Bill Mullins wrote:
Chris -- you've made much
of Gallaway owning a 1st edition copy of EATCT in bolstering your case for him. The more I think about it, the less important I find it to be. Here's why:
You've assumed a printing (lower bound) of 2000 copies. Gallaway owned one of them (and we are assuming he was an original owner, not someone who bought a copy second hand). That means that there are 1999 other people who also owned a copy. If we assume that Erdnase owned a 1st edition copy, doesn't that imply that the chances of Gallaway = Erdnase based on ownership
are only 1 in 2000?
And back to the "original owner" issue. Who else besides Gallaway and Adrian Plate should we suspect were original owners of 1st edition copies? I'm asking about individuals who would have owned a copy, not dealers who would have owned them for resale. Hoffmann wrote about the book as soon as 1903 in correspondence, so I suppose he must have had one. Hilliar received what may have been a review copy. Jessel's 1905 bibliography mentioned a 1st edition copy, and his collection that ended up in the Bodleian Library included one, so he must have been an early buyer.
Bill, I actually assumed 10,000 first edition copies of EATCT, not just 2000. But taking your numbers, yes, by that logic Gallaway is one of 2000 who had it. If you now combine it with the other things we know about Erdnase/Gallaway you can further reduce that number. For example the 'W' in the name. That means the 2000 owners of the book will shrink down to 200 owners, because less than 10% have a W in their surname. Etc. I don't want to repeat my entire calculation, but I agree with that one piece of it, which you have addressed.
Who those 2000 or 200, or even less if we factor in McKinney, are we don't know. We know a few like Adrian Plate, but the majority of them we don't know. But we don't have to for a statistical calculation. For such a calculation you are not attempting to identify anybody specific, you are asking how many do we expect there to be who all meet these requirements which apply to Erdnase.
Bill Mullins wrote:You've also presumed that since Gallaway worked for McKinney, this makes him more likely than a random person to have been Erdnase, based on the logic that Erdnase knew McKinney before hiring him to print the book. Again, I don't think this helps his case, for this reason:
I believe that it is more likely than not that a person with Erdnase's expertise with a deck of cards would have had a job that is more conducive to developing that skill than a "trade" such as printing. Gambler, salesman on the road, saloon keeper, something like that. Printing seems too "square" for the man I envision Erdnase to be.
No, I have not assumed that Gallaway is more likely because he worked for McKinney. He is simply among the group of people who had contact with McKinney so that they were in the position to order the book to be printed, which I have assumed to be 330 people (300 customers/suppliers and 30 employees).
I do agree with you that somebody working in a trade would have a harder time to practice. But it is not an awfully difficult hurdle to overcome. How many people hold two and three jobs today? There was enough time after work to practice. We also know that Gallaway worked at several different companies. I also have found information that before working at McKinney he started a company with two other partners. So he moves from one company to another, starts his own, takes employment, ... All of this tells me these were volatile times. Gallaway could have been unemployed for a portion of his formative years which would provide a lot of practicing time. But even without unemployment it is certainly not impossible to achieve mastery like Erdnase had.
One other comment regarding the earlier discussion on German culture and language use. I am reading the book "Chicago by Gaslight" which describes Chicago during 1880-1920. You may be surprised to learn that Chicago had several German newspapers and there were public addresses by speakers in German addressing thousands of assembled people in Chicago in parks. This means the German language was present on the streets. A German name like Erdnase would therefore hardly be unusual. I think your assumptions about the German language back then are incorrect.