An Overview by Michael Claxton
I may have lost my mind. You are looking at an attempted bibliography of books, monographs, and articles in print—mostly in English—by or about women in magic. To compile such a thing in the age of the internet, in the age of Ask Alexander, and in the biggest boom era for female magicians in history, is nothing short of madness.
Yet what you see here is the result of thirty-five years of jotting down references on 4 x 6” index cards, doing the work of a “harmless drudge”—to quote Samuel Johnson—vainly trying to keep up with a never-ending avalanche of information on the subject.
This is a work in progress. And twenty years from now, it will still be a work in progress. The aim was never to make it a definitive list, but rather to share it and to see it grow and evolve.
And so, because this bibliography is not exhaustive, I invite others to help fill in gaps or correct errors. The only reason that I would dare inflict such a flawed document upon the world of magic is that in this online exhibition format, it can be amended, augmented, chastised, and made better by any and all who have information to add. If I have left you out, I sincerely apologize.
I have divided the list into three categories:
Books and articles about women in magic generally.
These sources discuss more than one female performer.
Fictional depictions of women in magic.
Books and articles about individual women,
listed alphabetically by the subject’s name.
This is a print bibliography, which means it does not touch the endless resources of the internet. As it would be impossible to include every newspaper write-up or online discussion of female performers, I focus mainly on books and magic magazines, especially feature articles and cover stories, and even then, there are many magic magazines I don’t have access to. I also include women who were editors or columnists for magic magazines.
Finally, I cannot include brief mentions in magic journals, of which there would be thousands. Still, with all those omissions, there are over nine hundred entries listed—a tribute to the sheer volume of writing that exists on the subject.