The spread of ten cards above are held together with
a brass paper fastener and were created as a program for the 4th annual Convention of the Keystone State Federation of I.B.M. Rings. The convention took place in Philadelphia February 10, 1934 at the Central Y.M.C.A. auditorium. It was sponsored by Philadelphia Ring No. 6.
Gibson Playing cards was part of the Gibson Greeting Card Company whose history can be traced to 1850, when George Gibson and his family emigrated to the United States from Scotland, where Gibson had operated a lithographic and copperplate engraving business. However, the playing card division had a shorter lifespan and was eventually sold to the United States Playing Card Co. (Source: http://www.wopc.co.uk/usa/gibson)
By way of background, the Keystone State Federation of Rings flowed from the founding of Keystone Ring No. 20 in Harrisburg, PA, that was formed February 13, 1928 by William Wagner, Jesse J. Lybarger, and Charles J. (Colta) Jones.
There were a number of I.B.M. rings in Pennsylvania at that time but they were only affiliated with the national organization. The very first State Convention of the I.B.M. was hosted by Ring 20 in Harrisburg, Jan. 22, 1931. At that event, the organizers of the Ring decided to form the Keystone State Federation of I.B.M. Rings, which brought together all the Pennsylvania rings. At that convention, 40 I.B.M. members from across the state attended.
James Wobensmith, then National President of the Society of American Magicians, was the honored guest. Wobensmith was a patent attorney by profession and helped patent and protect most of Thurston’s magic illusions.
For the example being discussed here, the ten cards provide some background on the organization as well as the talent scheduled to appear at the fourth convention in 1934. President was Harold Brown; Vice President Jack Kootz; Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Bill Endlich and Chaplain was Rev. John Bieri. The Master of Ceremonies for the big show was Allentown’s Herman Weber and the acts included:
Vin Carey – Baltimore
Max Holden – New York
Lu Brent – New Jersey
Clint Riedel and Brown – Lancaster
Frank Rice – Philadelphia
Bill Wagner – Harrisburg
Burling Hull – Long Island, New York
Hadji Ali – Scranton
Eng Sung – Allentown
And, if time permitted, attendees might also see Grover George, Paul Rosini, Phil Thomas, and Carter Burgher.
The primary reason the Keystone Federation of IBM Rings disbanded, was that by the late 1930s, magicians from Rings in other Eastern states wanted to join, and of course this presented difficulties, as the Keystone Federation was a Pennsylvania organization.
After discussion among the more active members it was decided to form a new society which would take in magicians from a wider area, preferably the Eastern states, although the membership would not necessarily be limited to them. From its founding onward, The Linking Ring always carried accounts of their conventions which continue to this day each September. Some of the men responsible for the formation of the M.A.E.S. were Dr. William M. Endlich, Dr. Kenneth H. Sheeler, Charles Jones, Harry J. Messersmith, Harry Otto, Elmer Eckam, Phil Weisbecker, John D. Lippy, Jr., Clint Riedel, and Larry Hess.
The current officers for 2017 are:
· Ed Schmitt – President
· Eric Lampert – Vice President
· Joe Curcillo – Secretary/Treasurer
· Michael Sloves – Sargeant at Arms
· John Bobik – Sargeant at Arms
The 2017 convention is Sept. 7-8-9 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. For registration information - http://maesconvention.com/services/
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