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Close-up Magic materials/Michael J. Amico papers

 Collection — Box: 1-2
Identifier: 93.7077
This collection of papers relates to the practice of close-up magic. It includes items relating to the practice of magic in the Rochester, NY, area; magic trick instructions; publications and promotional materials; magic event materials; and national and local magic organization material. Also included are personal papers of Michael J. Amico, a semi-professional close-up magician. Items of particular interest to researchers include a Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) membership application with the history, scope, and purpose of the organization; election and nomination ballots for the International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.); and a document used for the purpose of contracting the services of a magician named Sherms.


  • 1921 - 1981

Conditions Governing Access and Use:

This collection is open to research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. The seller has unconditionally given the papers, together with all intellectual property right or interest (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein), to The Strong.


1 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Michael J. Amico was a semi-professional magician from the Rochester area and was active in this pursuit from the late 1960s until his death in 2009. Amico performed at annual Magic Alliance of Western New York gatherings and the Second Annual Mohawk Valley Magic Day; served as emcee for various magic shows; appeared as a guest lecturer at the Close Encounters of the Magic Kind magic show; and appeared on Dante’s Magic Show. In 2004, he performed at the invitation-only convention for close-up magic, Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic in Batavia, NY. Amico was an officer in the International Brotherhood of Magicians, was president of The Society of American Magicians Rochester Assembly #47 from 1972–1973, and was instrumental in the local Society of Junior Magicians, teaching young, aspiring magicians the art of close-up magic.

Custodial History

The Library of the Strong National Museum of Play acquired this group of papers related to the practice of close-up magic from Lars Sandel in July 1992. Sandel provided a comprehensive list of items included in the collection; however, there was no indication or record of the manner by which he came to acquire the items, nor is there any specific mention of the papers of Michael Amico. The original lot included books, booklets, and serials, which were added to the museum library’s collection. The lot also included three-dimensional items, which were transferred to the museum collections department.

The papers had been divided into two boxes: one that contained personal papers of Michael J. Amico, a local, semi-professional, close-up magician; the other, a large number of magic trick instructions, along with a few items that seemed to relate directly or indirectly to Michael Amico. Some of the Amico-related items in the second box were from the Society of American Magicians (both the local and national groups), of which Amico was a member, while others had the word Amico written on them. One item mentions Bob Follmer, who was a friend of Amico.

It is unknown how the two boxes are related. Because the same Object ID (93.7077) had been assigned to both sets of papers, the processor made the decision to integrate the two collections into one combined collection. In this way, researchers will be able to locate similar material relating to the practice of amateur magic in one collection, which also provides valuable insight into a local magician’s activities.

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)