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BornWilliam Mozart Nicol
December 14, 1880
Burlington, Iowa
DiedFebruary 1, 1946 (age 65)
Monmouth, Illinois
Resting placeMonmouth Cemetery, Warren County, Illinois

Nicola (1880-1946) performed on vaudeville for a number of years and did several world tours with his illusion show as the Great Nicola. He traveled with his dad Nicoli and brother Von Arx.


Nicola started his career at the Omaha Exposition in 1900, and from there went to Paris for the French Exposition. He did performances at the Egyptian theater and on his return to the United States he started on the Lyceum circuit.

He made his first trip around he world in 1910. For a span of three years, he visited China, India, Egpyt, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. Nicola was touring in South America in 1913 at the outbreak of World War I.

The first of Nicola's major United States tours was made in 1926 during his second world tour.

During his last world tour on November 13,1939, on outbreak of World War Two, the ship, the SS Sirdhana hit a mine in the harbor and sunk with all his equipment just off the mounth of the harbor in Singapore. Nicola stayed in Singapore for few months attempting to arrange a salvage team to search for his equipment. When that failed, Nicola returned home. After his return home he built a new smaller show, suitable for auditoriums and hospitals, and offered his services free of charge to the USO.

Among the illusions Nicola was said to have created were the "Elastic Lady," "Aerial Fishing (actually created by Walter Mingus Hopler)," "Chinese Water Jar," and "Dream of the Chinese Chop Suey Restaurant Keeper".


  • Who's Who in Magic, Sphinx, March , 1933
  • Genii, Vol. 9, No. 4, December 1944, A GIANT AMONG MAGICIANS by JOHN BOOTH, page 132
  • The Bat, Issue 26, February 1946, William Nicol died…, p. 137
  • The Bat, Issue 27, March 1946, THE DAILY REVIEW ATLAS, MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS, February 2, 1946, NICOL FUNERAL WILL BE HELD NEXT MONDAY, page 146
  • Abracadabra, Vol. 1, No. 9, March 1946, THE GREAT NICOLA December 14th, 1882 – February 1st, 1945, page 12
  • The Conjurors Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 1946, THE GREAT NICOLA, page 16
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 26, No. 1, March 1946, THE GREAT NICOLA DIES by J. Ray Beffel, page 20
  • Tops, Vol. 11, No. 3, March 1946, Will Nicola Dies, A Tribute by Percy Abbott, The Passing of a Great Magician, page 5
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 33, No. 1, March 1953, Cover, The Great Nicola by C. Verne Bloch, page 26
  • Obit Genii 1946 March
  • M-U-M, Vol. 100, No. 8, January 2011, The Nielsen Gallery, Nicola, the Globe-Trotting Magician, page 66
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Nicol, William Mozart = The Great Nicola, USA Zauberkünstler (*1880; †1946), page 248