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Topic: Richard potter
Message: Posted by: magicswan (Jul 15, 2004 09:32PM)
Does anyone have any information on this magician? I know he was the first American born magician,who also happened to be of African descent. Born in Mass., and I know some of his effects but I would like to know if anyone has pictures or anything. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Ronin (Jul 16, 2004 12:47AM)
I assume you've read "Magical Heroes: The Lives and Legends of Great African American Magicians" by Jim Magus and "Conjure Times: Black Magicians in America" by Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson? If not, they'd be good places to start.

I read "Conjure Times" and really enjoyed it; that and the recent Genii article on Potter are the only things I've read about him. The bibliography and notes from "Conjure Times" give other sources you could check.
Message: Posted by: magicswan (Jul 16, 2004 05:35PM)
Yeah I have that book,i was really pleased to know that actually exsists. yeah I got the same info from another book.it's to bad that a lot of older history books on magic don't really include us,but that's how all history books are I guess.thanks
Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Jul 18, 2004 04:38PM)
To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr, I hope and believe that one day a magician will be judged by his/her ability to entertain an audience, not by the color of their skin or the gender of their sex.

Here's to your making history!

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2004 10:28PM)
There is a book called [i]Conjuror's Journal[/i] by Frances Shine. It is a fictional account of a magician who, according to the author, owes a lot to Richard Potter. Although it is fiction, it has some interesting material in it, including the names of some other people who did research on Potter.

Also, a few years ago in [i]The Linking Ring[/i] there were some articles about magicians of color by T.A. Waters. It might be of some value in your research on Potter to look them up.
Message: Posted by: magicswan (Jul 20, 2004 05:31PM)
Rick ,yeah, but unfortunately that's the first thing people see, you know it & I know it. that's the world we live in.sucks.thanks bill, I'll tr to find that book.
Message: Posted by: Woofledust (Jul 20, 2004 09:23PM)
Robert Olson performed shows based on the magic of Richard Potter for years at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA. I believe he had some sort of research position there also. He was certainly an authority on Potter and his magic. I used to see him every year performing "colonial era magic" at the Woodstock Fair in Connecticut, but he hasn't been there the past couple of years or so. You might contact the museum and see if he is still active or where he might be reached.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 21, 2004 01:12PM)
On 2004-07-20 18:31, magicswan wrote:
Rick ,yeah, but unfortunately that's the first thing people see, you know it & I know it. that's the world we live in.sucks.thanks bill, I'll tr to find that book.

It may be the first thing people see, but it isn't necessarily the first thing people react to.

What sucks is when people react to the wrong thing. Wise people wait to react.

But I do know what you mean. I've seen it from both sides.
Message: Posted by: magicswan (Jul 22, 2004 09:45PM)
Wow.sturbridge huh? I used to go there when I was a kid.but that was in the 80's.cool thanks.
Message: Posted by: Ronin (Jul 23, 2004 01:51AM)
This question has nagged at me, so I did a quick web search and came up with the contact address for the Andover, NH Historical Society (Potter's town or residence and his final resting place):

Andover Historical Society
PO Box 167
Andover, NH 03216

I couldn't find an email address, unfortunately. But the page I found said that "the society will attempt to respond to research questions." The webpage where I found the info is http://www.rootsweb.com/~nhcandov/

The AHS maintains, among other things, a display of railroad memorabilia in the Potter Place Railroad Station, located in the Potter Place neighborhood of Andover. And yes, Potter Place is named after Richard!

It appears that many of the town's historical records are maintained through the town library (contact: Pauline Richards, 603-735-5333).
Message: Posted by: Woofledust (Jul 23, 2004 10:30AM)

Did a little more searching regarding Olson since I haven't seen him for some time. It seems he is still with Old Sturbridge Village, but more importantly, he is performing at the Clark Art Institute in Williamson, MA on July 25. There is an [url=]online press release[/url], which indicates he still doing Richard Potter effects. If the link doesn't work, just do a search on the institute name and get to it that way. If there was anyway I could get there on Sunday I would go myself, but I unfortunately have other committments.

Even if you cannot take advantage of this, it is good to know that Robert Olson is still very active in keeping Richard Potter's heritage alive.
Message: Posted by: magicswan (Jul 23, 2004 11:44AM)
Wow, you guys rock!!!!! I love it when a plan comes together. I'll check it out. Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Aug 1, 2004 11:17PM)
Hi Magic Swan:

There's a decent amount of material (with illustrations) on Potter in Milbourne Christopher's "The Illustrated History of Magic" (easy to find used copies at a low price and essential if you are a student of magic history) and David Price's "Magic A Pictorial History of Conjurers in the Theater" (difficult to find and expensive when you find it, but another essential book for magic historians).

Also, though not related to Richard Potter, if you are interested in early black magicians, you should look into doing some research on Black Herman The Zulu Magician (if memory is correct, his real name was Herman Rucker). I suspect he may have been living in New York at some point, but he seems to have flourished in the 1920's and 30's, and he published a pretty large pitchbook, which apparently went through several editions (I have copies of the 14th and 15th editions), variously titled "Black Hermanís Easy Pocket Tricks Which You Can Do" (160 pp) and "Black Hermanís Secrets of Magic - Mystery & Legerdemain" (1938, 126 pp).

If his pitchbooks are any indication, Black Herman was a real character and could advertise with the best of them. There are some great pictures in his pitchbooks, like the one showing him in a garden, captioned something like "Herman and his family harvesting herbs to save the nation."

People are very slow to change, but just do your thing and you'll be alright. Good luck with your research.