The Milbourne Christopher Foundation
The Milbourne Christopher Foundation was established by Maurine Christopher (1920 – 2013) to encourage excellence, originality and leadership in the magical arts and to help keep conjuring on a level with the other popular entertainment forms of dance, drama, comedy and music.
Incorporated in New York State in 1991 and federally approved as a charitable organization, the Foundation is supported by donations. The charter also authorizes the use of the Foundation’s resources to keep classic books of magic such as Christopher’s “Illustrated History of Magic” and his Houdini biographies in print. Mr. Santos Molina is the Chairman of the Foundation; Lorraine Anderson serves as Secretary. All officers of the corporation and the award judges donate their services to the Foundation.
Milbourne Christopher served with the United States Army in Europe during World War II as a Soldier-Sorcerer and died in 1984 at the age of seventy.
In 1951 Christopher revived The Society of American Magicians magazine, M-U-M, as a separate publication and edited it for five years. During this time he continued to write conjuring news columns regularly for other magic and show business journals and articles for general magazines in America and abroad.
Christopher, author or editor of more than twenty books on magic and extra sensory perception, was national President of The Society of American Magicians (1957 – 1958), after a term as head of the New York S.A.M. Parent Assembly No. 1. He created and starred in the first prime time network television magic special which aired on NBC in America and on European networks. In all his areas of interest Christopher became internationally known.
The Foundation is headquartered in Delhi, New York and sponsors the annual Milbourne Christopher Awards to spotlight the best magic has to offer contemporaneously in performing, writing, publishing and invention. The award categories reflect Christopher’s diversified career: promising young magician, author and/or publisher, outstanding illusionist and/or illusion creator, mentalist, ambassador of magic, lifetime achievement and master’s award. Winners in other areas may be added at the judge’s discretion. Not all winner categories are awarded
The Christopher Foundation award winners are selected by a panel of judges comprised of leaders from the magic community. The judges consist of Thomas A. Ewing, Chair; William V. Rauscher, David Haversat, Tony Clark, Paul Mayer, Kenneth Trombly, Rob Allen and Mike Miller. Judges who have served in the past include Edward Shuman, William Andrews, Robert L. Bluemle, J. Marberger Stuart, Richard Block, Raymond Goulet and Richard Heath.
The Award winners' are presented plaques, handcrafted wands and commemorative coins at the annual Awards Presentation.
2023 Foundation Award Winners
Illusionist Award - Jason Bishop
Literary Award - Jim Hagy
Mentalist Award - Brian Curry
Ambassador of Magic - John Cox
Close-Up Award - Bernardo Sedlacek
Masters Award - Paul Lembo
Lifetime Achievement Award - Craig Diamond