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John Wyman

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John Wyman
BornJohn Wyman Jr.
January 19, 1816
Albany, New York
DiedJuly 31, 1881 (age 65)
Burlington, New Jersey
Resting placeOak Grove Cemetery, Fall River MA
CategoriesBooks by John Wyman

John Wyman Jr. (1816-1881), born in in Albany, New York, was a successful magician and ventriloquist, billed as "Wyman the Wizard". He entertained several U.S. Presidents, including Martin Van Buren, Millard Filmore and four times for Abraham Lincoln. For a time, Wyman was under the management of P. T. Barnum.


Wyman was one of the first performers to present "Gift Shows". These were performances where the performer gave gifts or prizes like gold and silver watches at the end of his shows. He was known for giving quality prizes. Houdini called Wyman "one of the most honest men of our profession". He was one of the most financially prosperous entertainers of his time.

During his career, he lived in Baltimore Md, Washington D.C. and made Philadelphia his home where he continued to live after his retirement from the stage. He later moved to New Jersey, where he owned real estate, and died in Burlington.

Wyman may have been the first performer in the U.S. to present a full evening show as well as the first to perform the Bullet Catch routine.[1][2][3]

His wife or sister, Miss J. E. Wyman, toured with him for a number of years when she was about 16.[4]

He is listed in the U.S. Federal Census of 1850 as living in the 3rd ward 2nd precinct of Warm Spring, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. He is listed as having been born in Massachusetts, is age 35 and living with his wife Jane E. Wyman who is age 30 and born in Rhode Island, and their daughter Ella J. Wyman, age 2, born in New York. His occupation is listed as Ventriloquist.[5]


  • Wyman's Hand-Book of Magic (1850)
  • Ventriloquism Made Easy Also An Exposure of Magic by Our Ned (E. Mason Jr.) published by Wyman the Wizard (1860)
  • Jokes and Anecdotes of Wyman, the Magician & Ventriloquist, published in Philadelphia in (1866)


  4. Wyman the Wizard by John Mulholland Sphinx March 1945