In the beginning…
Magic and magicians have certainly been in and around Atlanta for a very long time, but the purpose here is to trace the roots of our club, Ring 9 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, as far back as can reasonably be accomplished. As you read this you will learn about the oldest magic club in Atlanta, IBM and SAM affiliations, and which came first, the original name of our club, and a national reorganization that changed our original designation.
The genesis of our club can be traced back to the original “Atlanta Society of Magicians”. The first mention we can find of this is from the March 1925 Sphinx, which mentions that the “Atlanta Society of Magicians” had been organized the previous September 1924. Organizing members were: Dr. F.E. Van der Veer, Julian V. Boehm, S.B Blodgett, Kenneth Keyes, J Edgar Hunnicutt Jr, Allan Gottschaldt, H.R. Hulse, W.D. Alexander, and E.C. Creighton. It is important to note that although the Sphinx was at the time the publication of the “Society of American Magicians”, the “Atlanta Society of Magicians” remained unaffiliated for many years. Its activities were published in both the Sphinx and the Linking Ring (the IBM publication)! In this time frame, magic as a hobby is growing in popularity. And as the IBM begins a period of rapid growth, in June 1927, IBM adopts a new Constitution and Bylaws.
The first mention of an Atlanta club applying for membership in the IBM dates to January 1931, when Atlanta was chartered as Ring 57 and held its first official meeting. The first President was George Kitsinger, first VP was F.E. Van der Veer, J.A. Lambert was Secretary, the Treasurer was Jerry Seal. By March of that year ring reports show that the club was also known as the “Gate City Ring”, at the time one of Atlanta’s nicknames was “The Gate City” or the “Gateway to the New South.” You can see that names are already appearing as members of both Ring 57 and the Atlanta Society of Magicians. In May of 1939 founding member of the “Atlanta Society of Magicians” and the original IBM Ring 57 Vice President, Dr. F.E. Van der Veer, dies. June 1938, IBM adopts a new Constitution and Bylaws, apparently because the preceding constitution had weak language as it related to membership and the collection of dues. With the powers of the new constitution, in March of 1939, both Atlanta’s Ring 57 and Columbus Ohio’s Ring 9 (among many others) are declared inactive and lose their charters.
By June of 1939, Atlanta Ring 57 had reorganized and renamed itself. Now with the name “Georgia Magic Club,” it reapplied for charter with IBM. That charter is granted, and we are assigned the designation of Ring 9, taking that moniker from the Columbus Ohio club. By April of 1940, Atlanta’s Ring 9 was holding regular meetings and filing reports with the Linking Ring. In February of that same year the Atlanta Society of Magicians decided to affiliate with the Society of American Magicians (SAM) and was granted charter as Assembly 30.