A Brief History of the Texas Association of Magicians
by Bruce Chadwick
During its fifty-plus years, the annual TAOM convention has been held in major cities around the state, always on Labor Day weekend. Today it has grown to an annual attendance of over 1,500 conventioneers.
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; a fall paralyzed him and left him confined to a wheel chair for life.
During World War II, Austin, Texas did not have a formal magic club. Magicians living in Austin were invited to join the San Antonio magicians. Most of the monthly meetings were held in San Antonio although several were also held in Austin. Out of their frequent meetings, Yerger came up with the idea of a Labor Day weekend picnic that was first held in 1944. On property he purchased near Austin, he erected a club house, an open-air stage, and a barbecue pit. A list of magic friends was made up and invitations sent out.
169 persons attended a second picnic in 1945. It was proposed that Yerger allow 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 at Yerger’s lodge in Austin, Texas on September 1, 1946. The second business session of TAOM was called to order in the Stephen F. Austin Hotel, September 2, 1946. In 1947, Fort Worth hosted the first convention advertised solely under the TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF MAGICIANS name.