Ring 19 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians is named for Carl W. Jones. But who is he, and how did he get a magic club named for him?
Carl W. Jones was the publisher of the Minneapolis Journal, a daily newspaper. But in magic circles he is best known as the publisher of the classic magic book Greater Magic in 1938. The book was written by John Northern Hilliard, and its full title was, Greater Magic: A Practical Treatise On Modern Magic. Hilliard’s notes and manuscripts were edited by Jones and Jean Huggard. The book was dedicated to Professor Hoffman (author of Modern Magic) and illustrated by Harlan Tarbell.
Greater Magic was an encyclopedia of magic intended exclusively for magicians, not the general public. It was only distributed and promoted within the conjuring world. It’s truly ambitious range of topics included magic with cards, silks, billiard balls, sponge balls, cups & balls, coins, cigarettes and cigars, bills, ropes, the linking rings, mentalism, magic squares, apparatus magic, stage illusions, and more.
In all, the book contains 715 effects, contributed by over 100 magicians, including some of the greatest names of the day: Max Holden, Percy Abbott, J. N. Hofzinser, Theodore Annemann, Horace Goldin, Al Baker, Ade Duval, Karl Germain, David and Theo Bamberg, Dr. James Elliott, Joe Berg, Jardine Ellis, Sam Berland, T. Nelson Downs, Harry Blackstone (Sr.), David Devant, Floyd Thayer, Carl Brema, Cardini, Buatier DeKolta, Milbourne Christopher, Chung Ling Soo, S.H. Sharpe, Dr. Jack Daley, Paul Curry, Stanley Collins, Harlan Tarbell, S. Leo Horowitz, Houdini, Selbit, Edwin Sachs, Jean Hugard, John Scarne, Burling Hull, Stewart James, Paul Rosini, Joseffy, Stewart Judah, John Ramsay, Billy O’Connor, Harry Kellar, Lester Lake, Mora, Jack Merlin, William W. Larsen (Sr.), Paul LePaul, John Nevil Maskelyne, Max Malini, Nate Leizig, Eugene Laurant, Sid Lorraine, Audley Walsh, Robert Stull, Howard Thurston, William H. McCaffery and Dai Vernon.
Other magic books published by Jones include Expert Card Technique, Magical Ways and Means, Memoirs of Robert Houdin (1944 reprint), Modern Coin Magic, Pet Secrets, Card Magic, and Mental Magic. His personal magic collection resides at the Princeton University Library.
In addition to being a long-time magic enthusiast, Carl W. Jones was a director in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minneapolis School of Art and the Minneapolis Orchestral Association.