linking Ring, vol. 3, no. 4, august 1925.
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 13, No. 6, August 1933, newspaper articles from Indianapolis News, page 383, from The Washington Post, page 383, The President of the I.B.M. Receives Appointment from President Roosevelt as Register Of The Treasury at Washington, D. C., page 385
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 15, No. 8, October 1935, "BILL" DURBIN'S LIFE IN MAGIC, AN APPRECIATION BY HENRY R. EVANS, page 667
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 16, No. 12, February 1937, He Is Just Away, by Harry E. Cecil, page 898, "Magic's Loss", by L. O. Gun, page 900, William W. Durbin, by Alphonso, page 901, A Tribute to William W. Durbin, by Dr. Henry Ridgely Evans, page 903
  • Genii Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 6, February 1937, W. W. Durbin, by Wm. W. Larsen, page 13, There Was A Man! By Caryl S. Fleming, page 14, FINIS, by Robert Anderson, page 14
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3, March 1937, SERVICES FOR WM. W. DURBIN, page 14, FINIS, by Robert Anderson, page 30
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 36, No. 1, March 1937, Funeral of W. W. Durbin, By F. W. Gorman, page 11
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 74, No. 8, August 1994, W.W. Durbin, President of the I.B.M., by David Price, page 59
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Durbin, William W. = W.P. Huntington, USA Zauberkünstler, (Amateur); Bankier (*29.07.1877 Kenton, Ohio; †04.02.1937) ) , page 99
  • Linking Rings, William W.Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America by James D. Robenalt (2004)