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John Nicholls Booth Edit Profile

Magician , Minister , photographer , writer

John Nicholls Booth, American Minister, magician, writer, photographer. First regularly scheduled television broadcasts in the United States by clergyperson, WBKB, Chicago, mid-1940s. Recipient John Nevil Maskelyne prize London Magic Circuit, 1987; placed on former New York Town Hall Cinematographers Wall of Fame, 1967; named Distinguished Alumnae, Gallery of McMaster U.; lifetime achievement fellow Academy Magical Arts, 1990.


Booth, John Nicholls was born on August 7, 1912 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Sydney Scott and Margaret (Nicholls) Booth.


Bachelor, McMaster University, 1934. Master of Divinity, Meadville Lombard Theological School Theological School, 1942. Doctor of Letters, New England School Law, 1950.


Professional magician, 1934-1940; minister, Unitarian Church, Evanston, Illinois, 1942-1948; minister, 1st Church, Belmont, Massachusetts, 1949-1957; minister, 2d Church (formerly Old North Church), Boston, 1958-1964; minister, Unitarian Church, Long Beach, California, 1964-1971; interim pastor, New York City, Gainesville, (Florida), Detroit, 1971-1973. Celebrity platform lecturer, performer on conjuring, 1942-1958. Ministerial adviser to liberal students Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1958-1963.

Member books selection committee General Theological Library, Boston, 1960-1963.


  • Achievements include having the first regularly scheduled television series (Looking at Life) in the United States by clergyperson, WBKB, Chicago, mid-1940s.



Co-founder Japan Free Religious Association, Tokyo, 1948. Co-founder Massachusetts Memorial Society, 1962, director, 1962-1964. Organizer Memorial Society Alachua County (Florida), 1972.

President Long Beach Mental Health Association, 1964-1966. Advisory council Fair Housing Foundation. Member Unitarian-Universalist Ministers Association (past director), American Unitarian Association (past committee chairman), Unitarian Ministers Pacific Southwest Association (vice president), Clergy Counseling Service Southern California, Society of America Magicians (inducted into Hall of Fame 1983), Magic Castle Hollywood, International Brotherhood Magicians (honorary life), Los Angeles Adventurers Club (president 1983), Evanston (Illinois) Ministerial Association (president 1947-1948).


Married Edith Kriger, October 1, 1941 (deceased September 22, 1982). 1 child, Barbara Anne Booth Christie.

Sydney Scott Booth

Margaret (Nicholls) Booth

Edith Kriger

Barbara Anne Booth Christie Booth