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BornJohn Hathaway Butler
June 9, 1891
Worchester, Massachusetts

Hathaway (1891-1954) was a professional vaudeville magician most known with his wife as "Hathaway and Ruth."[1]


Became interested in magic at a young age after seeing Kellar, Albini and Brindamour. He became a professional magician at the age of 19.

Together with Harry Thurston, brother of the Great Thurston they produced a show in St. Louis. Later, Hathaway began playing through West Virginia in opposition to Richards the Wizard, followed by a barnstorming tour of the central states with magic and escapes.

Hathaway's career was interrupted in the spring of 1917 by World War I where he joined the aviation squadron. After being discharged in 1919, he married and changed his billing to "Hathaway and Ruth."

Some of his illusions were named: Rip Van Winkle, the Haunted House, the Maid and the Bath, the Cabinet of Death, the Cabinet of Life, the Diamond Girl, the Vampire, the Map of Europe, and the Phantom.

Together they became successful which brought him to the attention of Howard Thurston. Thurston offered him the heading of his number three unit, which eventually went to Tampa.

In the 1930s, Hathaway and Ruth separated and his success started to diminish. Ruth was replaced by "Doreen the Exotic", then he became Dr. Martin in an act of crystal gazing and question answering that never attained great fame.[2]

A member of the S.A.M. and I.B.M., marketed effects to his credit are "Hathaway Rising Cards", "Card in a Balloon" and "Nylon Mystery,"[3][4]


  1. Who's Who in Magic, Sphinx, November, 1932
  2. Magic A Pictorial History History of Conjurers in the Theater by David Price (1985)
  3. Barrymore with a Wand by Robert Lund, Sphinx, July 1949
  4. Hathaway's "The Coffin" in "The Sphinx", September, 1948
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 34, No. 11, January 1955, Turned Up By A Plough, ...Hathaway died recently, page 55
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 87, No. 11, November 2007, Gene Gordon’s Magical Legacy - Hathaway, page 60