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History of the S.A.M.




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 and most prestigious magical society in the world. For over a century it has promoted the ideals shared by Kellar, Houdini, Thurston and more than 50,000 others world-wide who have held membership in the society. Those 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.

The S.A.M. offers the opportunity to unite and associate with leaders in the World of Magic – not only professionals, but amateurs, manufacturers, magic dealers, book authors and magic collectors. Through its monthly publications, annual conventions, and with almost 300 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 those endeavors the S.A.M. presents awards and fellowships in recognition of outstanding achievement in the Art of Magic.

If you have a serious interest in the Art of Magic then you, too, can follow in the footsteps of Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Siegfried & Roy, Lance Burton and David Copperfield by joining the most prestigious magical organization in the world – The Society of American Magicians.

The Society of American Magicians Historical Notes

  • The Society of American Magicians was established on May 10,1902, in New York City, with a membership of 24.
  • On February 7, 1903, Ehrich Weiss (a.k.a. Harry Houdini) was elected to membership.
  • The Fourth Annual Dinner Show held on June 4,1908, included Harry Kellar, Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Signor
    Deadato, Imro Fox, T. Nelson Downs, and others!
  • In June, 1917, Harry Houdini was elected National President of the S.A.M., a position he held until his untimely death on October 31, 1926.
  • Over 250 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. Nearly 100 S.Y.M. Assemblies have been established since that time. The official publication of the S.Y.M. is The “Magic SYMbol.”
  • In July 2002, the Society celebrated its Centennial Year in New York City.
  • Also in July of 2002, on the 3rd, the US Postal Services issued a Houdini Commemorative Stamp during the Centennial Celebration

Deans of The Society of American Magicians

Harry Kellar 1910-1922
Frederick Eugene Powell 1922-1938
Al Baker 1941-1951
Jean Hugard 1952-1959
Herman Hanson 1959-1973
Werner F. Dornfield 1974-1982
H. Adrian Smith 1983-1992
Jay Marshall 1992-2005
George Schindler 2005

Past National Presidents of The Society of American Magicians

1902-05 W. Golden Mortimer*
1905-06 John W. Sargent*
1906-08 Francis J. Werner*
1908-09 Oscar S. Teale*
1909-10 William A. Ransom*
1910-11 Elmer P. Ransom*
1911-12 Charles Roltare*
1912-14 Henry Hatton*
1914-15 Lionel M. Homburger*
1915-17 Richard Van Dien*
1917-26 Harry Houdini*
1926-27 Bernard M. L. Ernst*
1927-29 Howard Thurston*
1929-30 Theodore Hardeen*
1930-31 James C. Wobensmith*
1931-32 Werner F. Dornfield*
1932-33 Bertram E. Adams*
1933-34 William H. McCaffrey*
1934-35 William R. Walsh*
1935-36 Julien J. Proskauer*
1936-37 Irving R. Calkins, M.D.*
1937-38 Theodore T. Golden*
1938-39 Nate Leipzig*
1939-40 Eugene Bernstein*
1940-41 H. Adrian Smith*
1941-42 Richard Cardini*
1942-43 Herman Hanson*
1943-44 John B. Handy*
1944-45 Warren E. Simms*
1945-46 Raymond F. Muse*
1946-47 Bert Allerton*
1947-48 Charles C. Slayton*
1948-49 John McArdle*
1949-50 Dr. Harlan Tarbell*
1950-51 Richard DuBois*
1951-52 Austin C. Gorham*
1952-53 Leslie P. Guest*
1953-55 William R. Greenough*
1956-57 Charles O. Schoke*
1957-58 Milbourne Christopher*
1958-59 Hugh R. Riley*
1955-56 Lloyd E. Jones*
1959-60 Thomas K. Hawbecker*
1960-61 William J. McCarthy*
1961-62 Neil C. Doren, M.D.*
1962-63 George E. Mueller, M.D.*
1963-64 Edward Schneider*
1964-65 J. Ronald Haines
1965-66 James C. Johnson, M.D.*
1966-67 John U. Zweers*
1967-68 Vynn Boyar*
1968-69 Edward A. Schuman*

1969-70 Forrest F. Sample*
1970-71 Bradley M. Jacobs
1971-72 J. Gary Bontjes*
1972-73 Edward E. Mishell*
1973-74 Richard L. Gustafson
1974-75 William P. Dunbaugh*
1975-76 Dr. Roy Kupsinel*
1976-77 Charles W. Brigham*
1977-78 Donald E. Lea*
1978-79 Roy A. Snyder
1979-80 Bruce Fletcher
1980-81 James Zachary*
1981-82 Henry Moorehouse*
1982-83 Herb Downs*
1983-84 Frank W. Dailey*
1984-85 Raymond M. Corbin*
1985-86 Cesareo R. Pelaez*
1986-87 David R. Goodsell
1987-88 William E. Andrews*
1988-89 Robert A. Steiner*
1989-90 Fr. Cyprian Murray, OFM, Cap.*
1990-91 Margaret Dailey*
1991-92 Michael D. Douglass
1992-93 George Schindler
1993-94 Dan Rodriguez
1994-95 Dan Garrett
1995-96 Don Oltz
1996-97 Craig Dickson
1997-98 Loren Lind
1998-99 Gary Hughes
1999-2000 Harry Monti
2000-2001 Jann Goodsell
2001-2002 Warren Kaps
2002-2003 Ed Thomas*
2003-2004 Jay Gorham
2004-2005 John W. Apperson
2005-2006 Rich Dooley
2006-2007 Andy Dallas
2007-2008 Maria Ibanez
2008-2009 Bruce Kalver
2009-2010 Mike Miller
2010-2011 Mark Weidhaas
2011-2012 Vinny Grosso
2012-2013 Christopher Bontjes
2013-2014 Dal Sanders
2014-2015 Kenrick Ice McDonald
2015-2016 David Bowers
2016-2017 Jeff Sikora
2017-2018 Dick Bowman
2018-2019 Ron Ishimaru
2019-2020 Steven Spence


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