John Northern Hilliard

Hilliard's "Ysabel of the Blue Bird" was the cover story in the May 1913 issue of The Argosy

John Northern Hilliard (1872 – March 14, 1935) was an American author and journalist. Among his works is a best-selling book on magic, Greater Magic.


John Northern Hilliard was born in Palmyra, New York, in 1872.

Through Eugene Field he obtained his first job as a reporter on the Chicago Press at the age of 17. He covered the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, the surrender of Sitting Bull, and the bloody Johnson County War in Wyoming. On December 17, 1896, he was a dramatic critic for a Rochester newspaper. He was the last person to see magician Alexander Herrmann (also known as "Herrmann the Great") alive before his death on board a train heading to Bradford, Pennsylvania. [1]

After moving to the New York Telegram he met magician Howard Thurston and became interested in magic himself. In 1925 he joined Thurston's magic show as an advance man and for the next 10 years toured America, meeting the most talented magicians of his day and recording their creations. He "edited" T. Nelson Downs's book The Art of Magic; he is generally considered to be its author. After his sudden death in 1935 his book, Greater Magic, was published by Thurston and publisher Carl W. Jones in 1938.


  1. ^ The Master Magicians by Walter B. Gibson 1966

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