ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Jack Shalom
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » August 26th, 2015, 11:11 am

Thanks, Bill

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 26th, 2015, 11:50 am

3 books on gambling in a collection certainly doesn't seem like "a lot", especially when the company you work for printed one of them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 26th, 2015, 1:12 pm

Roger M. wrote:3 books on gambling in a collection certainly doesn't seem like "a lot", especially when the company you work for printed one of them.

Just to clarify: of the three books known to have Gallaway's bookplate, only one is on gambling, and that is the first edition EATCT. The other two are both volumes of the History of the Works of the Learned, one of which was recently offered on eBay. Presumably Gallaway had a much larger library than these three books (!) and it apparently included several gambling titles, as noted in TMWWE. There may be those who know what those titles were, but if so, they haven't shared their information on that here.
Last edited by Richard Hatch on August 26th, 2015, 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 26th, 2015, 3:07 pm

Chris, from what information did you determine Gallaway had a large collection of gambling books?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » August 26th, 2015, 6:31 pm

Bill Mullins wrote: As late as Jan 1904, Andrews was with Cobb Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, and had not yet become associated with Ruxton.


I can't access that or even read the excerpt. But so what? I suspect that this was a side-line. As late as 1913 he was doing three jobs - In the November 19th issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, it was reported that "Emory C. Andrews is Second Vice-President of Philip Ruxton, Inc., manufacturers of printing inks. He is also chemist with the Corn Products Company and Manager of the Woodcock Can Company." [Volume XIV, No. 8, page 192]

In the 1900 Directory of the Alumni of the University of Chicago, it said that he was in real estate. That never made it to his CV either. He was probably just helping out in his father's office.

Did you never do two (or more) jobs at the same time? Andrews did and so did I. He got married on January 1, 1904, and probably started bottling "Knock- Out Spots" in a spare room just to make some extra cash. Clever bloke our Emory :-)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » August 26th, 2015, 7:26 pm

Zenner wrote:and probably started bottling "Knock- Out Spots" in a spare room just to make some extra cash. Clever bloke our Emory :-)

Peter Zenner



I'm sorry to be ignorant but what the heck are "Knock- Out Spots"?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » August 26th, 2015, 7:40 pm

lybrary wrote:
Edward Finck wrote:Also, what other books on gambling or magic did Gallaway have in his library?

We don't know.

Edward Finck wrote:You've mentioned repeatedly that he had other gambling books in his collection, how many and what are they? Were they all printed after Erdnase's book?

We don't know. But if we find these books which had his bookplate then we will know. They should be somewhere in some collection.


It's pretty telling that your candidate Gallaway (and I remind you that Jay Marshall considered him as writer/editor and discarded the theory in the 50s) is primarily based on your belief that he had gambling books in his collection. The only gambling book positively known to be in his collection is one he was involved with printing. The speculated other books could have been printed much later and also collected by him when he worked at Bentley, Murray & Co. a known printer of gambling material. Without these supposed books in his collection your whole argument for Gallaway collapses.

Jay definitely investigated Gallaway and spoke with his remaining family and then removed Gallaway from consideration. Jay was really smart and did a lot of the original research and footwork on Erdnase with Martin. If there was an actual case for Gallaway being the author it's extremely likely Jay would have made it.

E.F.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » August 26th, 2015, 8:09 pm

Edward Finck wrote:
Zenner wrote:and probably started bottling "Knock- Out Spots" in a spare room just to make some extra cash. Clever bloke our Emory :-)

Peter Zenner


I'm sorry to be ignorant but what the heck are "Knock- Out Spots"?


I did a search on the Cobb Manufacturing Co. and found that they were (or he was) marketing a stain removal product -

"“KNOCK - OUT - SPOTS. Wine, Tea, Coffee, Vegetables, Fruit, Grass, Mildew, Scorch, Ink. Perspiration, Iodine, Silver Nitrate and all Similar Stains. KNOCKOUT-SPOTS will remove Payson’s Indelible Ink. Save your clothes and save money. Don’t send them to the cleaners. Use KNOCK- OUT-SPOTS. If washing will not remove the stains on your table linen--use KNOCK-OUT- SPOTS. Use it on anything that is stained or spotted. It works. It will not injure cotton, woollen or linen goods. The most delicate and valuable laces can be cleaned without the slightest injury to the fabric. NO ACID-NO LIME--NO POISON-NO DANGER. Quick, effective and permanent in its effects. Handy for the housewife --Handy for everybody. Try it once, and you will use it always. It is something, you have always wanted. There is nothing else like it anywhere. Manufactured by THE COBB MANUFACTURING COMPANY OF CHICAGO. PRICE, 25 CENTS FOR LARGE TWO-OUNCE SIZE. 80 CENTS FOR SIX-OUNCE SIZE. A two-ounce bottle will last a long time and will always be ready for use. Don't forget that we want jingles. $5.00 for every Jingle that we accept.” (November 15, 1904. The Daily Review from Decatur, Illinois · Page 2)

I couldn’t find a similar advert in The Chicago Tribune, or anywhere else for that matter.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 26th, 2015, 11:17 pm

Roger M. wrote:Chris, from what information did you determine Gallaway had a large collection of gambling books?

I never said large. I said "several gambling books". From Gardner/Busby/Whaley: "An inveterate book collector, by the time of his death in 1930 Gallaway had gathered a fair-sized collection of gambling books. ... Several of the gambling books had the bookplate of Edward Gallaway."

Edward Finck wrote:It's pretty telling that your candidate Gallaway is primarily based on your belief that he had gambling books in his collection.

Your reading comprehension is lacking. It is one of the less important pieces of evidence I have offered over the last weeks.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » August 27th, 2015, 11:46 am

lybrary wrote:
Edward Finck wrote:It's pretty telling that your candidate Gallaway is primarily based on your belief that he had gambling books in his collection.

Your reading comprehension is lacking. It is one of the less important pieces of evidence I have offered over the last weeks.


And once again your tact is lacking and so is your case. Without these mysterious gambling books being in his collection your case is zilch.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 27th, 2015, 12:58 pm

mam wrote:Is anyone interested in this entire thread as a pdf and/or Kindle compatible file? I decided I want to read it all, from the start, and wanted a better (and offline) format so I did a quick and dirty conversion. It's about 700 pages. Given of course I'm not breaking any rules by doing so, I'd be happy to share it.

I asked Richard Kaufman for permission and he said yes, so here it is:

PDF: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/307 ... rdnase.pdf (700 pages)
Kindle: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/307 ... dnase.mobi

Have fun :)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 28th, 2015, 4:31 pm

Something that Chris has pointed out that Erdnase and Gallaway have in common is that they both self-published authors. At first glance, this would seem to be a connection that strengthens the case. But I'm not so sure.

If Erdnase was Gallaway, what is the explanation for the disconnect between letting Drake be the publisher of EATCT from 1905 onward, yet publishing Estimating for Printers himself?

If he was consistent about the benefits of self-publishing, he never would have transferred EATCT to Drake.

If, on the other hand, he took a bath on the first edition, and was content to let Drake deal with the headaches of publishing, why would he then go back into self-publishing for his Estimating book? In particular, why not let the school at which he taught do the publishing?

And another thing-- why would someone with as many connections to publishing as Gallaway would have had ca. 1902 mishandle the copyright like Erdnase did?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 28th, 2015, 11:34 pm

I have been thinking about the original manuscript and through what hands it must have passed.

To begin with, Erdnase authored the manuscript either literally (i.e. by hand) or typed it. To have it printed, it was handed over to James McKinney and company. If this happened in person, Erdnase visited McKinney at the Bentley Murray building, 73-75 South Plymouth Court (today 511 South Plymouth Court). It could however have been sent by mail. Depending on the exact routine for handling incoming manuscripts, it may have passed any number of hands before ending up with the person who was to do the typesetting.

So the text was set in print by someone. Do we know with which technology? If letterpress (movable type), there would be no trace of the book "plates" after it was printed, as the type would be disassembled and reused for other projects. If instead something like a rotary printing press was used, flexible plates would have been produced specifically for this project. If so, these may have survived for a long time unless deliberately destroyed.

In the McKinney bankruptcy files, three types of plates (electro, patent, photo) are mentioned as belonging to Drake. But my understanding of the preceding documentation by The Equitable Trust Company is that these were produced by Drake and sent to McKinney for printing with, not the other way around. So the notion that these entries in the bankruptcy files could be the plates for EATCT cannot be correct, or am I missing something? What we would like to find is instead what was in McKinney's own possession at the time of the bankruptcy, or even in Drake's possession when they bankrupted or dissolved (did they?) Could there be any Drake bankruptcy files out there?

For copyright matters Erdnase left a c/o McKinney address. Any such matters or any other correspondence would again mean that either Erdnase visited McKinney every now and then, or they communicated via mail. If the latter, there would be an address somewhere at McKinney for them to write to, unless someone had memorized Erdnase's real address (read: probably not.)

I don't know what usually happened to a manuscript after set in type and printed. Returned to author? If so, in person or via mail? Is there even the remote possibility that this manuscript still exists?

Summing it up with some final thoughts:

Did Erdnase and McKinney communicate via mail or in person? If by mail, there may be a real address somewhere.

Were any permanent plates produced? Where did they end up after McKinney's bankruptcy?

Let's find more McKinney documents, and start looking for Drake's.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 28th, 2015, 11:43 pm

Carlo Morpurgo wrote:Allright. I finally have a foolproof routine that matches common sequences of words between two files....
You fill find all the results here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3Wpu ... DZ4UGswZjQ
.....
The summary is as follows

1. Bookbinding I: 160 matches
2. Bookbinding II: 153
3. Distilling: 71
4. Glass Blowing: 97 (19K words)
5. Hat Making: 122 (23K words)
6. The Mind: 68
7. Photography: 94
8. Pianola Player: 75
9. Plumbing: 126
10. Making Things: 123 (24K words)
11. Violin Playing: 76
12. Woodworking: 146
13. Wood Carving: 135
....


The routine I wrote was actually a tiny bit faulty...The problem isn't as straightforward as one might think. We now have a perfected version in C++ that will do the job correctly. The updated results are as follows: (unless noted all books have about 25K words)

0. Art of Magic: 1474 Matches (120K words)
1. Bookbinding I: 195
2. Bookbinding II: 172
3. Distilling: 82
4. Glass Blowing: 106 (19K words)
5. Hat Making: 142 (23K words)
6. The Mind: 77
7. Photography: 104
8. Pianola Player: 90
9. Plumbing: 143
10. Making Things: 147 (24K words)
11. Violin Playing: 98
12. Woodworking: 169
13. Wood Carving: 160

Since I was at it I ran eatct against EC Andrews' "Color and its application", and I got 140 matches.

Results are still posted here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3Wpu ... DZ4UGswZjQ

Not counting AOM the average no. of common sequences is....(drum roll) 130! (more precisely 130.36)

This is just for completeness...it's not going to make a dent in the more serious research that has been posted here (and that I enjoyed reading).

ps. and no, I am not thinking about this every day :) my brother found a gap and he fixed it

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 29th, 2015, 7:29 am

mam wrote:For copyright matters Erdnase left a c/o McKinney address. Any such matters or any other correspondence would again mean that either Erdnase visited McKinney every now and then, or they communicated via mail. If the latter, there would be an address somewhere at McKinney for them to write to, unless someone had memorized Erdnase's real address (read: probably not.)

You have to ask yourself why would a printer like McKinney even agree to an arrangement like that? McKinney is a printer not a publisher. They print books and other things and then deliver those. End of project. Copyrights go on for decades. Why would McKinney agree to be the post box for Erdnase? All those with a candidate who is not employed at McKinney need to explain this. With Gallaway it is very easy. He worked there. Putting his employer's address on the copyright form does not pose any problem. You just have to read the evidence. The evidence fits an employee at McKinney a whole lot better than a one time customer.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 29th, 2015, 7:47 am

Bill Mullins wrote:If he was consistent about the benefits of self-publishing, he never would have transferred EATCT to Drake.

Bill, you are falling into the same old traps. You think humans are immutable mathematical objects and you are blind to the circumstances that have changed during the 25 years which are between these books.

When Gallaway published EATCT he just got married, his first born was on the way, and he may have already felt the crumbling of his employer McKinney. Lots of good reasons to sell his book to Drake or McKinney or somebody else. We don't know who he sold it to. In 1927 he had a completely different personal and professional environment.

But even ignoring all these circumstances there is another very good reason. The main problem self-published authors face is how to sell the stack of books the printer has just delivered. Gallaway might have not been as successful selling these to retailers as he initially thought, particularly since Erdnase wasn't a household name back then. And so he decides to sell his project. In 1927 he was the founder and owner of a flourishing print estimating school. This meant he had a built in customer base for his book. Every semester new students came who all were asked to buy the textbook "Estimating for Printers". On top he was a well-known and respected authority on estimating in the print industry. Now he was a household name. It was certainly a lot easier to sell his estimating book. But also keep in mind that just 3 years after he published "Estimating for Printers" he died. We do not know his mid- or long-term plans with his later books.

Bill Mullins wrote:In particular, why not let the school at which he taught do the publishing?

Correction. It was not a school where he merely taught. He founded it, owned it, and was the principal instructor.

Bill Mullins wrote:And another thing-- why would someone with as many connections to publishing as Gallaway would have had ca. 1902 mishandle the copyright like Erdnase did?

Can you explain 'mishandle'? I don't see where it was mishandled. Application was valid and paid.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 29th, 2015, 10:26 am

By the way, Philip Ruxton's company sure knew how to write ad copy :)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 29th, 2015, 11:49 am

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:And another thing-- why would someone with as many connections to publishing as Gallaway would have had ca. 1902 mishandle the copyright like Erdnase did?

Can you explain 'mishandle'? I don't see where it was mishandled. Application was valid and paid.



There are several, for lack of a better word, "anomalies" with the copyright of EATCT that indicate to me that the author didn't know what he was doing.

1. Twice on the application, the "residence" of the author is given as 73 Plymouth, which was McKinney's work address.

2. The book stated that it had been copyrighted in Great Britain, and in Canada, and it hadn't been. This caused Frederic Jessel, in 1905, to say "no place of publication is given, but the copyright was registered in Canada". And it (along with poor memory) confused Dai Vernon about the book's history for years as well.

3. Some illustrations have specific copyright notices, and others do not.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 29th, 2015, 12:36 pm

I don't think 'mishandled', or 'not knowing what he was doing' are the right words here. If it was Gallaway's first self-published book, which it may very well be, then this was also most likely the first time he applied for copyright.

Bill Mullins wrote:1. Twice on the application, the "residence" of the author is given as 73 Plymouth, which was McKinney's work address.

I would say this was a deliberate act to stay as much anonymous as he could. Listing his employers address, a place he was 6 days out of the week, doesn't strike me as unusual. I don't think this was an error or that he did not know what he was doing. I think he very well knew what he was doing and it was deliberate. Fits into the whole want to be anonymous thing. Wouldn't you agree?

Bill Mullins wrote:2. The book stated that it had been copyrighted in Great Britain, and in Canada, and it hadn't been.

Do we know this for a fact? I remember reading somewhere that the British copyright records for that year have been destroyed (by fire?) and one cannot know anymore if copyright was applied for or not. But even if he did not apply for the Canadian and British copyrights I see it simply as a deterrent. Most copyright statements are. Very few, even if infringed take legal action due to the cost involved with litigation. I even know some who put an ISBN number into their books purely to make it look more 'legitimate' and 'protected' not because they use it or distribute their books through the general book market for which the ISBN number is used.

Bill Mullins wrote:3. Some illustrations have specific copyright notices, and others do not.

So what? I don't know the exact rules and regulations that applied back then, but I don't think illustrations were required to have separate copyright statements. I think that this is more a sign of a somewhat sloppy and inconsistent book production than a 'mishandling' of copyrights.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 29th, 2015, 1:01 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:1. Twice on the application, the "residence" of the author is given as 73 Plymouth, which was McKinney's work address.

I would say this was a deliberate act to stay as much anonymous as he could. Listing his employers address, a place he was 6 days out of the week, doesn't strike me as unusual. I don't think this was an error or that he did not know what he was doing. I think he very well knew what he was doing and it was deliberate. Fits into the whole want to be anonymous thing. Wouldn't you agree?
If you are Gallaway, and wanting to be anonymous, and are willing to lie when stating your residence, it doesn't make much sense to put down your place of employment instead. There are hundreds of thousands of other addresses in Chicago that are more anonymous.

Bill Mullins wrote:2. The book stated that it had been copyrighted in Great Britain, and in Canada, and it hadn't been.

Do we know this for a fact? I remember reading somewhere that the British copyright records for that year have been destroyed (by fire?) and one cannot know anymore if copyright was applied for or not.


H Adrian Smith, writing in The Linking Ring in 1951:

"Another objective was Stationers' Hall, where I was most anxious to check into the mystery of the true identity of S. W. Erdnase. Those who own The Expert at the Card Table may recall that the title page verso states the book to have been entered in Stationers' Hall, the British equivalent of the American copyright. If true, I was certain that the author's true name would be properly entered in these records. . . . Since their records go back only to 1925, a further search was necessary to find the Hall of Records, where earlier entries are preserved. A careful check of their catalogue from the period of 1895 to 1904 failed to reveal any trace of the book either under S. W. Erdnase or E. S. Andrews, nor was any listing found in the cross-index volumes under either the cover title or title-page title. I am convinced that the book was not entered in Stationers' Hall, regardless of the printed note in the book"

David Ben did a similarly exhaustive search of Canadian records, finding the appropriate documents (in Dai Vernon's father's own handwriting) for the period, and there was no record of EATCT in them.

Bill Mullins wrote:3. Some illustrations have specific copyright notices, and others do not.
So what? I don't know the exact rules and regulations that applied back then, but I don't think illustrations were required to have separate copyright statements. I think that this is more a sign of a somewhat sloppy and inconsistent book production than a 'mishandling' of copyrights.


The "so what" is that Erdnase didn't know how to properly mark, and didn't properly register, copyrights. He didn't know what he was doing.

A person with Gallaway's background in printing and publishing would have done a more competent job.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 29th, 2015, 1:38 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:If you are Gallaway, and wanting to be anonymous, and are willing to lie when stating your residence, it doesn't make much sense to put down your place of employment instead. There are hundreds of thousands of other addresses in Chicago that are more anonymous.

You still want to know what is mailed to you by the copyright office. Putting down a completely fake address makes little sense. Putting down your employers address where you have access to correspondence makes sense. His actions regarding the addresses he provided are completely consistent and sensible.

Bill Mullins wrote:H Adrian Smith, writing in The Linking Ring in 1951:

"Another objective was Stationers' Hall, where I was most anxious to check into the mystery of the true identity of S. W. Erdnase. Those who own The Expert at the Card Table may recall that the title page verso states the book to have been entered in Stationers' Hall, the British equivalent of the American copyright. If true, I was certain that the author's true name would be properly entered in these records. . . . Since their records go back only to 1925, a further search was necessary to find the Hall of Records, where earlier entries are preserved. A careful check of their catalogue from the period of 1895 to 1904 failed to reveal any trace of the book either under S. W. Erdnase or E. S. Andrews, nor was any listing found in the cross-index volumes under either the cover title or title-page title. I am convinced that the book was not entered in Stationers' Hall, regardless of the printed note in the book"

David Ben did a similarly exhaustive search of Canadian records, finding the appropriate documents (in Dai Vernon's father's own handwriting) for the period, and there was no record of EATCT in them.

Thanks. So he did not register it there. Doesn't mean it is inconsistent. Either simply a deterrent as I stated before, or perhaps he intended to register the foreign copyrights later but due to him selling his book project early he had no time and at that point no interest anymore. All we know he registered early 1902 at the US copyright office. If I have this correct then the first Drake copies appear in 1903. We also don't find any explicit mention of the book in the bankruptcy files or indications that Drake bought it during the bankruptcy proceedings. It is therefore likely that Erdnase/Gallaway sold the book sometime in 1902, which could be pretty soon after he applied for copyrights in the US. Once sold why would he still be registering Canadian or British copyrights?

Bill Mullins wrote:The "so what" is that Erdnase didn't know how to properly mark, and didn't properly register, copyrights. He didn't know what he was doing. A person with Gallaway's background in printing and publishing would have done a more competent job.

The US copyright was proper and valid. And why would somebody be a copyright register expert when one is working in the print industry as estimator? The copyright registration is something a lawyer would do rather than a printer or print estimator. That this was something new to him is again completely consistent with Gallaway's background.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 29th, 2015, 4:37 pm

Based on everything presented to date, my opinion would be that not only is Gallaway not Erdnase, but there is nothing compelling enough to even continue to consider him as a potential candidate.

In effect, Chris would like us to accept Gallaway as Erdnase simply for the act of his asking us to do so.

IMO, Jay Marshall was on the right track when he rejected Gallaway after his own investigation into the possibility that he (Gallaway) might be a candidate.

Despite some 20 or so pages of posts to the forum, the only hard fact actually related to the search we have from Chris is that Gallaway owned a copy of EATCT ... hardly surprising when one considers he was likely the man that physically printed it, or was at least involved with its production.

In other words, Chris has presented nothing more than the details as to how, and in what order he made his own, personal leaps of faith.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 29th, 2015, 5:15 pm

I think I understand fairly well where some of the people who are not enthused about Edward Gallaway are coming from.

I don't know of anything hard that one can point to in defense of the Gallaway case.

But I think that (in large part) the way a person views the case comes down to the question of why Gallaway might have owned a copy of the book.

I personally have significant problems with believing that Gallaway's possession of the book was connected with his work duties.

But I realize that other people (possibly most) vehemently disagree with this.

--Tom Sawyer
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby CENTERDEAL » August 29th, 2015, 5:49 pm

Hi all,

This is a long thread and deservedly so, i find your thread compelling and although i feel that i might be out of my depth adding to this fascinating discussion on Erdnase i would just like to say how this has taken an almost "Sherlock Holmes" feel to it. Often when reading Expert at the card table i get that rich, elegant, Victorian feel when i have cards in hand at the card table reading away so your discussion only adds to that unique feel. I started seriously reading Erdnase when i was 13 and now at the age of 36 i still take something new away from this book each time.

Chris

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 29th, 2015, 6:23 pm

mam wrote:Were any permanent plates produced? Where did they end up after McKinney's bankruptcy?

According to TMWWE (page 77) there were stereotypes and it was these that were transferred:

  1. Plates and printed copies brought by Erdnase from McKinney to Drake in 1903.
  2. Plates sold (by Drake?) to Frost in 1937
  3. Plates confiscated from Frost by the sheriff.
  4. Plates "passed into possession" of Powner in 1942.
  5. Plates "remade" by Powner in 1944.
One observation is that according to TMWWE (page 57) the McKinney company was a small one consisting of "James McKinney, his brother Pat, and Edward Gallaway." The interesting part of this is that Gallaway is referred to as "the typesetter" (my bold). This suggests that he was the only typesetter, and it would follow that it was definitely Gallaway who set the book in type.

(I guess all of this is known and obvious to non-newcomers like me.)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 29th, 2015, 7:20 pm

Just as a general question to all who know this better than I: how much of The Man Who Was Erdnase is just wrong, dumb mis-information? Whaley's other large books are so full of errors as to be ridiculous, so what makes The Man Who Was Erdnase any better in any way?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 29th, 2015, 7:31 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Whaley's other large books are so full of errors as to be ridiculous, ...

I think that is an unfair comment if you are basing this on Whaley's "Who's Who in Magic" and his "Encyclopedic Dictionary". Those are huge volumes with literally tens of thousands of data points. Just the fact that Whaley took the time and effort to compile something like this is remarkable. That there are errors in these encyclopedic works is completely normal and understandable. But some of these errors have been corrected over the years since I am updating these ebooks and removing errors where I hear of them or find them. If you have a list of errors please send them to me.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 29th, 2015, 8:52 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Just as a general question to all who know this better than I: how much of The Man Who Was Erdnase is just wrong, dumb mis-information?


The problem with TMWWE isn't that it is wrong, it is that it just isn't right.

For example, throughout, passages are written that assume the truth of the book's thesis: that MFA was Erdnase. So it will say "Erdnase did so-and-so", but it wasn't Erdnase who did it, it was MFA. And it will say "MFA did this", but it wasn't MFA, it was Erdnase. Usually a careful reading and knowledge of the background will help figure those out.

Another problem is that minor facts get exaggerated (or even made up), ambiguities are ignored and uncertainties are wiped away.

The passage referred to by MAM above is an example:
"Andrews had the 205 heavy stereotype plates moved from the McKinney Company over to the Drake premises. Along with the plates came most of the unsold stock of the first printing. As mementos, Andrews kept a good stack of them for himself."

The only "facts" I recognize in the passage are that the book had 205 pages, and Drake ended up with the ability to print it. Every thing else is exaggeration, made up, assumed to be true although unprovable, or are jumps to conclusions.

Note that "Andrews" is the one who did this, not Erdnase. But we don't know if Erdnase was even on the scene at this point -- the transfer may not have involved him at all. We don't know for sure if the book was printed from stereoplates (although that is certainly possible, even likely). We don't know how Drake came into possession of the plates (if there were plates). We don't know how many 1st edition copies Drake ended up with, or if it was most of them (I tend to think that Atlas and Roterberg had enough to account for "most"). And there is no evidence that Erdnase (excuse me, Andrews) kept "a good stack for himself."

That narrative is consistent with the history of the book, mostly. But clearly the authors state things as fact that are unsupported by evidence. They may be doing it for dramatic effect, or to develop a narrative that reads smoothly, or to bolster the case for MFA=Erdnase (all three, probably).

It may be that many of these "facts" are supported by some evidence that wasn't cited by the authors. But the footnotes that exist make me think not, from the way they are written.

And I have no idea if this is Whaley's doing, or Busby's (I don't think Gardner's role was anywhere near as big as the other two). Some passages are clearly the work of Busby, and some are from Whaley. But much of the book is difficult to attribute.

But having said all that, if you are interested in EATCT and who wrote it, you need a copy of TMWWE. There is too much useful information in it to completely ignore it, and it is all in one place. Much of the biographical material on MFA during the period from when he killed Bessie Bouton until he killed Nulda Oliva and himself seems to be true. The history of sleight-of-hand and gambling books that precede Erdnase is good.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 29th, 2015, 10:03 pm

Concerning the asserted confiscation of plates, this was discussed at some length on this thread back in 2011.
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 29th, 2015, 11:24 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:If you are Gallaway, and wanting to be anonymous, and are willing to lie when stating your residence, it doesn't make much sense to put down your place of employment instead. There are hundreds of thousands of other addresses in Chicago that are more anonymous.

You still want to know what is mailed to you by the copyright office.


You said earlier that most copyrights exist for deterrent effect only. That being the case, why does he need to receive correspondence? for that matter, what correspondence would he need to receive from the Copyright Office in any case?


Bill Mullins wrote:H Adrian Smith, writing in The Linking Ring in 1951:

"Another objective was Stationers' Hall, where I was most anxious to check into the mystery of the true identity of S. W. Erdnase. Those who own The Expert at the Card Table may recall that the title page verso states the book to have been entered in Stationers' Hall, the British equivalent of the American copyright. If true, I was certain that the author's true name would be properly entered in these records. . . . Since their records go back only to 1925, a further search was necessary to find the Hall of Records, where earlier entries are preserved. A careful check of their catalogue from the period of 1895 to 1904 failed to reveal any trace of the book either under S. W. Erdnase or E. S. Andrews, nor was any listing found in the cross-index volumes under either the cover title or title-page title. I am convinced that the book was not entered in Stationers' Hall, regardless of the printed note in the book"

David Ben did a similarly exhaustive search of Canadian records, finding the appropriate documents (in Dai Vernon's father's own handwriting) for the period, and there was no record of EATCT in them.

Thanks. So he did not register it there. Doesn't mean it is inconsistent. Either simply a deterrent as I stated before, or perhaps he intended to register the foreign copyrights later but due to him selling his book project early he had no time and at that point no interest anymore. All we know he registered early 1902 at the US copyright office.


Hurt McDermott's book points out that a 1891 treaty meant that there was no need to copyright the book in either country -- it was already protected throughout the UK and Canada.
Someone who worked in the industry, as did Gallaway, should have known this. Can you point to any other 1902 books with a triple copyright?

Bill Mullins wrote:The "so what" is that Erdnase didn't know how to properly mark, and didn't properly register, copyrights. He didn't know what he was doing. A person with Gallaway's background in printing and publishing would have done a more competent job.

The US copyright was proper and valid. And why would somebody be a copyright register expert when one is working in the print industry as estimator? The copyright registration is something a lawyer would do rather than a printer or print estimator. That this was something new to him is again completely consistent with Gallaway's background.


I don't believe it has been established that Gallaway was an estimator at this time. It doesn't take a lawyer to fill out the forms -- the information required is straightforward, and any author could do it.


Chris made a commenton Tom Sawyer's blog that I was going to comment on there, but decided to do here instead, because it follows up on a point I've tried to make earlier here. (sorry Tom)

Chris -- the right group to consider is "people who hired McKinney to print a book." You've expanded that group to include "people who hired McKinney to print a book, plus other people who had a business relationship with McKinney" which conveniently includes Gallaway. If you knew that Gallaway was in the first group, you'd have a heck of a case.

We know the nature of the business transaction between Erdnase and McKinney, and Gallaway's relationship with McKinney wasn't based on that kind of transaction. Therefore him being an employee (and in the expanded second group but not in the first) doesn't make him any more likely to have been Erdnase than anyone else.

The strong points of the case for Gallaway (for values of "strong" that are very small) are:
1. Interested in gambling (as evidenced by Marshall's statements about his books).
2. Self published author
3. Geographical proximity

Olsson has said that it is possible that Erdnase is Gallaway, but we don't have his analysis to show why that may be so. I don't see an unsupported statement, even from an expert, to count for much. But should you publish his report I'm certainly willing to revisit that, based on what it may say.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 30th, 2015, 8:08 am

Bill Mullins wrote:You said earlier that most copyrights exist for deterrent effect only. That being the case, why does he need to receive correspondence? for that matter, what correspondence would he need to receive from the Copyright Office in any case?

Clearly you have never applied for a copyright yourself. I have done this multiple times. Even though the communication is now all electronic I would assume that it wasn't fundamentally different back then. The main communication you get from the copyright office is a confirmation that your copyright has been issued. I assume that they sent out a copyright certificate or at least some form of acknowledgement that the copyright has been properly registered. They would also get in touch with you if there was something they needed to clarify on the application, if an error was made for example. That means you definitely want the copyright office to be able to get back to you and not just give them a fake address. Otherwise your copyright may never be issued (because of some error in the application), your application fee would be wasted, and then it wouldn't be a deterrent anymore, would it? Any wannabe infringer could check and see that there is no copyright registered for it. Gallaway/Erdnase was cleverer than that.

Bill Mullins wrote:Hurt McDermott's book points out that a 1891 treaty meant that there was no need to copyright the book in either country -- it was already protected throughout the UK and Canada. Someone who worked in the industry, as did Gallaway, should have known this. Can you point to any other 1902 books with a triple copyright?

Thank you for pointing out another reason why Gallaway never actually needed to apply for the Canadian or British copyrights. Are you now explaining your own errors? This actually plays right into the deterrent story. So if there was a treaty that already legally protected the book then there was no need to apply for these copyrights in Canada and Britain. But you still want to let your potential infringers know that it is protected in Canada and in Britain, because they might not know about that treaty, and thus the triple copyright notice. Clever chap Erdnase/Gallaway. But why would somebody in the print industry know about this treaty and all the legalese of copyrights? Maybe Gallaway knew, maybe not. I have no information about how well he knew the prevailing laws. We know that Gallaway self-published and registered the copyrights for his two books just fine, just as Erdnase did for EATCT.

In summary, we have at least two good reasons why the copyrights were never applied for in Canada or Britain. Either, he sold the book before he could register these foreign copyrights. Or he knew about the treaty and thus never actually applied, only made it clear in the book that it was protected there - to strengthen his deterrent. So what exactly is your point? Even if you read from this that Gallaway did not fully understand the copyright laws then I don't see where your rub is. Gallaway is not a lawyer. How much he actually knew or not knew about it doesn't mean anything. Maybe he was more interested to practice his bottom deal then to read up on copyrights.

Bill Mullins wrote:I don't believe it has been established that Gallaway was an estimator at this time. It doesn't take a lawyer to fill out the forms -- the information required is straightforward, and any author could do it.

Again you are making my point. Estimator or not, he was no lawyer and thus would not necessarily know the details of the copyright law, foreign treaties and such. But Gallaway was a very clever and intellectual person. Maybe he knew about those things. We don't know. And yes, you are correct any author could fill them out as did Erdnase/Gallaway at least three times perfectly fine. Your point again is?

Bill Mullins wrote:Chris -- the right group to consider is "people who hired McKinney to print a book." You've expanded that group to include "people who hired McKinney to print a book, plus other people who had a business relationship with McKinney" which conveniently includes Gallaway. If you knew that Gallaway was in the first group, you'd have a heck of a case.

We know the nature of the business transaction between Erdnase and McKinney, and Gallaway's relationship with McKinney wasn't based on that kind of transaction. Therefore him being an employee (and in the expanded second group but not in the first) doesn't make him any more likely to have been Erdnase than anyone else.

And this is where you are wrong. You are ignoring the possibility that an employee runs his own pet project on the side. This happens all the time. My father was a typesetter and printer and he told me that running your own little projects on the side was completely normal. You told the foreman or the owner and as long as you did not interfere with the normal business operation and paid for the materials used it was completely normal. This typically meant you staid longer at the shop after your regular work day was over and printed your own project. It is something so normal and happens so often that it boggles the mind that you can't understand this.

As I have pointed out before there are a couple of signs that suggest that EATCT was such an employee pet project and not a regular book order:

- The care of James McKinney & Co notice on the copyright application makes a lot more sense for an employee author than for a one time customer. (It is not only consistent with his wish to stay anonymous as much as possible, but it could also be easily explained with a move of his home address. Remember Gallaway just got married and his wife brought a daughter into the marriage. Maybe his wife wanted to move to a better bigger place. To avoid missing any communication coming from the copyright office he uses his business address. Completely understandable - maybe not to all.)
- Self-publishing requires a certain familiarity with the book printing industry. An employee at a print shop certainly has that. It is also consistent with 'needing the money' because as employee he can print the book much cheaper than an official print order would have cost.
- Various little errors and inconsistencies in the book itself suggest to me and other book experts that the book did not run through the multiple quality checks a regular print order would have.

None of this means that Erdnase must have been an employee. This is not hard evidence for it. But it favors an employee, it fits an employee much better than a regular customer. With that I could have made the starting group even smaller - employees at McKinney - but I didn't. However, regardless of what you think of Gallaway, McKinney employees make for very strong Erdnase contenders.
Last edited by lybrary on August 30th, 2015, 9:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 30th, 2015, 9:37 am

Tom Sawyer wrote:Concerning the asserted confiscation of plates, this was discussed at some length on this thread back in 2011.

Still reading up on all these years of thread, sorry for the noise, will come back to this point when I've read those parts.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 31st, 2015, 7:04 am

I think the Edward Gallaway case is going to be developed by Chris (and probably others) in far more detail as time goes on. At the moment, I have a difficult time in determining how strong or weak the case is as it now stands.

The mere existence of other candidates is one of the things that tends to suggest that any single case is going to be considered by many to be fairly weak, at best.

I see Gallaway's employment by McKinney as strengthening his case. One of the things I am thinking about, though, is whether the bookplate evidence would be stronger if Gallaway had not been employed by McKinney. For some people, at least, I think this would appear to be so.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 31st, 2015, 1:18 pm

what makes one claim, piece of historical evidence in context or case for authorship stronger than another?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Marquardt » August 31st, 2015, 2:32 pm

@Jonathan: I am not an expert on Erdnase et al by any means. I am, however, something of an old west historian and have researched the histories of the Earp family and Doc Holliday rather thoroughly.

"Primary evidence" such as newspaper articles, census records, court records, and family records such as one might find in a family Bible are generally considered more reliable than any other form of evidence such as a biography.

My personal experience is that newspaper articles are not very reliable. As an example, one Ohio newspaper claimed that Doc Holliday had killed as many as fifty men in gunfights when in fact there are only two killings established to be at his hands. Both of those killings occurred while he was deputized by law enforcement. (He may indeed killed more than the two, but there is no established proof.). Newspapers of a century or more in the past were extremely unreliable in their reporting, even more so than today.

As has been shown in tis thread, the census is not always accurate, either. I recently found a report on a 1930 census of my mother's family and found several errors, for example putting her first and middle names in the wrong order and misspelling one of them.

Circumstantial evidence, such as much of what fills this thread, is almost meaningless unless supported by a great deal of other circumstantial evidence.

The bottom line is that the validity of claims, or what makes one better than another, rests largely in the belief of the viewer. I believe this threads demonstrates this well.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 31st, 2015, 3:45 pm

Hi All,

Regarding Jonathan Townsend’s most recent post on this thread, the questions he states really get to the crux of the whole S.W. Erdnase question. And unfortunately, a lot of posts seem to be premised on an unspoken premise that is totally invalid, namely, that almost all of us approach evidence in ways that are quite similar.

Bill Marquardt’s response I think is excellent. It points out some of the problems to which many of the posts on this thread appear oblivious.

Concerning newspaper articles, I don’t exactly disagree with what Bill Marquardt says. But I think it can be said that each newspaper article needs to be judged on its own merit. Usually, or frequently, one can tell by the nature of the article whether it is pretty accurate on one hand, or not so reliable, on the other. It depends on many things, which are beyond the scope of this post.

To consider the "Pippins" article about Edwin Sumner Andrews, well, to start out with, it gets his name wrong! But it is “obvious” that it is talking about Edwin Sumner Andrews (which is sort of self-evident if you know a little about that man). And even though there may be one or two other little inaccuracies, it seems highly likely that the point that everyone derives from it, namely that E.S. Andrews played cards socially from time to time, is accurate.

At the same time, it is definitely hearsay, and we don’t know with absolute certainty that it is accurate on that main point. So, I would not bet the family farm on it. But I suspect that it has a 98 percent chance of being accurate. (For Erdnase-case purposes, on this issue, that means 100 percent.)

Concerning circumstantial evidence, one of the problems with it in the Erdnase case is that it is often subject to two or more conflicting inferences. At least in those instances, you either need a lot more circumstantial evidence, or (better) a lot of direct evidence, which on key points, as Bill M. kind of indicates, is extremely scarce.

A somewhat more mysterious aspect of the case is that addressed by Bill Marquardt in his final paragraph.

In some ways, that issue is of more interest.

The evidence being (overall) as weak as it is, a great deal of the evaluation of evidence is highly subjective, and it tends to rest significantly on people being required to draw upon their own experiences and belief structures to determine where the “true facts” lie. And that is a recipe for conflicting evaluations.

One thing that pretty much has to be assumed is that there are certain aspects of any case that are more important than others. That is one of the difficulties in the Edward Gallaway case. One of the key aspects of Erdnase was that he was highly knowledgeable in the areas of card-table artifice, and card magic requiring sleight-of-hand. That is a bit of a void in the Gallaway case, and actually that aspect of the Edwin Sumner Andrews case is almost as weak as that.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 31st, 2015, 5:41 pm

Did we already know that James McKinney lived at 520 McLean Avenue?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 31st, 2015, 7:27 pm

mam wrote:Did we already know that James McKinney lived at 520 McLean Avenue?

Yes, from Chicago directory and census records. He is listed at 520 McLean in the directories from 1893 through 1905. The 1908 directory has the home address as 526 McLean, possibly a typo. The 1910 Census lists his home as 3639 McLean, but the streets were renumbered in 1909 and I suspect it is the same address, with a new number, though I haven't confirmed that.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 1st, 2015, 12:56 am

Bridget McKinney is shown at the 520 McLean address, in the bankruptcy papers.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » September 1st, 2015, 2:35 am

Tom Sawyer wrote:Bridget McKinney is shown at the 520 McLean address, in the bankruptcy papers.

Bridget was James McKinney's mother, born in Ireland in about 1840. She is not listed among his survivors when he died in 1911, so presumably predeceased him.


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