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Will Goldston

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Will Goldston
BornWolf Goldstone
September 24, 1877
Liverpool, England
DiedFebruary 24, 1948 (age 70)
Folkstone, Kent, England
Resting placeJewish cemetery at Dover
CategoriesBooks by Will Goldston

Will Goldston (1877-1948), was originally a stage magician then became a magic dealer, publisher, agent and author.


After years of conjecture about Goldston's place and time of birth, research by Fergus Roy [1] found Goldston's birth certificate, showing that he was born in Liverpool, England.

Goldston became interested in the subject of magic at the age of eleven. Originally employed as a dental technician this did not last long and at the age of sixteen he made his professional debut as a magician. Using the stage name of Carl Devo. At the age of twenty-one he was topping the bill at provincial theatres with his Black art act[2].

In 1900 Goldston and his younger brother, James Mayer Goldston a.k.a. Mayer James Goldston, ran the "Mahatma" Magical Co. in Liverpool. Goldston sold the business, as well as his magazine, The Magician to A.W. Gamage at the end of 1904. Mayer James, also a magician, professionally known as Mokana, died a year later in the January of 1905, aged 23 years, of malarial fever in Calcutta while touring India with the Coronation Circus. Mokana is attributed to inventing the hollowed out shoe heel that swivels to reveal a secret space.[3]

In 1902 he married Leah Halter, who performed as Leah Laurie and later as La Devo.

His career in the Music Hall did not last many years, he stopped performing around 1905 and moved to London and he was subsequently employed as manager-buyer of Gamage's Theatrical and Entertainment Department in central London, 1905-1914. During this time he edited the Magician Annual (1907-1912), Magician Monthly (1904-1913) and in 1912, Exclusive Magical Secrets (an edition of one thousand that was republished in 1977).

Later, in the November of 1914, he became involved in the merchandising of "magic tricks" as William Goldston Ltd. based in Aladdin House, off Leicester Square, in London.

Goldston also edited Magazine of Magic (1914 - 1930) and Goldston's Magical Quarterly (1934 - 1940).

Goldston was an early member of the Magic Circle, but later resigned. He then initiated the creation of the Magicians' Club of London. He was a close friend of many magicians, Houdini and Chung Ling Soo amongst others. However, his relationships always appeared to run hot and cold as on occasions he upset many magicians by revealing their methods in his publications allegedly either without permission or without attributing the originator.

Later in his life he was noted as the person who cracked the "Zancigs Code" used by the Danish illusionists of that name and was employed to 'prove' the authenticity of mediums and similar people.

Another of his brothers, Reuben Goldston, was also a magician, but unlike the others he remained in the north-west of England.

Goldston was buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Dover, England.

Davenports & Co. later bought the business William Goldston Ltd[4].

It is generally believed that Arthur Ainslie was the ghost-writer for some Goldston books.


See Also

Yellow Perils


  1. The Magic History Gathering @ The Magic Circle 11th June 2016 (
  2. Goodliffe's Abracadabra, Vol. 47, No. 1207, March 1969, Servants of the Masters, By A.R.H, Will Goldston, page 165
  3. The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman (2006) ISBN 978-1-84739-082-0 p179
  4. Abracadabra v7 no175 04-June-1949 p297
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  • The Sphinx, Vol. 3, No 4, June 1904, The Magician of the Month – Will Goldston, page 47
  • The Magician Monthly, Vol. 4, No, 4, March 1908, A CHAT WITH MR. WILL GOLDSTON, REPRINTED FEOM THE "ERA", FEB. 22nd, page 43
  • The Magician Annual, Vol. 3, Jun 1909, Will Goldston, An Interview & an Appreciation, page 5
  • Cover American Magician March 1911
  • Cover, The Sphinx, Vol. 30, No. 6, August 1931
  • The Conjurors' Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 1, March 1948, Will Goldstone is Dead, page 10
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 47, No. 1 March 1948, Will Goldstone Dies, page 19
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 28, No. 2, April 1948, A Tribute To Will Goldston, by "Fitz", British Ring Historian, page 26
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 42, No. 464, April 1948, Obituary, Will Goldstone, page 130
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 13, No. 4, April 1948, Will Goldston Dies, page 8
  • Photo Genii Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 9, May 1951, WILL GOLDSTON, page 372
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 81, No. 879, September-October 1987, A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities, By EDWIN A. DAWES, 137. WILL GOLDSTON – Early Years of Magic of the Magician’s Club, page 184
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 882, January 1988, A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities, By EDWIN A. DAWES, 140. THE MAGICIANS' CLUB FOUNDER, WILL GOLDSTON – THE MAN HIMSELF, page 4
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 91, No. 974, April 1997, Memorial and Heritage News, page 68
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 78, No. 2, February 1998, THE RIDDLE OF THE GOLDSTON “MEMORIAL”, page 67
  • The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" by Jim Steinmeyer (2005) ISBN 0-7867-1512-X.
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 101, No. 1086, January 2007, A rich cabinet of magical curiosities, By EDWIN A. DAWES, 339. FURTHER GLIMPSES OF GOLDSTON: BROTHER REUBEN, THE MAGICIAN, page 20, On Will Goldston, page 163
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 101, No. 1091, June 2007, On Will Goldston, page 163