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Clay Shevlin
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Profile of Clay Shevlin
For those of you interested in the history of magic, there is a new book, entitled "Magic on the Early English Stage," written by Philip Butterworth. Friends have said that there is a great bibliography of conjuring and related books, and chapters on tumblers, jugglers and magicians. There is also discussion of rare old magic books such as Hocus Pocus Jr. and Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft.

Here are the particulars:

Philip Butterworth
Magic on the Early English Stage
295 pages. Cambridge University Press, 2005. £48.00 ($85.00)
ISBN: 052182513X (Hardback)

In the U.S., the cheapest price seems to be from, at around $72 plus shipping. They are located in Avenel, NJ. You can write them at

I hope the conjuring community supports this work. Truly scholarly publications on magic history are very rare, and deserve a boost from all of us.

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Profile of Damon
Thanks for the tip, Clay. It will be put on my buy and read list!

There is a good review of the book at the link below.

To expand a little on Clay’s history theme, which is near and dear to my heart, and my favorite area of magic and book collecting, check out the books I’ve listed below. The first two may be a little difficult to locate nowadays, but well worth the hunt if you truly enjoy magic’s history.

A wonderful book about magicians in early American history is Charles Pecor’s “The Magician on the American Stage: 1752-1874”. I think it was published back in 1977. It has been almost 20 years since I read my copy, but still remember it as being a great read. It was bound in a rather stiff awkward binding however. Time to pull it off the shelf for a re-read.

Another is “Houdini’s History of Magic in Boston: 1792-1915. David Meyer published it sometime back in the early 1980’s. I’m not near my library so I can’t be more specific. I’ll be back home a few days if someone needs more info.

Lastly, and this book should be readily available from your favorite dealer for around $75 is Edwin Dawes, “Stanley Collins: Conjuror, Collector and Iconoclast”. It is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read! And that covers a lot of books on magic and magic history! If you enjoy good magic, stories of famous books, authors, collectors, book collections, and magicians of the first half of the last century, it’s all here! In one chapter, Collins has some rather remarkable opinions of most of the above. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. I’d enjoy hearing from others who have read the book for their thoughts. Hope this is the right forum for that?

Happy history hunting! Mark Damon
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