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Anderson, John Henry (1814–1874), conjuror  

E. D. Cook


Anderson, John Henry (1814–1874), conjuror, known as ‘the Great Wizard of the North’, was born on 16 July 1814 on the estate of Craigmyle, Kincardine, the eldest child of John Anderson of Aberdeen, a mason, and his wife, Mary Robertson. He was apprenticed at ...


Brown, Henry [known as Henry Box Brown] (d. 1897), slavery abolitionist and magician  

Kathleen Chater

Brown, Henry [known as Henry Box Brown] (d. 1897), slavery abolitionist and magician, was born a slave on a plantation in Louisa county, about forty-five miles from Richmond, Virginia, USA, about 1815. His first master was relatively kind but when he died ...


Cooper, Thomas Frederick [Tommy] (1921–1984), comedian  

Marc Brodie

Cooper, Thomas Frederick [Tommy] (1921–1984), comedian, was born on 19 March 1921 at Caerphilly, Glamorgan, the elder of the two sons of Thomas Cooper, coalminer, and his wife, Catherine Gertrude Wright. Although born in Wales, Cooper was brought up mainly in Exeter (where he attended ...


Cover Cooper, Thomas Frederick [Tommy] (1921–1984)

Cooper, Thomas Frederick [Tommy] (1921–1984)  

Maker: Michael Dyer


Thomas Frederick Cooper (1921–1984) by Michael Dyer, 1976 © Michael Dyer; collection National Portrait Gallery, London


Daniels, Newton Edward (Paul) (1938–2016), magician and entertainer  

Barry Murray

Daniels, Newton Edward (Paul) (1938–2016), magician and entertainer, was born at 51 North Street, South Bank, Eston, Yorkshire, on 6 April 1938, the elder son of Handel Newton (Hughie) Daniels (1914–1991), cinema projectionist, and his wife, Nancy, née Lloyd...


Cover Devant, David (1868–1941)

Devant, David (1868–1941)  

Maker: unknown photographer


David Devant (1868–1941) by unknown photographer [detail] V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum


Devant, David [real name David Wighton] (1868–1941), conjuror and illusionist  

Edwin A. Dawes

Devant, David [real name David Wighton] (1868–1941), conjuror and illusionist, was born on 22 February 1868 at 4 Boston Terrace, Holloway, London, eldest of the eight children (five daughters and three sons) of James Wighton (1835/6–1901), a Scottish artist, and his wife, ...


Fawkes, Isaac (d. 1731), magician  

Helen Stoddart

Fawkes, Isaac (d. 1731), magician, is first recorded in newspaper puffs promoting his booth at Bartholomew fair in 1722. It is clear from their references to his patronage by the prince of Wales and the extent of his public renown that his reputation had been set for some time before this. Until 1726 ...


See North Berwick witches


Lewis, Angelo John [pseud. Professor Hoffmann] (1839–1919), journalist and writer on magic  

Brenda Assael

Lewis, Angelo John [pseud. Professor Hoffmann] (1839–1919), journalist and writer on magic, was born on 23 July 1839 at Crescent Place, St Pancras, London, the eldest of four surviving sons of John Lewis, a coal merchant and subsequently a clerk in the court of chancery, and his wife, ...


Maskelyne, John Nevil (1839–1917), magician  

Anne Pimlott Baker


Maskelyne, John Nevil (1839–1917), magician, was born on 22 December 1839 at 20 White Hart Row, Cheltenham, the son of John Nevil Maskelyne, a saddler, and his wife, Harriet Brunsdon. He was descended from the astronomer royal Nevil Maskelyne, who had a crater on the moon named after him. He was apprenticed to a watchmaker, and as a boy was a keen amateur conjuror, giving a public performance of his own tricks at the age of sixteen. In 1865 his exposure of the famous spiritualists the ...