The world of magic has fascinated for centuries. With the popularity of the circus rising in the mid-19th to early-20th centuries in America, magicians became celebrity figures, celebrated and revered. Pictures above is a wonderful and very rare, 1910-11 volume of The Magician Annual. The book was compiled and edited by Will Goldston, and published by The Magician Ltd. It was a fascinating and quite beautiful 102-page volume that included three colored plates and over three hundred illustrations. Bound in its original, elaborate, pictorial red cloth covers, the front board included an image of an Indian magician.
The book has a broad range of contents, from stage juggling, to the history of playing, pocket tricks, illusions, and biographical information on various magicians of the Period. It is filled with a variety of interesting articles, from trick descriptions to pattern suggestions, from biographical information to theory. Among others, there is a trick contribution by Harry Houdini.
The Table of Contents includes:
The Scribe, The Failure, and The Magician (JOHN KEYMAN)
Amateur Conjurer’s Accessories (GEORGE JOHNSON)
The Magic of Suggestion (PROFESSOR HOFFMANN)
New Patter for Popular Problems (WOOLFE CLYNE)
Wine v. Water (CHRIS VAN BERN)
Telepathic Materialization (MAX STERLING)
Original Tricks (“ELLIOT”)
Magicians I Have Met (WILL GOLDSTON)
Some Clever Box Mysteries Exposed (JAY GEE)
Original Stage Mysteries (COLLINS & BRETMA)
The League of Magicians (WILL GOLDSTON)
Something to Startle the Public (EDGAR TURNER)
Other People’s Ideas (THE EDITOR)
Fêke Mediums (“KATCHEM”)
Can the Dead Speak? (HENRY BYATT)
Spanish Maiden Escape (HARRY HOUDINI)
Quick Change Secrets (LEE LAURIE)
Mysterious Stage Illusions (WILL GOLDSTON)
Other Coloured Plates
The book’s editor, Will Goldston was born Wolf Goldstone in Liverpool, England. He was of Jewish parentage, and at age of 11 or 12 became inspired by a box of tricks given to him as a present. In 1892, Goldston was studying with Prof. Alexander and reading Hoffmann’s Modern Magic. He debuted as apprentice at age 17 in 1898. He was also known as “Carl Devo” (circa 1898-1907), initially with Black Art. He moved from Professional Magician to a Professional Magic Dealer and managed the Conjuring, Theatrical, and Entertainment Departments at Gamages 1905-14. Goldston founded “The Magicians’ Club” in 1911, serving as Treasurer throughout but running it as a one-man self-serving club, until it passed into limbo during WW II. He was also the owner-manager of Aladdin House (Will Goldston Ltd) 1914-48 in London.
The majority of the text is instruction, not only in the mechanics of various magic tricks and illusions, but more importantly, guidance for the would-be magician regarding stage presence, conduct before an audience, timing, misdirection and general demeanor. The remainder is biographical and historical material on magicians and their craft. The world of magicians have always found their place in books, past and present, and this was an exemplary tome of the tricks of the trade.