The History of The Society of Young Magicians

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Wendell Gibson joined the S.A.M. in 1968 and was an active member in several assemblies throughout the Northeast. In 1975, he reactivated the defunct assembly in Nashua, New Hampshire, now known as the Walter B. Gibson Assembly, named after Wendell’s uncle, the famed magician and author. Wendell served as president of that assembly for five years and secretary for nine years. In the years 1978 and 1979, Wendell served as Regional Vice President of the S.A.M. for the Northeastern States.

Wendell’s real interest was children and magic; he started teaching youth magic classes in 1976 at the Nashua Arts & Science Center in Nashua, New Hampshire, and at several local colleges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This endeavor led to the formation of a magic club for young people that met for many years at Wendell’s magic shop, Gibson Magic. This group later became a chapter in the worldwide organization for youth in magic known as Magical Youth International (M.Y.I). In fact, Wendell’s group became M.Y.I. Chapter 1.

Because of these activities, in 1984, the S.A.M. national council appointed Wendell to the position of liaison to the M.Y.I., with the hope of effecting a merger of the two groups. After many discussions, the leadership with M.Y.I. chose not to merge, fearing they would lose their identity. Wendell was asked by the council to form a new young member program for the S.A.M.

Over the past thirty-plus years, many dedicated S.A.M. members have played an important role in the ongoing evolution of the Society of Young Magicians. Some of them have written their perspective of events during the time they served the S.Y.M. – Dan Rodriguez

A Brief History of the S.Y.M.
By Margaret Dailey, PNP
(written in 1993)

Having been involved in the Society of Young Magicians at the start in 1983, I have seen the progress from the very beginning to the point where we are today. In Frank Dailey’s term (1983-1984) as president, Wendell Gibson was given the responsibility of contacting the officers of Magical Youth International (M.Y.I.) to explore the possibility of their group becoming a part of S.A.M.

The outcome of many months of communication was that M.Y.I. elected to remain as an independent club. At that point the Society of Young Magicians became an independent youth magic group.

From 1984 until 1988 Wendell Gibson repeatedly sought support from the national council with very little satisfaction. I remember that during Cesareo’s year as president, he gave Wendell $300.

Beginning in 1983, my involvement was purely as an S. A. M. member who believed in the youth program; I wanted to help. At every meeting/convention that Frank and I attended, and there were a great number over the years, I always asked for a couple of minutes when the audience was assembled to talk about S.Y.M. I promoted the adult subscription of The Magic SYMbol and encouraged S.A.M. members to sponsor S.Y.M. assemblies.

In the spring of 1988, Wendell Gibson asked me if the Indy support group could put together guidelines for forming and teaching a young member assembly for other leaders. The seven member support group responded by creating Say Yes to Magic; the first printing was paid for by my next-door neighbor. (We had befriended the family when their house had burned. They donated $200, which paid for the printing of the first edition of Say Yes to Magic.)

National President Bill Andrews appointed Father Cyprian Murray to draft a constitutional amendment to create a class of membership for those nine to sixteen years of age to be known as Young Members. At the annual meeting of the national council in July 1988, the amendment was passed unanimously. The S.A.M. membership age was lowered to age seven at the 1990 Stanford fall council meeting.

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