Friday, August 2, 2013

THOMAS C. WORTHINGTON III Baltimore's leading magician of the 1920s

Thomas Chew Worthington III hailed from a prominent Baltimore family, his father a doctor at John Hopkins. A known eccentric and magical purist, he showed open disdain for magicians that did not take the practice seriously and was even known to pick fights! He was the first member to join the Demons Club, but left in 1923 to form the Society of Osiris after his increasing agitation at the club's lack of exclusivity, calling it's members "the Peeping Tom's of magic." He worshiped Howard Thurston, considering him the world's greatest magician and despised Houdini "I knew Eric Weiss very well, he was an egotistical ass. There was no love lost between him and me."
He also would joke that the initials M.U.M used by the Society of American Magician's (which stands for Magic, Unity and Might) actually meant "Many Useless Magicians!" lol
At his home in Baltimore, Worthington had one of the largest and most valuable collections of rare magical apparatus in the world which, just prior to his death. he gave to the Ringling Brothers' Museum in Sarasota, Florida.

Thomas Chew Worthington, III (1879-1953), the son of Dr. Thomas Chew Worthington, Jr. and Mary Kate Worthington and brother of Richard W. Worthington. He married Clara McDonald, and the couple had one daughter; they lived at 2113 Poplar Grove St. Thomas Worthington was a graduate of the Maryland Institute, and a friend of many faculty and students over the years.
By profession, Worthington was a salesman for many years with the firm of John T. Willis, Co., distributors of X-ray and photographic equipment. By inclination, he was a magician, photographer, and collector. A friend of many eminent practitioners of the prestidigital art, Worthington's own collection of magic equipment was accepted by the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida; he made the donation as a memorial to his friend, magician Howard Thurston (1869-1936). Other collections included antiques, stamps, autographs, and natural history specimens (which last he left to Loyola College at his death), as well as photographs now at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Maryland Historical Society.

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