The history of the Victoria Magic Circle (Submitted by Tony Eng)

The International Brotherhood of Magicians was founded on February 10, 1922, by Len Vintus (M.G. McMullen), Gene Gordon; and Don Rogers (Ernest K. Schieldge). As documented by the IBM, Len Vintus (a Canadian) was the first President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians from 1922 to 1926 and the IBM Headquarters were in Winnipeg,Manitoba. On June 1926, the IBM had its first official magic convention in Kenton,Ohio, which was also the home town of W.W. Durbin who served as IBM President from 1926 to 1937.

At the second convention (also in Kenton, in June 1927), provision was made for the formation of local IBM Rings; ten members were needed to form a Ring (see Linking Ring, October 1927, page 654). The Victoria Magicians made application to form a Ring and were immediately granted Ring #10. It was not until two years later on Monday, May 6th, 1929 (quoted from the Victoria Daily Times), that what is now known as the Victoria Magic Circle was officially formed in the home of Frank Merryfield. Ring #10 at that time called the Victoria Society of Magicians, and it was one of the two IBM Rings that existed in Canada at that time. The other was Ring #17 in Hamilton, Ontario (today, Toronto has Ring #17).

The first President for the Victoria Ring was Frank Merryfield, who was better known in his performing days as the “Cornish Wizard”. The Vice President was A.E. Smith and the Secretary was Wm. (Bill) Harkness who was known as the “Bapco Magician” (later he was known as the “Canadian Houdini”). The following year Wm. Harkness was the President; W.T. Thorne was the Vice President and Geoff Cummings was the Secretary/Treasurer. On their third year, Frank Merryfield again became President with W.T. Thorne as Vice President and Violet Merryfield (Frank Merryfield’s daughter) as Secretary/Treasurer (as stated in the Victoria Daily Times – the actual clipping came from Frank Merryfield’s scrapbook, which is now owned [at the time of writing] by his great grandson, Mike Harrison).

Due to the club’s inactivity in the thirties, they lost their official charter and had to surrender their listing as Ring #10. By 1939, Springfield,MA, seemed to have spoken for Ring #10 and as they were hosting a major regional convention in December 1939, they started planning around August 1939 (as Ring #10), however, the January 1940 Linking Ring lists Ring #10 in its “new and reorganized Ring List – maybe just because of elections. Around 1946, Springfield lost it to Indianapolis, IN, who still have it today.