ERDNASE

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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 11th, 2015, 6:19 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:By their own accounts, Edwin Hood, ...


The item quoted reads as a report by his son more than a direct statement by E. Hood.

"H.C. Evans & Co" - I can see one H and one O, no D...

What's the other name?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » September 11th, 2015, 6:33 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:By their own accounts, Edwin Hood, Marshall Smith, Del Adelphia, and Hugh Johnson are all people who had face to face contact with Erdnase.

Who else is on this list?

Del Adelphia did not make this claim, though Hugh Johnston recalled meeting Erdnase when Del Adelphia brought him backstage in Denver... A minor point, but perhaps worth noting...

Mike Caveney owns Del Adelphia's first edition EATCT. Alas, it is not signed by the author...

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 11th, 2015, 7:25 pm

As Jon Townsend and Dick Hatch sort of imply, coming up with actual first-person statements is a little difficult. Even so, I think that the name of James Harte could probably be added to the list.
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 11th, 2015, 7:32 pm

Mr. Hatch wrote:

“You know, the Great World's Fair of '93 made Chicago a mecca for everyone who had any angle for making easy money and I believe that brought the author of this book to Chicago. I never knew the gentleman personally and believe that he has long since passed on...”

When it says “I believe that brought the author of this book to Chicago.” Could that be interpreted that the author was NOT a resident of Chicago?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » September 11th, 2015, 8:08 pm

That's how I interpreted it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » September 11th, 2015, 9:23 pm

there really was no "Mr. Evans" — the company name was derived from a reverse mangling of the founder's own


Is the founder someone other than Hood? If so, who?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » September 11th, 2015, 10:38 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:
there really was no "Mr. Evans" — the company name was derived from a reverse mangling of the founder's own


Is the founder someone other than Hood? If so, who?


The founder was Edwin C. Hood. The company's name was apparently derived from his own initials reversed, and Edwin changed to Evans: H. C. Evans. Busby/Whaley speculate that this may have influenced the name reversal to arrive at "Erdnase".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 12th, 2015, 6:00 am

I hate to leave the Hood analysis this early but we can circle back around.

I implore anyone on this thread who wants to follow the James Andrews story to thoroughly read the two documents that Carlo posted and the one document I posted from Loyola University. DO NOT just skim them or you will be left behind. The two documents Carlo posted are more contemporary and whitewashed. They are not as accurate. The Loyola thesis that I posted is more accurate but leaves out an immense amount of information.

MAM posted a question about the Drake family and Tom Sawyer posted a comment about James Harte (Harto)(Chandra). These issues must be addressed but this might not be the best time if we are to develop the James Andrews case.

I am sorry to jump around but it may be best to turn our attention to a magician named William J. Hilliar. Does anyone know on this thread when Hilliar came to the US and the date and place that he allegedly committed suicide?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Gilbert » September 12th, 2015, 9:00 am

Brad Jeffers brought up a point that I was wondering about. Who knew, or probably knew who Erdnase was. Besides the list Brad made, I've read (on this forum) that most likely the editors of Sphinx, the publisher of the book, and a statement by Scarne (for what it's worth)that he would contact Mrs. Erdnase is what we have. I guess if there's any truth to this, and when Scarne made the comment, following up on the candidates and when their spouse was still alive may be of interest.

One other point is why the big secret. The romantic answer that he was a marked man at some
level doesn't work. If he was marked, most likely he would be found. Maybe he came from a prestigious family, or they had a big business, possibly he had another job and wouldn't want his name known.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 12th, 2015, 6:18 pm

Information on William J Hilliar:

1876-1936, Born in England

Came to the United States in 1901.

Performed in Detroit, Michigan.

Edited the first issue of The Sphinx, which came out in March 1902.

He was a prolific magic writer, ghostwriter and alleged plagiarist.

He reputedly ghost-wrote T. Nelson Down’s book Modern Coin Manipulation, 1901

Pirated books copyrighted in England and published them in the United States under his name.

Works included The Modern Magicians Handbook, 1902 taken mostly from P. T. Selbit’s The Magicians Handbook.

Published multiple books with F. J. Drake & Company

Wrote a column on magic for the Billboard Magazine.

The Billboard became the paper of record for circuses, carnivals, amusement parks, fairs, vaudeville, minstrels, whale shows and other live entertainment.

For many years Hilliar worked large circuses in charge of the side shows and other venues as performer and manager.

He took the place of Howard Thurston for a performance in Chicago in 1902 without the audience noticing the substitution.

Hilliar allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself at age 59, 1936.

On November 15, 1936, a cab driver picked up Hilliar in downtown Cincinnati and drove him to the magician's home at 1228 Iliff Avenue in the suburb of Price Hill. Telling the driver, "I'll be back in a minute," Hilliar went to the garage in the rear of the home and fired a bullet into his right temple.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 12th, 2015, 6:33 pm

William J. Hilliar

He worked for the Great Edward Ballard a casino/hotel owner in French Lick/West Baden Springs, IN.

About nine days after the great Edward Ballard was murdered William J. Hilliar was dead with a gunshot wound to the temple.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » September 13th, 2015, 2:40 am

Aha! Now it's all starting to become clear.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » September 13th, 2015, 10:01 pm

Non-useful anagram information:

Vladimir Nabokov had a character in Lolita named Vivian Darkbloom.

Axl Rose anagrams to Oral Sex.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 14th, 2015, 6:39 am

I am sorry to jump around in trying to present the James Andrews case but it may be best to turn our attention to a magician named James Harte. Does anyone know on this thread when Harte came to the US and the circumstances surrounding his alleged connection to Erdnase?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » September 14th, 2015, 8:36 am

Scott Lane wrote:I am sorry to jump around in trying to present the James Andrews case but it may be best to turn our attention to a magician named James Harte. Does anyone know on this thread when Harte came to the US and the circumstances surrounding his alleged connection to Erdnase?

Scott Edward Lane

I believe he was born in Webster, Massachusetts in 1870. http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/James_S._Harto
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 14th, 2015, 2:44 pm

Regarding Harte, on September 2, 2015, Dick Hatch posted some new information about the Maly-Dunham-Harte situation, and I think the precise words of Maly and Dunham tend to show how unclear the situation really is.

From what I have been able to prise out of the rather sparse factual background I am aware of, it appears to me that:

First, there is not any evidence that Harte identified the man he worked with as "Erdnase." He might have identified the man as "Andrews."

Secondly, on the other hand (and related to the foregoing), we don't know whether Harte ever told Maly or Dunham that the man's name was Andrews. (The Maly and Dunham quotations stated by Dick were apparently in the context of Gardner's view that (M.F.) Andrews was Erdnase.

Thirdly, and even more important, although it seems that Harte BELIEVED the man was Erdnase, we don't know upon what he based that belief.

Also, the whole Harte relationship with The Expert at the Card Table does not appear to have really grabbed the magic world, maybe because The Man Who Was Erdnase seemed pretty sure that Harte wrote part of the book -- an idea which I think few if any accept today, except maybe as a remote possibility.

I find that whole area fraught with uncertainty.

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

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 14th, 2015, 3:36 pm

Tom, I find most of life fraught with uncertainty. (Written without a hint of sarcasm!)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 14th, 2015, 5:00 pm

I hear you.
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » September 14th, 2015, 5:40 pm

Is it just me, or does this ad for a Jamieson-Higgins title look very similar to the cover of the first edition of EATCT? It's the same font (look at that slanted a in "Table" and "Iscariot"), has the initial "The" in italic, and uses acorn decorations.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 14th, 2015, 7:32 pm

That is quite interesting. It is very similar, but I am not sure what one does with that information.

I assume that is from The Publishers’ Weekly for May 31, 1902. The very next advertisement is also quite similar, but it is from the Riggs Publishing Company. For that matter, the advertisement that precedes it is also similar.

I tend to think that this happened to be a basic typeface and style (though without the prominent acorns) favored by the periodical. In other words, I think it is probably a coincidence.

Here is another example, from the same issue: Link.

And here is another example, from a different issue: Link.

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

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 15th, 2015, 7:23 pm

I will continue to develop the case for James Andrews. Below is some information on James S. Harte.

James S. Harte Information:

1870-1933

His first performance as at the Bristol Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1886.

Worcester, MA is not far from the home of MFA.

James S. Harte worked for Edward Ballard a casino/hotel owner in French Lick/West Baden Springs, IN.

Harte performed with A Night With the Spirit Company, Leon Harto Company, Ringling Shows, Charles Sparks Shows, the original Buffalo Bill Show, The Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill Wild West Shows, Hagenbeck and Wallace Shows, Robinson Shows, and the Walter L. Main Show and vaudeville. He played all over the United States and Canada.

James S. Harte also performed as James Harto and Leon Harto.

Harte was a professional magician who also performed a mind-reading act as "Chandra, The Mystic", with his wife starting in 1896.

Harte owned a Magic Shop in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was a dealer in magical apparatus and opened the shop in 1905 and ran it until his death in 1933.

The first copy of EATCT magicians have documented was purportedly given to magician Edgar Pratt by James Harto.

Edgar Pratt believed Harto wrote the Legerdemain section on EATCT.

Associates the Taylor brothers confirmed that Harto spoke of his involvement with the Legerdemain section in EATCT.

Martin Gardner claimed that Audley Dunham who built magical apparatus and sorted through Harto’s papers after his death confirmed that Harto collaborated on the Legerdemain section.

Charles Maly claimed to have seen a notebook with materials relating to a sequel to the EATCT.

James S. Harto allegedly referred to the author of the EATCT as “Andrews”.

The Legerdemain section of EATCT has materials that are similar to what James S. Harte would have written.

James S. Harte was a life-time friend of Harry Houdini.

Harte may have been the first magician to feature escapes and escape tricks.

In the late 1930’s prior to his death Harte was institutionalized in a sanitarium.

Harte destroyed and burned much of his writings and papers prior to his death.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 15th, 2015, 7:52 pm

To move the James Andrews case foreword we need to look at M. D. Smith’s testimony and start to look at the mystery/anomalies concerning the illustrations in the EATCT.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » September 16th, 2015, 12:39 am

Scott, thanks for continuing to develop your interesting case for James Andrews of French Lick. I have questions about the following assertions about James Harte (Harto):

Scott Lane wrote:The first copy of EATCT magicians have documented was purportedly given to magician Edgar Pratt by James Harto.


Pratt did claim to have received a copy of Erdnase from Harto, and it is presumed he was talking about a first edition, but it is not clear if that was the case or whether he purchased it from Harto or if it was a gift from Harto. I don't believe Gardner ever saw the copy in question.

Scott Lane wrote:Associates the Taylor brothers confirmed that Harto spoke of his involvement with the Legerdemain section in EATCT.


I've never seen any claims that connect Pratt's friends the Taylor brothers to Harto. Pratt claimed the Taylor brothers were associates of Milton Franklin Andrews. The Taylor brothers (according to Pratt) showed Pratt stuff Andrews had shown them and said would be in the book. When Pratt saw EATCT, he recognized some of the material as things the Taylor brothers had shown him.

Scott Lane wrote:Martin Gardner claimed that Audley Dunham who built magical apparatus and sorted through Harto’s papers after his death confirmed that Harto collaborated on the Legerdemain section.


Dunham's letter to Gardner confirms Harto's claimed association with Erdnase, but is very ambiguous regarding the nature of that association:

Audley Dunham to Martin Gardner wrote:Yes I have heard Jim Harto speak of Andrews he was referred to Jim by another magician the name of which I cannot recall at the present time...

...Jim referred to some part he helped on Erdnase...

...if I am not mistaken there was a letter in Waldo [Logan]'s purchases from this magician to Jim in which some mention is made of Jim helping on Erdnase. Erdnase has never interested me much... there was, however, an original Erdnase in [Harto's] effects...

...Roltare Eggleston said something about Harto being connected with Erdnase, but it is all so vague now and Roltare is gone also...


Scott Lane wrote:James S. Harto allegedly referred to the author of the EATCT as “Andrews”.


This is not clear from the Maly and Dunham correspondence with Gardner. Possibly they are simply referring to "Andrews" because Gardner referred to "Andrews" as the author.

Scott Lane wrote:The Legerdemain section of EATCT has materials that are similar to what James S. Harte would have written.


A claim along these lines is made by Whaley and Busby in TMWWE, but I have never seen it confirmed. The section of Harto's diaries where he takes pride in his patter (cited in TMWWE) is in reference to his vent dialogues, not scripts for magic tricks...

I take seriously the claim that Harto claimed to have known/helped Erdnase, since it was made by Pratt, Maly, Dunham and Roltare Eggleston (according to Dunham) and it appears there was at one time written documentation of that claim (letters, a notebook on a possible sequel to EATCT).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 17th, 2015, 1:49 am

To move the James Andrews case foreword we need to look at M. D. Smith’s testimony and start to look at the mystery/anomalies concerning the illustrations in the EATCT.

I know the M. D. Smith information has been presented before, but I would like to recap:

The book was illustrated by M. D. Smith.

He was interviewed almost 50 years later by Martin Gardner, one of the first serious Erdnase hunters.

M. D. Smith was born in Prairie du Chien, WI

Smith met with a man who claimed to be Andrews in a cheap hotel in Chicago to illustrate the EATCT.

The man explained that he was a “reformed gambler” who originally came from the east.

He said he was related to Louis Dalrymple a well known illustrator of the New York based weekly Puck magazine specializing in political satire.

M. D. Smith’s Recollections are as follows:

The hotel room was not heated and Smith kept on his overcoat. He noticed the man was not wearing an overcoat.(?)

M. D. Smiths stated:

“There was nothing tough or hard about him at all.”

“His manners and his voice were smooth and soft and pleasant.”

“He was extremely gentlemanly and polite”.

“He looked more like a man of education and refinement”

M. D. Smith also recalled the following:

He placed a board on the table and did some card tricks.

Smith believed the man was honest with him.

The man stated he was unconcerned about the artistic quality of the drawings but insisted that they show the exact positions of his fingers.

Smith was amazed at his client’s hands. They were the “softest” he had ever seen. The man explained to Smith it was important for him to keep his hands in good condition and he kept them “greased”.

Smith was surprised when the man offered him a local check, number one, from a new and unused account drawn on a Chicago bank.

Later Smith recalled that the man he met was shorter, about 5’6”.

When Martin Gardner showed him a picture of Milton Franklin Andrews 6’2”, Smith stated that it did not look like the man he met in the motel room.

When Martin Gardner showed M. D. Smith the EATCT, Smith did not remember doing so many drawings.

Scott Edward Lane

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » September 17th, 2015, 7:04 am

Scott Lane wrote:To move the James Andrews case foreword we need to look at M. D. Smith’s testimony and start to look at the mystery/anomalies concerning the illustrations in the EATCT.

I know the M. D. Smith information has been presented before, but I would like to recap:

The book was illustrated by M. D. Smith.

He was interviewed almost 50 years later by Martin Gardner, one of the first serious Erdnase hunters.

M. D. Smith was born in Prairie du Chien, WI

Smith met with a man who claimed to be Andrews in a cheap hotel in Chicago to illustrate the EATCT.

The man explained that he was a “reformed gambler” who originally came from the east.

He said he was related to Louis Dalrymple a well known illustrator of the New York based weekly Puck magazine specializing in political satire.

M. D. Smith’s Recollections are as follows:

The hotel room was not heated and Smith kept on his overcoat. He noticed the man was not wearing an overcoat.(?)

M. D. Smiths stated:

“There was nothing tough or hard about him at all.”

“His manners and his voice were smooth and soft and pleasant.”

“He was extremely gentlemanly and polite”.

“He looked more like a man of education and refinement”

M. D. Smith also recalled the following:

He placed a board on the table and did some card tricks.

Smith believed the man was honest with him.

The man stated he was unconcerned about the artistic quality of the drawings but insisted that they show the exact positions of his fingers.

Smith was amazed at his client’s hands. They were the “softest” he had ever seen. The man explained to Smith it was important for him to keep his hands in good condition and he kept them “greased”.

Smith was surprised when the man offered him a local check, number one, from a new and unused account drawn on a Chicago bank.

Later Smith recalled that the man he met was shorter, about 5’6”.

When Martin Gardner showed him a picture of Milton Franklin Andrews 6’2”, Smith stated that it did not look like the man he met in the motel room.

When Martin Gardner showed M. D. Smith the EATCT, Smith did not remember doing so many drawings.

Scott Edward Lane


Scott, to help the James Andrews case move forward, could you tell us what your own speculation/deduction is about the drawings (based on the above information)? and perhaps how this is in any way connected to James Andrews.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby AJM » September 17th, 2015, 7:24 am

I am Erdnase...and so is my wife!
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » September 17th, 2015, 8:55 am

AJM wrote:I am Erdnase...and so is my wife!


I have reason to believe this is an incorrect statement.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » September 17th, 2015, 10:11 am

performer wrote:
AJM wrote:I am Erdnase...and so is my wife!


I have reason to believe this is an incorrect statement.

I believe you may be correct. However, until evidence to the contrary is produced, I believe I will keep an open mind on the subject. :?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » September 17th, 2015, 11:15 am

I haven't the slightest interest in who wrote Erdnase as it doesn't put a shilling in my pocket. However, I am surprised that nobody has mentioned that there are a couple of small paragraphs about William J Hilliar in Bobo's Modern Coin Magic in the Stanley Collins section. It seems he was pretty good at the Miser's Dream.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 17th, 2015, 7:57 pm

A few of you may claim that you are S.W. Erdnase, or that your spouse is. But some of you will remember that I actually proved that my daughter was Erdnase. I was able to do this by marshaling a lot of clear facts that went far beyond any possibility of coincidence. Of course, this was a few years ago. I'm not sure whether she is still Erdnase, or not.

Regarding the recent references to Smith on this thread, The Man Who Was Erdnase says that Erdnase told Smith he "had come from the East." I have seen that on this thread as well, more than once, I believe.

However, I don't seem to see that in The Gardner-Smith Correspondence, but maybe I missed it. I thought Dick Hatch discussed the ins and outs of this on this thread not long ago, but i could not find such.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » September 17th, 2015, 9:19 pm

Tom Sawyer wrote:Regarding the recent references to Smith on this thread, The Man Who Was Erdnase says that Erdnase told Smith he "had come from the East." I have seen that on this thread as well, more than once, I believe.

However, I don't seem to see that in The Gardner-Smith Correspondence, but maybe I missed it. I thought Dick Hatch discussed the ins and outs of this on this thread not long ago, but i could not find such.


From the Gardner-Smith Notes, p. 17, Smith's letter of May 20, 1950:
Can't remember Conn[ecticut]. He came from the east and N. Y.


This is in response to Gardner asking him about Milton Franklin Andrews, who was from Hartford, Connecticut.

Although this information (about the author coming from the East) is not mentioned in Gardner's work notes of his interview with Smith, it is mentioned in his 1947 article in the SAM Program, "The Mystery of Erdnase" (reprinted in The Annotated Erdnase, p. 263:
A man named Andrews arrived in the city from the East and got in touch with Smith. He said he was a reformed gambler.


It is worth noting that Smith would have seen this article in the convention program (which reproduced a photo of Smith circa 1902 and one of Smith's paintings), so he was in a position to dispute any errors Gardner might have made in his account. This was also several years before Gardner developed the Milton Franklin Andrews theory (at the time this was written, though he doesn't mention it in this article, he believe the author's name was "James Andrews" and claimed in correspondence from that period to have learned this from Smith).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 17th, 2015, 10:14 pm

Dick, thanks for all those details about the "east" as Smith's stated point of origin for Erdnase.

--Tom
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 17th, 2015, 11:15 pm

Carlo wrote:

“Scott, to help the James Andrews case move forward, could you tell us what your own speculation/deduction is about the drawings (based on the above information)? and perhaps how this is in any way connected to James Andrews.”

Mr. England wrote on this thread on 8/23/2014 the following:

“I don't know if anyone has brought this up before, but for some time now I've believed that the copyright notices were placed only under the illustrations where Erdnase felt he had some original thinking or innovation.”

I believe this theory has merit.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott Lane » September 17th, 2015, 11:16 pm

M. D. Smith stated that the hotel room he met Erdnase in was cold and that he left his overcoat on when he lined the illustrations. I am trying to determine if the person who met M. D. Smith wore an overcoat to the meeting. Did he ware one and just take it off when he got there? The illustrations do not show an overcoat. This point may be important if we try to determine if the man who met Smith was staying in a nearby hotel. If he was coming from a nearby hotel, it would be nice to know who owned the hotel. Were there any nicer/larger hotels in the area where the meeting took place?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » September 18th, 2015, 5:07 am

I interpret the choice of hotel as follows. It was convenient because cheap and close to where Gallaway lived.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » September 18th, 2015, 8:06 am

Hi All,

Based on what Smith said, hotels near the intersection of Congress and State are going to lead the pack for being the Erdnase-Smith Hotel, and that pretty much makes Bartl's Hotel (later the State Hotel) a front runner. This was at the corner of Harrison and State. (Bill Mullins figured out the Bartl name.)

Even though we don't know for certain that that is the hotel, Chris's post rests on the premise that it definitely helps a candidate's case if there is some plausible reason, specific to a candidate, as to why a certain hotel would have been chosen. This is a valid premise, in my view.

Regarding overcoats, The Gardner-Smith Correspondence (page 7) to me implies that Erdnase was wearing an overcoat and removed it, but actually it doesn't really say that.

A theory on the overcoat business was addressed by Leonard Hevia in this post: Link.

(Seems to me, though, that on a really cold day, Erdnase would have been wearing an overcoat, at least while outside.)

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

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lybrary
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » September 18th, 2015, 10:31 am

Same argument regarding the overcoat can be made for Gallaway. Since he lived close to the hotel he may have gone there without overcoat.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 18th, 2015, 10:35 am

lybrary wrote:Same argument regarding the overcoat can be made for Gallaway. Since he lived close to the hotel he may have gone there without overcoat.


Imagine you're in the hotel lobby and hear this: "I'd like to rent a room for a couple of hours. Yeah, just a couple of hours. I have a guy coming to meet me. - no need to send up a couple of waitresses. We'd like some privacy thanks. ..."

:roll: Still reads as a little odd.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » September 18th, 2015, 12:17 pm

Scott Lane wrote: The illustrations do not show an overcoat.


Erdnase needed the illustrations to be accurate on some points, and not on others. On details that weren't relevant to what Erdnase was trying to describe, I wouldn't assume the drawings to be "photo-realistic". For example, even though one of the illustrations shows an ace from a Bee deck, I don't take that to mean that Erdnase actually used Bee cards -- this may be a detail that Smith added in his studio, at his leisure -- a matter of "artistic license".

Here is one reason to think that Smith's drawings weren't exact representations of exactly what happened in that cold hotel room:

23% of the cards in a normal deck are face cards. Smith's drawings show something like 35 spot cards, and no face cards. (You may get a different count -- I tended to ignore cards that I wasn't certain about, and when the same scenario was shown twice at successive moments, and when the effect called for a specific card such as "The Three Aces"). The odds of 35 randomly selected cards all being spot cards are 1/(0.67)^35 -- or less than 1 in a million.

The only conclusion that makes sense is that Smith drew all spot cards because they were easier -- regardless of whether he actually saw face cards when Erdnase was posing for him.

If Erdnase wore an overcoat, but it was easier to draw cuffed shirts and a jacket, then Smith drew cuffed shirts and a jacket. (or maybe what I'm calling a jacket was, in fact, the sleeves of an overcoat).

Were there any nicer/larger hotels in the area where the meeting took place?


There were many other hotels in the immediate area. Whether they were larger or nicer I've never tried to figure out.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » September 18th, 2015, 12:29 pm

Welcome back Chris.


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