Roger M. wrote: magicam wrote:
Roger M. wrote: Hatch has demonstrated that there were physical associations between Andrews, the man...... and either the book, dealers for the book, or the holder of the books plates.
I think youre mistaken about that, Roger.
What evidence demonstrates such physical connections?
For starters, Atlas Novelty, remaindering First Editions.....and E.S. Andrews living on the same street, at the same time, a few doors down.
That's a physical association that one might consider as "abnormally close proximity".
In a country as large as the U.S.A., having a man proposed as the author of EATCT (E.S. Andrews) living somewhat less than 5000 feet away from a novelty company selling stacks of First Editions of EATCT might be considered something a bit stronger than merely circumstantial.
I see it as more than circumstantial, others are free to put appropriate weight to it as they see fit.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Did Andrews live a few doors down or nearly a mile away? Seems a significant factual difference in distance for 1902.
There are only two kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. One can put as much weight as one wants to a set of circumstantial facts, but that will never change the essential (circumstantial) character of such facts, which will always require inferences to be drawn in order to prove the ultimate fact. Thus, there is no such thing as more than circumstantial evidence, unless by that phrase one is referring to direct evidence. Abnormally close proximity even insanely, ungodly, are-you-frickin-kidding-me? close proximity is not direct evidence, and thus far there is no direct evidence of Andrews selling copies of EATCT to Atlas. If there were, the location of his living quarters would probably be irrelevant. Andrews could have shared the same office space with Atlas, but that, without more, would still only be circumstantial evidence.
Thats not to say that circumstantial evidence cant be compelling. Judges and juries decide civil and criminal actions all the time on circumstantial evidence. But based on what Ive read of Richards admirable research, he has not demonstrated any kind of physical associations between Andrews and EATCT none whatsoever, and I dont think Richard would claim that. You open the reply with For starters . Id be interested in hearing what other evidence exists that demonstrates such physical connections.
Moving on to the essays and work by our Erdnase scholars, with this disclaimer at the outset: I am no Erdnase expert.
First, what evidence is there to support the notion that the author (whoever he was) actually sold copies of his book? Does any such evidence exist, or is this pure speculation/assumption? The authors stated desire to profit from publication of the book does not perforce mean that he actually sold copies of the book, retail or wholesale.
With respect to my friend Richard Hatch, I am not convinced of the significance of Atlas Noveltys sales of EATCT. If I understand Richards argument, Atlas sales of EATCT was significant because it was rather uncharacteristic of Atlas to do so, thereby implying that Atlas carried stock of EATCT for reasons other than to simply sell a new book on magic, which of course then makes Andrews proximity to Atlas a possible important fact. But was it really uncharacteristic for Atlas to carry this book? Richard argues that Atlas was an obscure Chicago magic dealer which heretofore specialized in selling slum magic to pitchmen. With the use of the word heretofore, Richards argument seems to be that Atlas sales of EATCT signaled a shift in its business plan, i.e., what Atlas sold, to whom it marketed products, etc. But Hurt McDermotts article states that part of Atlas business was selling slot machines and devices to cheat patrons (trade stimulators). If thats true, I do not see Atlas sales of EATCT as being uncharacteristic or unusual at all. EATCT was about gambling, cheating and magic seemingly right in keeping with Atlas business. And if Atlas was indeed a slum (low cost) magic dealer, then it would not seem unusual for Atlas to sell a book at half its published price, as Atlas did with EATCT.
There is another problem with the theory that Atlas only sold slum magic and that its sales of EATCT was somehow unusual for Atlas. How do we explain the fact that Atlas stocked and sold C. Lang Neils The Modern Conjurer
at the full price of $2.00 upon its publication, as evidenced by Atlas ad in the February 1903 issue of The Sphinx
? Neils book proved to be a classic and was far from low brow conjuring; in other words, Atlas sales of The Modern Conjurer
represents the antithesis of Richards theory about the kind of business that Atlas was.
In summary, with the limited knowledge at my disposal, vis--vis Andrews presence in Chicago I do not see any significance to Atlas sales of EATCT. But to the extent that one wants to argue that Atlas sales of EATCT was at all unusual (and I dont think it was), there seems to be a very plausible reason for this which has nothing to do with Andrews. Accepting, for the sake of argument, that Atlas sales of EATCT was odd, the fact that Atlas was selling the book at half price suggests that whoever
was handling the wholesaling of EATCT really wanted to see the book sold in as many stores as possible. Are there any facts to support such a motivation to wholesale to any possible retailer? Yes. McKinneys adjudicated bankruptcy in late January, 1903. Sure, the facts are circumstantial, but from Adrian Plates comments we are told that McKinney sold copies of EATCT. If thats true, would it not make sense for a financially-troubled McKinney to get copies of EATCT in the hands of as many Chicago-area dealers as possible in late 1902 and January, 1903, and possible in early February, 1903? If the heavy discounting of EATCT started in February, 1903, such timing would tie in neatly with McKinneys bankruptcy.
And if McKinney was the one selling copies of EATCT, both retail and wholesale, this might also provide a clue to the business arrangement that he had with Erdnase. After all, if the author did not want to be associated with his book, any sort of significant efforts by him to sell copies, individually or in wholesale quantities, would create the risk of being connected with his book. Again, what evidence do we have that the author actually sold copies of EATCT?
If the author really was concerned about his anonymity, for legal, family or retribution (from gambling cheats who figured out who he was) reasons, it would make sense to keep his distance from sales of the book. It would make sense for him to have a one and done financial arrangement with a man like McKinney. If Andrews was the author, he seems to have been gainfully employed, with a decent income for his family, which might suggest that his need for money in connection with publication of EATCT was not that great, so his business arrangement with McKinney might have been rather modest. And assuming that the author did have other sources of reasonably comfortable income, one could even argue that the statement that he wrote the book for money was another attempt at misdirection re his identity, in that a logical assumption from such statement would be that he needed
For what its worth, the U.S. copyright application tells us nothing about the true ownership of the copyright, in part due to the pseudonymous nature of the authors name and the fact that copyrights were (and to this day continue to be) easily transferable. As an aside, Id add that the copyright application tells us nothing about the authors true nationality either.
Finally, if Andrews was the author and the knowledge of his true identity actually did pose serious legal risks to him as author of this obscene work (as McDermott suggests with his account of Comstocks activities), it seems odd that Andrews (McKinney, or someone else?) would select the rather weak S. W. Erdnase pseudonym.