ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Chris Aguilar
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » December 5th, 2011, 5:55 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:And the Montana cartoon has a much more hooked nose than does Sanders. A caricaturist as skilled as Dalrymple would have been more faithful to Sanders' appearance.

I'm not saying I'm convinced it's Sanders, just that it could very reasonably be Sanders. To me, it (very subjectively I'll admit) looks very much like him.

(And also, Chris, would you be so kind as to contact me off-line? I've tried to email you a couple times and had no luck. Thanks.)

Weird.

Try e-mailing me at both conjurenation@gmail.com (I can also be found on google plus via that address) and chris@conjurenation.com and I'm sure your message will get to me.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Magic Newswire » December 5th, 2011, 6:37 pm

Wow.. Not my best day. Here is the correct link. Sorry guys : http://bit.ly/EErdnase

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby SwanJr » December 6th, 2011, 12:38 am

Bill, no apology necessary. I always look forward to your posts and appreciate the great amount of original material you have found and shared freely. I feel all of us writing about Erdnase are in your debt.

Hurt McDermott

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 7th, 2011, 1:08 am

Thanks for the correction Mr. Hatch. Without further evidence, we can't be absolutely sure that Sanders went to visit his parents in Chicago. I very much enjoyed your essay "Reading Erdnase Backwards" in the new issue of Magicol. After finishing it, I felt like an insider who was was kept current on the progress of your research.

I did notice that David Ben's essay "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Erdnase" is missing footnote number six at the bottom of page 29. That footnote was to provide Ben's source for his suggestion "...that Alexander was not sufficiently familiar with the content of the book to extrapolate from it the information that could contribute to a profile."

In his essay, Ben explores an aspect of Erdnase's life that I haven't read about yet. At some point in his formative years, Erdnase must have devoted a considerable amount of time to study and practice card table artifice and card magic. He also needed the spare time and place to do it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Dustin Stinett » December 7th, 2011, 1:49 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:At some point in his formative years, Erdnase must have devoted a considerable amount of time to study and practice card table artifice and card magic. He also needed the spare time and place to do it.

The time that someone of means during that period would have had.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 7th, 2011, 2:34 am

...a man of means, by no means--King of the Road.

If we're talking about Sanders, it would have been during his time at Phillips Exeter Academy and later Columbia University. One can picture a young Sanders in the classrooms, halls, cafeteria, and in his dorm with a deck of cards in his hands.

Proponents of Andrews might see him as a clerk on the C&NW Railroad working on the pasteboards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » December 7th, 2011, 5:00 am

Leonard Hevia wrote: I did notice that David Ben's essay "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Erdnase" is missing footnote number six at the bottom of page 29.


The missing footnotes were posted on http://magicol.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/some-edits/
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Diego » December 9th, 2011, 9:57 pm

In reading David Ben's article in MAGICOL, he notes that in criminal cases a person has be judged guilty, "Beyond a reasonable doubt." Then says it is generally(?) thought to be a standard of 90% or higher.
Not a lawyer, (Ben is) I remember sitting on a jury in California, where we were instructed that the burden of proof had to be, "Beyond a reasonable doubt, TO A MORAL CERTAINTY."
Would that suggest a need for better than 90%? Is the burden of proof different in Canada or different States in the U.S.? If I thought there was a 10% chance the defendent was innocent, I would be very careful and would need to hear more.

Saying that, I question if E.S. Andrews was proven to be at the "scene of the crime", and could be so judged with the certainty David has.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Fridinger » December 10th, 2011, 8:09 am

It would seem to me that a man named E.S. Andrews, a supposed con-man, would be a very obvious answer to the S.W. Erdnase question.

Since there is no solid "proof" and a great deal of suspects, I think we allow our desire to have one last "secret" to outweigh our common sense.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 14th, 2011, 1:12 am

I don't believe the recent issue of Magicol contains enough information to declare that Erdnase has been "found".

In fact, both Genii and Magicol seem to have broken more than one rule of journalism as it relates to jumping to an unproven conclusion, in the case of Genii it wasn't within the article itself (Marty was quite careful to not definitively state that he'd found Erdnase).

Having said that, I'll comment on the Magicol issue, and it's conclusion that E.S. Andrews was Erdnase.

First off, I'll state that one thing that becomes apparent quickly is that Richard Hatch is IMO the most knowledgable person on record functioning as an Erdnase researcher. I don't believe anybody else who has commented publicly has the depth of understanding, and the details of the timeline that Richard does.
Frankly, his research is superior to all else out there, on DVD, in print, or on the internet.
His motives are clear and concise..he wants to find out who wrote EATCT, and he wants to find that out for the benefit of the fraternity as a whole.

If anybody is primed to produce the definitive statement, complete with proof as to who Erdnase was, it's Richard.
Richard paints a picture which leaves the reader short one piece of information, and that's the proven relationship between Andrews wife, and Dalrymple's mother (both share the same somewhat uncommon last name).
Richard makes clear that this is, to date, the best shot at closing the case.
I agree with him that this piece of information (if in the positive) would cement Andrews as Erdnase without further debate.

This article by Hatch will form a major cornerstone in the available Erdnase research.

(It should be made clear that Richard Hatch does not declare that he's found Erdnase, that statement was made by David Ben in a separate article.)

The David Ben article contains some serious points, and causes some serious questions to be askedand subsequently answered.
David's knowledge is a product of his background and his ongoing interests. Publisher, magician, researcher, writer, executor of the Vernon estate, and a man who has a deep understanding of The Expert At The Card Table in its entirety.

It's this last statement that forms a sizable portion of the gist of David's article. He has undertaken to use the actual material in the book as a compass to point to Erdnase. This use of the material that's actually written in the pages of EATCT can't be understated. It's fine to say you're going to undertake such a project..but the actual material is (as David points out) literally a life's work to fully comprehend.
Very few people can leverage the material on the pages to try and paint a picture of the Erdnase the man, simply because very few people truly understand the entirety of the work in EATCT.
Ben has a complete grasp of EATCT.

Ben paints a compelling picture of Erdnase as Andrews, a train worker, and a man who could only have accomplished what he did by practicing for nearly every waking hour of the day, for years on end.
Such a comment can only come from somebody who understands what it takes to master every move in EATCT such that the author could clearly explain it in writing. David Ben understands this concept.
In a nutshell, David's comments fully support Richards E.S. Andrews candidate, and his comments support him quite throughly.

I will diverge slightly here to say that David has done exactly what Marty has done.he's taken one of the two main candidates, as proposed by Alexander and Hatch, and he's essentially molded his "proof" to fit the candidate.

Neither Marty of David came up with their candidate from scratch..each was essentially a champion for another researchers candidate.

I strongly believe that what it really comes down to is the quality of the original research which led to the choice of the candidates long before David Ben or Marty Demarest were on the scene.

If David Alexander was wrong in who he chose as his original candidate (Sanders), then Marty is wrong.
If Richard Hatch was wrong in who he chose as his original candidate (Andrews), then David Ben is wrong.

In terms of original research, I would give the weight to Richard Hatch. His research is not only more extensive and ongoing, it's also the least "reaching" in its conclusions. It simply states the facts as they are found to be, and draws together those facts into a concise picture of where the E.S. Andrews and S.W. Erdnase lines cross each other.

Unfortunately, with David's passing, his "original" research can be developed no further. While I'm a fan (from the days of the Genii article) of David's research, I would honestly state that one must make many leaps of faith in order to arrive at the W.S. Sanders conclusion.
It's not a straight road, and as clever as much of it is.it simply isn't as robust as the Hatch research.
I believe those who fervently support Marty's findings must first go back and understand fully and clearly the somewhat jagged path David took to get to Sanders in the first place.

I will conclude by saying that I believe the E.S. Andrews candidate is, based on all the available information, a stronger candidate than the W.S. Sanders candidate.
I also believe the Andrews candidate is (as Richard Hatch has pointed out) only one piece of information away from being proven to be Erdnase.

I'm not convinced the Sanders candidate has progressed that far, based on the available research.

One final thing in this overly-long post.
It was noted above that David Ben made some comments on David Alexanders "abilities". By parsing Ben's writings into internet posts, it can be made to seem that Mr. Ben was somehow insulting David Alexander.
This is simply not the case.
Ben's comments as they relate to Alexander (and Marty) are polite, professional, and made in a friendly tone throughout.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Farmer » December 14th, 2011, 7:19 am

Whether you agree or disagree, the Magicol issue is just a fantastic read.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » December 14th, 2011, 8:19 am

Roger M. wrote:
I will diverge slightly here to say that David has done exactly what Marty has done.he's taken one of the two main candidates, as proposed by Alexander and Hatch, and he's essentially molded his "proof" to fit the candidate.



But the difference is that the *profile* for Sanders was created by David Alexander, not Marty. And that profile was created before finding the candidate. So David Ben and Marty have done very different things. Marty found lots of new evidence for an existing candidate, whereas David Ben constructed a profile arguing for an existing candidate. I don't think David Ben offered any new evidence. The evidence for Andrews was found by Richard Hatch, absent a profile (as far as I can tell).


Roger M. wrote:
I will conclude by saying that I believe the E.S. Andrews candidate is, based on all the available information, a stronger candidate than the W.S. Sanders candidate.
I also believe the Andrews candidate is (as Richard Hatch has pointed out) only one piece of information away from being proven to be Erdnase.



What's the stronger evidence for Andrews over Sanders? It seems to me the main items would be 1) the possible Seely/Dalrymple connection and 2) whether you think a direct backwards spelling (ES Andrews) is stronger evidence than a full anagram (WE Sanders). I'm not sure the backwards spelling is stronger evidence -- I liked David's argument that the simple backwards spelling was misdirection. Plus the anagram angle is reinforced by the fact that his candidate was playing with anagrams in his diary. Regarding the Seely connection -- it hasn't been established that it's the same Seely and Dalrymple. Plus we have some suggestions of a connection between Sanders and Dalrymple. So the Dalrymple angle seems like it could go either way.

I really don't see any other evidence for Andrews. Very little seems to be known about him. On the other hand, there's quite a bit of circumstantial evidence for Sanders with his gambling history, doing magic tricks, writing style/education, buying decks of cards, playing with anagrams, etc. Did I miss some compelling evidence for ES Andrews?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 14th, 2011, 10:06 am

My point was that Ben and Demarest each championed the candidates of other researchers.
Neither man claimed to have, on his own, discovered anybody new.

The original footwork in both cases was done by David Alexander and Richard Hatch.

I'm aware that Alexander and Hatch arrived at their candidate by completely different means, but neither Ben nor Demarest brought any "new" candidates to the table......which was my point.

The Dalrymple evidence is (IMO) far more compelling in the Andrews case.
An actual name, as opposed to a nebulous figure in a cartoon would seem to carry enough weight to proceed with further investigation.

The cartoon is what it is, and can be taken no further.

I don't attach weight to the cartoon in terms of accepting that the character is Sanders father.

Bring up the spectre of Occams Razor, the K.I.S.S. principle, or whatever works for you.......and the reversal of E.S. Andrews simply is easier to accept than the machinations David Alexander postulated in order to arrive at W.S. Sanders.
Once again, I suggest folks actually dig deep into understanding how David Alexander got to the W.S. Sanders name (if they're unaware of his process). It was hardly anything resembling a straight line.

If you choose to attach weight to Marty's additional findings, as you have in your last sentence, Sanders does indeed continue to appear interesting.
I don't attach the same weight to Marty's findings as you do.

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.

In the end though, neither candidate was shown definitively to have been Erdnase, and realistically, no major new evidence was presented in either series of articles.

Which candidate is currently a stronger candidate is a subjective decision to be made by those who've read all the information available to date.
I find E.S. Andrews to be a stronger candidate.

As to how much stronger a candidate?...........55% vs. 45% in favor of Andrews over Sanders.

..........and of course the very distinct possibility remains that Erdnase was actually neither of them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 14th, 2011, 10:28 am

Bob Farmer wrote:Whether you agree or disagree, the Magicol issue is just a fantastic read.

I agree Bob, and put the Genii issue(s) entirely on par with it.

Combined, they put everything (almost) in this thread into a well written series of articles.

Both Genii and Magicol bring some welcome new thinking to the search.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » December 14th, 2011, 3:16 pm

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?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 14th, 2011, 4:38 pm

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.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 14th, 2011, 7:09 pm

The geographical proximity could easily be happinstance. You can read into it what you like if it supports your theory.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 14th, 2011, 7:27 pm

You could I suppose, if you had a theory.

I don't have a theory though, so I follow the evidence and form opinions.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » December 15th, 2011, 8:58 pm

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 the money.

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.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 15th, 2011, 10:18 pm

Is this supposed to be a magician's version of Lem's story "The Investigation" or similar?

The artist said somebody visited him.

Somebody had a specific style or tone in their writing which gives the book its distinctive flavor.

Beyond that - kind of tough to rule in/out too much.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 15th, 2011, 10:27 pm

magicam wrote:First, what evidence is there to support the notion that the author (whoever he was) actually sold copies of his book?


The title page of the 1st edition says:
"Published by the author."

To me, that means that the author hired the printing, owned the books after they were printed, and distributed them. At a minimum, he sold them wholesale. He may have sold a few retail. At some point, he may have remaindered existing stock.

Given that the book was self-published, I can't put together any reasonable scenario in which he didn't sell them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 15th, 2011, 10:45 pm

Isn't it possible that the author self-published the book with the plan to simply then turn over the entire printing to a single distributor? The book is still self-published, but the author doesn't sell any copies.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » December 15th, 2011, 11:04 pm

Would that distributor wait as long as was waited before advertising the book for the first time (that we know of)?

Seems more likely that a self-published, self-distributed one man operation (Erdnase publishing and selling) would try the low budget, no advertising route before a distributor finally got a hold of the first editions, got them out and into inventory, and an ad then shows up for the first time in a national publication, The Sphinx.

If it was a big distributor right off the bat, doesn't it make sense that the ads would have started showing up much sooner than they did?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » December 15th, 2011, 11:24 pm

To Richards point, yes, under the circumstances it seems entirely possible (and plausible) that Erdnase paid for the printing and binding with the plan that someone else would sell the book. This brings up another point: what evidence do we have, other than the statement on the title page noted by Bill Mullins, that Erdnase actually paid for the printing and binding (which acts of payment are the very things that define what a publisher is)?

To Rogers points and argument, if McKinney was in fact the distributor, why wouldnt Rogers same scenario (economic distribution without advertisement) be equally applicable? Ill add that until a thorough search is done of the newspapers and magazines in which EATCT ads would have likely been run, were on very shaky ground by assuming that the book wasnt advertised earlier in 1902.

But theres a good reason why the book wouldnt have been advertised at the outset. See Hugh McDermotts article in Magicol.

Bill, I generally agree with your characterization of what a modern-day publisher does, but will have to disagree that the Published by the author statement on the title page is very indicative of the authors role in selling copies, directly or wholesale. For example, also on the title page, we are told that S. W Erdnase wrote the book, but few people seem to believe that. So why should the Published by the author statement be credible?

I think there is a very plausible and reasonable scenario for how the Published by the author statement could appear on the title page without the author having anything to do with its sale, and the motivating reason is effectively outlined in Hugh McDermotts article: publishers could be prosecuted under the Comstock and related obscenity laws, but almost certainly not printers, who, unlike authors and publishers, had nothing to do with a books content. So in EATCT the identities of the author and publisher the two parties who could be prosecuted are hidden. Makes perfect sense to me. Of course, that doesnt prove that the author didnt sell copies of his book, but for the reasons discussed in my earlier post, it stands to reason that the author would have good reason to distance himself from his book.

If the Published by the author statement is the only basis we have for assuming that the author sold the book himself (retail or wholesale), IMHO that is very thin evidence indeed and, all things considered, its probative value is minimal. To the extent that the authors personal involvement in the sale of EATCT is a critical component of anyones theory of authorship, IMHO any such theory has a very weak foundation.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 16th, 2011, 12:33 am

magicam wrote: To Richards point, yes, under the circumstances it seems entirely possible (and plausible) that Erdnase paid for the printing and binding with the plan that someone else would sell the book.


If Erdnase paid for the printing and binding, did he not own the books at that point? And if he lost ownership of the books but received money in return, did he not sell them? I guess I'm not understanding how one can be a publisher, and not sell the publication.

This brings up another point: what evidence do we have, other than the statement on the title page noted by Bill Mullins, that Erdnase actually paid for the printing and binding (which acts of payment are the very things that define what a publisher is)?


As I've said previously in the thread, if we discount what appear to be statements of fact from primary sources, we aren't left with anything at all other than suppositions, and there's no point in pretending what we are doing is "research". To me, Occam's Razor guides me to believe that the book was published by the author. It may not have been, but without pretty convincing fact-based or documentary evidence, I won't spend much time entertaining the possibility.

publishers could be prosecuted under the Comstock and related obscenity laws, but almost certainly not printers, who, unlike authors and publishers, had nothing to do with a books content.


HERE
ARE
THREE articles about a printer, arrested by Comstock himself, who was tried and convicted for printing gambling literature.

AND ANOTHERprinter arrested.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Diego » December 16th, 2011, 1:32 am

It's hard to believe that David Alexander passed away suddenly one year ago.

Remembering a friend whose research skills and persistence, helped many.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » December 16th, 2011, 2:46 am

Bill, I could not open the third, gambling link you provided, but the other three clippings are readily distinguishable from the risk of McKinney being convicted under the Comstock or a related law for printing EATCT. The first two clippings concern a man named Marvin, who was engaged in the act of counterfeiting (green-goods) he was arrested because of the counterfeiting, not the printing per se. Moreover, it was clear he knew what he was doing by the back-room location of the counterfeit printing operations the surreptitious nature of his activities suggest knowledge of guilt. In criminal law, except for the small handful of strict liability criminal statutes, proving mens rea (loosely translated, guilty mind) is an indispensable part of convicting someone of a crime. As for the Hollaman case, I have to admit that this clipping undercuts my assumption, but I will add that there is nothing to indicate that Hollaman was actually convicted of printing the lottery ad in the program, just that he was arrested. According to McDermott, Comstocks conviction rate was only about 60%, which certainly indicates that Comstock made or caused a high percentage of ineffectual/unsubstantiated arrests.

But let me concede your point and agree, for the sake of argument, that McKinney could have been not only arrested, but also convicted, of the simple act of printing EATCT. Of what import is that concession for the subjects and theories being discussed? IMHO, not much.

Bill Mullins wrote:
magicam wrote: To Richards point, yes, under the circumstances it seems entirely possible (and plausible) that Erdnase paid for the printing and binding with the plan that someone else would sell the book.
If Erdnase paid for the printing and binding, did he not own the books at that point? And if he lost ownership of the books but received money in return, did he not sell them? I guess I'm not understanding how one can be a publisher, and not sell the publication.

Cmon Bill! Im clearly talking about Erdnase taking an active role in the sales of the book to third parties, by retail or wholesale. Youre now talking about the hyper-abstract notion of a sale of the book to divest ownership. Dont you think theres a huge difference between the two concepts? In essence, if you believe that Published by the author equates with Erdnase taking an active role in selling copies of his book (retail or wholesale), so be it. I think thats a risky and unfounded inference/assumption, but thats just my opinion, obviously.

Bill Mullins wrote:
magicam wrote:This brings up another point: what evidence do we have, other than the statement on the title page noted by Bill Mullins, that Erdnase actually paid for the printing and binding (which acts of payment are the very things that define what a publisher is)?
As I've said previously in the thread, if we discount what appear to be statements of fact from primary sources, we aren't left with anything at all other than suppositions, and there's no point in pretending what we are doing is "research". To me, Occam's Razor guides me to believe that the book was published by the author. It may not have been, but without pretty convincing fact-based or documentary evidence, I won't spend much time entertaining the possibility.

Bill, the primary source is a known liar! He used a false name. To the extent that using Occams Razor is even apt in this case, which Razor you gonna pick? :) The one saying that since the author clearly wanted to disguise his identity and role concerning EATCT, all other statements which might provide clues about his real name and role should be equally suspect, or the Razor that says its printed on the title page, so absent convincing evidence to the contrary it must be a true statement? You ignored my point about the authors apparent use of a pseudonym on the title page, but by the logic quoted above, it seems like youd be prepared to argue that the search for an author whose name isnt S.W. Erdnase means that were not doing research on the authors identity.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 16th, 2011, 5:54 pm

Clay The Comstock laws, like many laws today which regulate "morality", were used arbitrarily and capriciously. The examples I provided may not have been the best, but they were ones I could find quickly, and they were not behind pay walls. I've also found examples where people were arrested (by Comstock) for printing post cards reproducing artwork containing naked women images that may be found in art books in schools everywhere. And cases where minions were arrested along with their bosses, perhaps to compel their cooperation (just as low-level drug dealers are arrested to get to suppliers). At any rate, my (so far, cursory) research doesn't support the idea that printers, being parties of lesser culpability, would be less likely to be arrested than publisher. And that being the case, the logic of "the printer wanted to divert responsibility to the author, thus the 'published by the author' statement is false, to protect the printer" theory doesn't hold up.

I took "green-goods" to refer to the green baize cloth on gaming tables, and thought it meant "gambling literature". If it meant counterfeit, that does undercut the point I was making. (and the Oxford English Dictionary does support the "counterfeit" meaning). So, my bad there.

As far as "publishing" directly implying "selling", I guess we disagree. A publisher of books, sells books. Someone had to have taken "an active role in the sales of the book to third parties, by retail or wholesale." The book was marked as self-published. From all indications, it was a fairly small print run I think Richard Hatch has speculated that maybe a thousand were printed, and I see no reason to strongly disagree with that estimate (while conceding that it is only an estimate). We don't know who moved it to the magic shops that were known to have sold it, but what little evidence there is points to the author, or at least is not supportive of any other party. The publication of "Expert" was a small enterprise, without much room for multiple parties. If you disbelieve the "published by the author" statement, the rest of the chain falls apart, but any other theory would be more compelling if supported by direct evidence, than if by denying contrary evidence.

In essence, if you believe that Published by the author equates with Erdnase taking an active role in selling copies of his book (retail or wholesale), so be it.


I believe so, for two reasons:
1. The book states just that, and the arguments for the statement being false just aren't convincing to me
2. Someone had to sell the book, and the author is the best candidate, given the known circumstances of its publication. Compare it to "New Era Card Tricks" a book comparable in many ways. It was stated to be published by the author, Roterberg. It was sold directly by him. It was copyrighted by him.

And I don't the use of a pseudonym (in and of itself) makes other statements suspect. Pseudonyms are a special class of "lie" (a word that I don't really think is appropriate here, but I don't know a better one). Your comments about "mens rea" seem relevant here without knowing the author's intent in the (mild) deception, it's difficult to say he was an out-and-out liar. Sometimes pseudonyms are an "open secret" everyone knew that Mark Twain was Sam Clemens. It may be that Erdnase thought people would know that Erdnase wasn't really his name, and today it is only an accident of history that we don't know now who wrote the book.
(The title page of "Running Man" says that the author was Richard Bachman (pseud. of Stephen King); should we disbelieve that it was published by New American Library?)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 16th, 2011, 6:11 pm

A person (or entity) would be considered the "publisher" of a work if:
1. He paid for the printing or someone else paid for the printing on his behalf.
2. He sold the entire lot of printed books en masse to a single entity before or after they were actually printed.
3. He sold all the books one at a time.
4. He sold some of the books one at a time and sold large quantities to other entities (one or many).

In other words, the title of "publisher" can be conveyed very loosely.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » December 16th, 2011, 7:37 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:I took "green-goods" to refer to the green baize cloth on gaming tables, and thought it meant "gambling literature". If it meant counterfeit, that does undercut the point I was making. (and the Oxford English Dictionary does support the "counterfeit" meaning).


From the context of the newspaper accounts, I'm pretty sure the "green goods" here is in reference to this very interesting scam:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_goods_scam

No bills are actually counterfeited. Real bills are represented as excellent counterfeits, sold at a discount, then switched for worthless paper. Pretty clever, since the victim is unlikely to go to the authorities and admit to an attempt to purchase counterfeit bills.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 19th, 2011, 1:10 am

Is there anything in the text that indicates the author was a Freemason?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » December 19th, 2011, 1:55 am

Bill,

Im not saying that Erdnase didnt publish the book. Im simply stating my opinion that under the circumstances as we know them, its unwise to blindly accept the Published by the author statement as true, in part because we know (at least believe strongly) that S. W. Erdnase was not the authors real name.

My next argument, boiled down to its essence, is that its a pretty big and untenable leap to conclude that the author had anything to do with actual book sales simply because the title page says Published by the author. Sure, at some level of abstraction, all publishers do indeed sell books, and youre also correct in saying that someone had to sell copies of the book (retail and wholesale). But as RK has correctly pointed out, one could be a publisher and have absolutely nothing to do with "an active role in the sales of the book to third parties, by retail or wholesale." Thus, the argument that if one disbelieves the published by the author statement, the rest of the chain falls apart must fail because it incorrectly assumes that all publishers in Erdnases position actively participate in the sales of their books.

I believe the claim that what little evidence there is points to the author, or at least is not supportive of any other party is incorrect. What evidence is there that the author actually sold copies? None, I believe. But there are two bits of evidence that are indeed supportive of another party McKinney. The best of the two is Adrian Plates notation in a copy of EATCT that it was sold by McKinney. The second bit of evidence is weaker, but still very interesting given Plates notation and the timing, and thats the fact that discounted copies seem to have appeared on the market only after McKinneys bankruptcy.

In essence, if you believe that Published by the author equates with Erdnase taking an active role in selling copies of his book (retail or wholesale), so be it.
I believe so, for two reasons:
1. The book states just that, and the arguments for the statement being false just aren't convincing to me
2. Someone had to sell the book, and the author is the best candidate, given the known circumstances of its publication. Compare it to "New Era Card Tricks" a book comparable in many ways. It was stated to be published by the author, Roterberg. It was sold directly by him. It was copyrighted by him.

Well, Im beating a dead horse here, but just to make the point (again! :) ). Yes, the book says Published by the author, but it does not say, and such statement does not equate with taking an active role in selling copies of his book!!! Im afraid the Roterberg analogy does not work, if only because Roterberg used his real name and (so far as I know) had no reason to fear prosecution by the likes of Comstock for NECT. Even if you could find a closer analogy, Im not sure it would prove anything vis--vis Erdnase. Think of it the other way: if I offered one or more examples of a book printed under a pseudonym with the statement Published by the author on the title page, when in fact it was known that the author didnt publish such book, would you accept my argument that this somehow was a significant element of proof for showing that Erdnase didnt publish EATCT? I have no doubt that such books exist, but I dont think their existence proves anything about who published (or who didnt publish) EATCT.

The title page of "Running Man" says that the author was Richard Bachman (pseud. of Stephen King); should we disbelieve that it was published by New American Library?

Actually, to properly analogize to the Erdnase situation, the question should be: The title page of "Running Man" says that the author was Richard Bachman (pseud. of Stephen King) and the publisher was Richard Bachman; should we disbelieve that it was published by Richard Bachman? The answer of course is Yes! And I think that provides some support for waiving the caution flag re assuming that Erdnase actually published EATCT. ;)

Well, I think weve gone through enough iterations of trying to convince each other. Ill leave you with the last word and will hope that our exchanges may, in some small way, provide food for thought to Erdnase scholars.

Clay

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 19th, 2011, 1:18 pm

The only "last word" I'll take advantage of is that it is good to go up and down both sides of issues such as this with people who have well-developed arguments for what they are saying. I did it several times with David Alexander, and I miss disagreeing with him.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 19th, 2011, 1:51 pm

Any feedback/contributions from community of historians in Chicago on the book?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 3rd, 2012, 1:40 pm

The new issue of Magic has an ad from Lybrary.com featuring Hurt McDermott's new book Artifice, Ruse and Erdnase.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 6th, 2012, 4:27 pm

There must have been dozens of people with the initials/name "E. S. Andrews" in the U. S. ca. 1900. I've identified several beyond those we discuss here (the NM Sheriff, the WI/New England insurance executive, the Chicago Board of Trade official, etc., etc.). Every now and then one turns up that is a little more interesting than average.

Casper WY Daily Tribune 5/23/1919 p 8 [classified ad]

Colonial Oil, Jumbo of Burkburnett Fields, have drilled 1000 feet, passed thru 2 proven sands; only 700 feet to big production; stock advances Monday, May 26, to 35 cents. Buy now at 25 cents. Communicate with E. S. Andrews no later than Sunday night. Box E. S., Tribune, or call 754-R. Residence 946 S. Walnut.

Casper WY Daily Tribune 10/24/1919 p 6, repeats in 10/28/1919 p 7 [classified ad]

I candidly recommend Ferris O'Brien stock in the Ferris O'Brien field as one of the biggest investments in Wyoming. Big doings in the field this week. See me at the Wyatt Hotel. E. S. Andrews.

Casper WY Herald 12/16/1919 p 5

E. S. Andrews is leaving this evening for Douglas, and after a several days' business visit in that city, will leave for the Black Hills, where he will spend the holidays at Bellefourche, with his wife who is visiting with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hurley, prominent stock owners and farmers of that vicinity.

Casper WY Daily Tribune 4/6/1920 p 1

CHECK ARTIST UP FOR TRIAL
E. S. Andrews, who was arrested Monday on a charge of passing fraudulent checks, is to be tried tomorrow morning before Justice of the Peace W. E. Tubbs. Andrews cashed one check for $75, the warrant charges.


Casper WY Daily Tribune 4/8/1920 p 4

Alleged Forger Bound Over To District Court
E. S. Andrews, who is charged with forging the name of Mrs. Kate Winkler to a check, was bound over to the district court under bond of $1000 when his case was heard before Justice W. E. Tubbs today. Andrews is alleged to have sold Mrs. Winkler a fraudulent oil stock and to have defrauded her in other ways.


Casper WY Herald, 9/15/1920 p. 1

Defendant Disappears; Another is Discharged
When the case of E. S. Andrews who was charged with passing a fraudulent check was called in court before Judge Kimball yesterday it was discovered that the defendant had apparently left town, for he failed to put in an appearance to answer the charge against him. He was under bond of $500 for his appearance.


I haven't located this guy in the census or city directories, so I don't know how old he was in 1902. Everything I know about him (so far), you know as well. I am not asserting that he wrote Expert. Right now, he's just an interesting guy . . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Josh V. » January 6th, 2012, 6:09 pm

Sorry if this is a repost as I have not personally read every single letter of all 27+ pages.

However I was wondering what had been "decided" in regards to the frequent use of "we and "us" and "our" in Erdnase?

This seems to me to point to the publishing house themselves writing it as there would be more than one person then, not just an E.S. Andrews.

Does anyone have any descriptions of what the publishers looked like? Do they jive with what the artist describe Erdnase to look like?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 7th, 2012, 11:38 am

I don't know if it's been "decided", but I think the general consensus is that the author is using the authorial "we", and it is not necessarily indicative of group authorship.

I've never seen a picture of Drake, Galloway, or any of the others who were involved in the printing of the book.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » January 7th, 2012, 7:22 pm

Regarding the appearance of Frederick J. Drake (that is, what he looked like), here are a few comments.

The Frederick J. Drake & Co. catalog for 1912 was 82 pages long. The third page has "A Word from Our President to Those Who Receive This Catalogue." It also has a halftone portrait of Drake. That catalog is included in a volume (August 1912) of the Publishers' Trade List Annual. I examined it many years ago at the research library of my alma mater, UCLA, when I was working on S.W. Erdnase: Another View.

I don't remember much about the portrait, but overall, he did not look as I imagine Erdnase to have looked.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2012, 7:27 pm

Welcome, Tom!
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