Last night the husband and I went to the Magic Castle to see a friend of ours perform. Besides watching a great show, I took in as much history as I could. I love classic illusion and slide of hand. The more classic the magic the more I love it. This led to the inevitable question: I wonder if there were any well known female magicians? And that’s when I found Talma the Queen of Coins also known as Mercedes Talma (1861-1944)
Born Mary Ann Ford in England, her story is incredibly interesting. She started off working as an assistant to her husband, Servais Le Roy but given her talent and willingness to learn she soon became an act on her own. She worked with her husband and another magician in an act known as Le Roy, Talma and Bosco. Talma’s specialty was slight of hand and manipulation with coins, billiard balls and scarves. The trio worked the Vaudeville circuit where they gained their fame. She would perform her own slight of hand act and still step in to work as an assistant for her husband. Her good looks and her ability to perform magic made her a valuable assistant.
There are a few interesting things about Talma that sets her apart from others. If you notice in the picture at the beginning of this post and in the above poster, she doesn’t wear sleeves. So no one could exclaim “It’s up your sleeve!” when she performed.
Another fun story, according to All About Magicians, some men attempted to mug her once. However, they got more than they bargained for when she kept making coins appear. Realizing that she was too much trouble than what she was worth they left her alone.