taom logo transparent background


A Brief History of the
Texas Association of Magicians

by Bruce Chadwick MA, M.Div.
TAOM Past-President and Historian

During its seventy-plus years, the annual Texas Association of Magicians convention has been held in major cities around the state on Labor Day weekend, usually Friday afternoon through Monday morning. Today the convention has grown to an annual world-wide conference  with hundreds of magicians and their families in attendance.

Austin magician and druggist Herman Yerger founded the annual Labor Day weekend picnics in Austin that led to the organization of the Texas Association of Magicians (TAOM). Yerger and his wife Emilie operated a tent show, and performed their magic at carnivals and vaudeville houses. He was also a tight wire walker and would always say that a  fall paralyzed him and left him confined to a wheel chair.

1943_Picnic_Mother-s_Day_Herman-s_Backyard Reduced

The Ten Austin and San Antonio Magicians at Yerger’s
 Sunday May 9, 1943 Mother's Day Barbecue Gathering

During World War II, Austin, Texas did not have a formal magic club. Magicians living in Austin often traveled to San Antonio for magic gatherings. One day Yerger came up with the idea of a Mother's Day afternoon picnic in Austin on May 9, 1943 and he invited the San Antonio group to attend. The Sunday gathering was a tremendous success. This led Herman Yerger to plan and host  three subsequent gatherings on the Labor Day weekends of 1944, 1945, and 1946. On property he purchased near Onion Creek in Austin, Yerger erected a club house, an open-air stage, and a barbecue pit.

At the 1946 picnic, magicians in attendance proposed that Yerger should allow the annual picnics to be formalized into a state magician's organization. Yerger was opposed at first but eventually warmed up to the idea especially after it was proposed that he be the first president!

According to the first TAOM newsletter, the Texas Association of Magicians came into existence in 1946 at the third annual picnic held at Yerger’s lodge in Austin, Texas. The second business session of TAOM was called to order at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel on Sunday September 1, 1946. The 1946 gathering is officially recognized by the TAOM Board of Directors as the first convention of the Texas Association of Magicians.

[Home] [History] [Conventions] [Photos] [Videos] [Documents] [Logos] [FAQ] [Contact]