ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2015, 12:57 pm

Bill Marquardt wrote:Is it not possible that when "Erdnase" presented himself to the printer and also the illustrator, that he used the pseudonym E. S. Andrews as if it were his real name? I believe this thought has been mentioned once before since he allegedly used check No. 1 from his checkbook to pay Smith. Would it really have been that difficult to open a bank account under an assumed name?


In 1901, it would have been very unusual for a check to have an individual account holder's name on it:
Image

(Checks from that era with a business's logo/letterhead design are known, but they would have had to have been custom printed).

Checks with names and account information on them are a modern feature, that came along when checks started being processed by machines that could read account numbers from magnetic ink.

Erdnase may have opened the account in his real name. The check wouldn't have shown that. The bank would have debited the account based on the signature, which may have been the account holder's real name, or it may have been a name from a second signature card that Erdnase provided when he opened the account. Or, if he opened the account under a pseudonym, it may have been under that name.

The strongest evidence to me that Erdnase actually wanted to have his identity kept secret is that when Sprong went to Drake to find out who he was, they wouldn't tell. The pseudonym doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't want anyone to know who he was. His name may have been well known around the McKinney office.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Marquardt » August 18th, 2015, 1:10 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Bill Marquardt wrote:Is it not possible that when "Erdnase" presented himself to the printer and also the illustrator, that he used the pseudonym E. S. Andrews as if it were his real name? ...


The problem with conjecture is that almost anything is possible. Adding suppositions does not necessarily make a thing more likely.


True, but the basis for the supposition is that it is unlikely an established person would be using the first check in his checkbook for such an enterprise. It was most certainly a brand new account. Having an account under a pseudonym would also have allowed him to receive payments into his account and later to withdraw the money, all without his real name being used.

Conjecture? Certainly, but one that makes sense.


ADDED: @ Bill Mullins, I wrote the above while you were writing your latest. Thank you for the additional info. At any rate, nothing has established that his actual name was Andrews.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 18th, 2015, 1:27 pm

Thanks for the clarification about checks of the time. They used signature card verification? multiple signature cards were okay on an account?

Bill Mullins wrote:... when Sprong went to Drake to find out who he was, they wouldn't tell. ...


IMHO that's a puzzler. Not a name, not a diversion or hint but a lasting impression that the authorship of the text was a topic to avoid. There's something of a pattern in that in magicdom.

So, who wrote that Kaps book you need special glasses to read?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 18th, 2015, 1:31 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:The strongest evidence to me that Erdnase actually wanted to have his identity kept secret is that when Sprong went to Drake to find out who he was, they wouldn't tell. The pseudonym doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't want anyone to know who he was. His name may have been well known around the McKinney office.

Where is this episode described?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Bill Marquardt wrote: ADDED: @ Bill Mullins, I wrote the above while you were writing your latest. Thank you for the additional info. At any rate, nothing has established that his actual name was Andrews.


Except that he told Smith that his name was Andrews, Sprong and Rullman said his name was Andrews, and possibly someone at Drake when Vernon spoke to them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2015, 1:40 pm

mam wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:The strongest evidence to me that Erdnase actually wanted to have his identity kept secret is that when Sprong went to Drake to find out who he was, they wouldn't tell. The pseudonym doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't want anyone to know who he was. His name may have been well known around the McKinney office.

Where is this episode described?


I'm sorry, I didn't check before writing. According to Vernon (see The Vernon Touch, p. 99),
"[Sprong] said he found out from Drake, who was one of the later publishers of Erdnase, that Erdnase is Andrews spelled all mixed up. His real name was Andrews. I asked Mr. Drake who this fellow Andrews was, and he said he was sorry, he couldn’t tell me. So I went back there religiously for months and kept badgering the old man to tell me something about this Andrews. He said he couldn’t betray a confidence and couldn’t tell anything about Andrews."

Diaconis says in Revelations:
"Vernon recounts that J.C. Sprong persistently quizzed Drake, the publisher of Erdnase during the 1920's for information. Drake admitted knowing something about the author and finally told Sprong that S.W. Erdnase was an anagram for E.S. Andrews."

So Drake would tell Sprong his name was Andrews, but wouldn't tell any details about Andrews to Vernon.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 18th, 2015, 2:05 pm

That reads like a riddle. Sprong annoyed Drake - and Drake pointed out the obvious reverse name ... and nobody called shenanigans?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Marquardt » August 18th, 2015, 2:39 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
Bill Marquardt wrote: ADDED: @ Bill Mullins, I wrote the above while you were writing your latest. Thank you for the additional info. At any rate, nothing has established that his actual name was Andrews.


Except that he told Smith that his name was Andrews, Sprong and Rullman said his name was Andrews, and possibly someone at Drake when Vernon spoke to them.



Which is why I believe he may have been using the name Andrews, acting as if it was his real name even though it was not. If he wanted anonymity, that would be the way to do it. Admitted conjecture on my part.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » August 18th, 2015, 3:38 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:So Drake would tell Sprong his name was Andrews, but wouldn't tell any details about Andrews to Vernon.

Vernon never spoke to Drake.

The August 1970 Vernon Touch column reads in such a way, that it seems Vernon himself is the one who "went back there religiously for months and kept badgering the old man to tell me something about this man Andrews."

Whether this was intentional, or an error in transcription, or a consequence of faulty punctuation is debatable.

The quote from Diaconis clearly attributes the persistently quizzing of Drake to Sprong.

The "badgering for months" and "persistently quizzing" are not separate occurrences, one being done by Sprong and the other being done by Vernon.

They are both referring to the same thing, the interaction between Drake and Sprong as related by Sprong to Vernon.

As pointed out by Leonard Hevia a while back, if you view volume 15 of the Vernon Revelations dvds, it is all made clear.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 18th, 2015, 3:39 pm

Bill Marquardt wrote:...why I believe he may have been using the name Andrews, acting as if it was his real name even though it was not. If he wanted anonymity, that would be the way to do it. Admitted conjecture on my part.


Let's try Occam on this - if we drop the "he" we've got a printer being coy about the text and an artist meeting a stranger in a hotel room.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 4:33 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Except that he told Smith that his name was Andrews, Sprong and Rullman said his name was Andrews, and possibly someone at Drake when Vernon spoke to them.


But none of this needs to be true. Gardner planted the name Andrews in Smith's mind who later by his own admission is not good with names. All the other apparent confirmations of Andrews is hearsay that cannot be confirmed. And who says that Drake actually knew who the real author was? We do not know how the book actually ended up in Drake's hands. Perhaps the author sold it to McKinney who sold it to Drake. Perhaps Drake couldn't say more because he didn't know more except the rumor that everybody seems to be repeating to this day.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Roger M. wrote:There is absolutely no evidence to indicate Erdnase was doing anything more than toying with anagrams ...


And where is the evidence that he was even 'toying with anagrams'?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 18th, 2015, 4:54 pm

lybrary wrote:
Roger M. wrote:There is absolutely no evidence to indicate Erdnase was doing anything more than toying with anagrams ...


And where is the evidence that he was even 'toying with anagrams'?


Well, in the folks that were told by Drake that Erdnase was actually E.S. Andrews in reverse, and the fact that Erdnase told Smith he was Andrews when he had the drawings done, and perhaps a couple more depending on how you interpret Vernons stories.

That's where the "toying around with anagrams" comes from.

Of course if you choose to disbelieve it all because it runs counter to your candidate ... that remains your option to do so.

(Totally off topic, but I'm off to see Mac Kings show in an hour with my daughter, and am actually quite excited!)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 4:59 pm

Roger M. wrote:
lybrary wrote:
Roger M. wrote:There is absolutely no evidence to indicate Erdnase was doing anything more than toying with anagrams ...


And where is the evidence that he was even 'toying with anagrams'?


Well, in the folks that were told by Drake that Erdnase was actually E.S. Andrews in reverse, and the fact that Erdnase told Smith he was Andrews when he had the drawings done, and perhaps a couple more depending on how you interpret Vernons stories.

That's where the "toying around with anagrams" comes from.

Of course if you choose to disbelieve it all because it runs counter to your candidate ... that remains your option to do so.

(Totally off topic, but I'm off to see Mac Kings show in an hour with my daughter, and am actually quite excited!)


The problem is that these are not independent rumors. The reason Gardner planted the Andrews name was because of the existing rumors. So it is not independent. It could very easily be only one rumor that gets repeated and pops up at various places. It is still only a rumor and thus only one plausible theory not evidence at all. Elevating it to evidence status is a big error done here all the time. Neither one who spreads these rumors has anything more to add which suggests all they are doing is repeating the rumor because they don't know anything more.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 5:36 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:(Checks from that era with a business's logo/letterhead design are known, but they would have had to have been custom printed).


At least Gallaway could have easily printed his own checks. Some checks had the account holder name handstamped and others had the name written in.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2015, 5:43 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote: Nobody is immune to misplaced or missing quotation marks. Vernon is discussing Sprong's encounter with Drake, and then it seems as if he suddenly placed himself inside the story without any preamble about searching for Drake to ask him in person. If you pencil in the quotation marks, then the narrative about Sprong continues in a logical fashion.

Inferring the "phantom quotation marks" puts that Vernon Touch narrative in perfect harmony with Vernon's discussion in the Revelations video.


Brad Jeffers wrote:Vernon never spoke to Drake.

The August 1970 Vernon Touch column reads in such a way, that it seems Vernon himself is the one who "went back there religiously for months and kept badgering the old man to tell me something about this man Andrews."

Whether this was intentional, or an error in transcription, or a consequence of faulty punctuation is debatable.


I need to watch the Vernon DVD. And while I read Leonard's explanation when he posted it, there has been so much to absorb on the Erdnase thread the last six weeks that it slipped my mind.

FWIW, when David Ben quoted the passage in his biography of Vernon, he added quote marks:

"He said he found out from Drake, who was one of the later publishers
of Erdnase that Erdnase is Andrews spelled all mixed up. His real
name was Andrews. "I [Sprong] asked Mr. Drake who this fellow
Andreios was, and he said he was sorry, he couldn't tell me. So I went
back there religiously for months and kept badgering the old man to
tell me something about this Andrews. He said he couldn't betray a
confidence and couldn't tell anything about Andrews." "

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:Except that he told Smith that his name was Andrews, Sprong and Rullman said his name was Andrews, and possibly someone at Drake when Vernon spoke to them.


But none of this needs to be true. Gardner planted the name Andrews in Smith's mind who later by his own admission is not good with names. All the other apparent confirmations of Andrews is hearsay that cannot be confirmed.



Smith didn't act like Gardner "planted" the name, he acted like it was on the tip of his tongue and Gardner reminded him of it. "His face lighted up and he was sure that was it."

Sprong was interested in sleight of hand (he was willing to pay $100 for a center deal), and motivated to find the author. He had been interested in magic since soon after the publication of Expert. His statement carries more weight than a hearsay rumor.

Rullman's statements may in fact be speculation, but again, he was knowledgeable about the magic book scene, and his statements would have at least been _informed_ speculation.

And who says that Drake actually knew who the real author was?
If Drake didn't know, why didn't he just tell Sprong "I don't know?" What's the advantage to him to make up a story for Sprong? And then continue to maintain the story as Sprong continues to pester him?

We do not know how the book actually ended up in Drake's hands. Perhaps the author sold it to McKinney who sold it to Drake.
One thing the bankruptcy records show that hadn't been clear to me was that all of these early people were tied up with one another. Gallaway, Drake, McKinney -- their business relationships were much more incestuous than I would have guessed.

Drake may have been on the scene when McKinney printed the book. It's clear he knew McKinney. But he was involved in selling Expert so soon after its publication that McKinney's transactions with Erdnase would have been a recent memory. There's no reason to think he would have been in the dark about the matter -- it would have been due diligence for him to find out about Erdnase from McKinney before he started printing it and selling it himself.

Perhaps Drake couldn't say more because he didn't know more except the rumor that everybody seems to be repeating to this day.


Except when Drake told Sprong, it wasn't a rumor -- Drake's statement is the first time anyone said Erdnase = Andrews. Are you suggesting he made it up out of thin air?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 18th, 2015, 5:45 pm

I don't know if you've noticed Chris, but NOBODY has come on side with your candidate as anything more than "interesting".

Before the desire to insult those who disagree with you becomes too strong ... I'd take that fact into account!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2015, 5:57 pm

I don't think that Chris has been insulting -- just perhaps a little blind to the problems with Gallaway = Erdnase. Even though I don't agree with that proposition, its been useful to look at the arguments for and against.

And "interesting" is about as much as can be said about any of the candidates -- none of them are a lock. To be sure, some are more interesting than others. . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » August 18th, 2015, 6:02 pm

Not true. I rather like the case that Chris presented. Not that I care one way or the other. I have never figured out what the fuss about Erdnase was in the first place. As it happens I can do most of the sleights therein and I consider it a very good book. But then there are many very good books. I thought this one was well written and illustrated.

I do get a psychic vibe somehow that when the identity of the author is discovered it will be a big surprise to you. It will be somebody whose name you have seen again and again but have never connected to Erdnase. And I also get a feeling that it is someone who couldn't have written it because he was not alive at the time. In other words the book was not written when you think it was written.

I have utterly no evidence for this theory. It is just a psychic thing. When the identity is discovered you will all be astonished to hear that I am right.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » August 18th, 2015, 6:06 pm

Oh and Mullins. It has come to my attention that you have brought up my name without receiving formal permission to do so. I wish to assure you that despite your speculation I did not write Expert on the Card Table. However, in my capacity as a psychic reverend of some distinction I will be happy to communicate with the spirit world on your behalf to find out. Naturally there will be a small charge and this should be paid in advance.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 6:23 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Except when Drake told Sprong, it wasn't a rumor -- Drake's statement is the first time anyone said Erdnase = Andrews. Are you suggesting he made it up out of thin air?


Yes, I am saying this is a real possibility, because human nature is a lot more complex than you make it out to be. Maybe he repeated a rumor or made a guess and then to safe face he simply makes up the line that he can't betray a confidence. Wouldn't be the first time something like this happened.

The bankruptcy files show that Drake did business with McKinney but nothing more. We have still no idea how the book ended up in Drake's hands. Maybe Erdnase sold it directly to Drake which makes Gallaway a pretty likely person, because if he is Erdnase he would already know the business Drake due to his work at McKinney. Or Erdnase could have sold the book to McKinney or any other printer/publisher/retailer for that matter who then sells it to Drake.

I also think it is an error to say Drake did personally do all the business transactions. I don't know how large Drake was in 1901, but if I assume it was of similar size as McKinney then it is possible that Drake did not personally transact the purchase of EATCT. So he may never have had more knowledge than second hand reports from his employees.

All of this means there is no hard evidence that Drake would necessarily know who Erdnase really is. Just to be clear, it is also plausible that he could have known. We just don't know. Don't turn plausible theories into evidence. Once we actually have something to prove one or the other theory you can make it evidence.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » August 18th, 2015, 6:43 pm

I'm beginning to understand ...
It was Drake who started a rumor that S.W.Erdnase spelled backwards is E.S.Andrews.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 18th, 2015, 6:47 pm

Regardless of what one believes on the Smith-Sprong-Drake-Rullman aspects of the case, at least one thing seems pretty clear. Sprong's investigation is key, but we don't know the source of Drake's information. Edward Fink provided some ages of Drake family members. Based on that, the eldest child was 9 or so when the Erdnase book was published. Since Sprong probably dealt with one of the sons, this is an issue.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 18th, 2015, 7:30 pm

Tom Sawyer wrote:Regardless of what one believes on the Smith-Sprong-Drake-Rullman aspects of the case, at least one thing seems pretty clear. Sprong's investigation is key, but we don't know the source of Drake's information. Edward Fink provided some ages of Drake family members. Based on that, the eldest child was 9 or so when the Erdnase book was published. Since Sprong probably dealt with one of the sons, this is an issue.

--Tom Sawyer


Exactly. So imagine Sprong hears it from a Drake son, who heard it from his father, who heard it from an employee of his who actually bought the book potentially not even directly from Erdnase. Lots of question marks, lots of things we don't know. Yet, many make it out as if this is a sure thing. I have to repeat it. It is nothing but a rumor and thus simply a theory, not evidence.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 18th, 2015, 7:32 pm

Wait a minute, wasn't it the elder Drake that Sprong spoke with about the identity of Erdnase, and not one of Drake's sons? Wasn't Sprong roughly the same age as the elder Drake?

Also, if Erdnase used "E.S. Andrews" as his cover name when he dealt with McKinney, Smith, the bank, and possibly Drake, as David Alexander has suggested, wouldn't that have made that name just a red herring and not really a rumor? Assuming that "E.S. Andrews" is not the true name of Erdnase. Why would Erdnase reveal his true name to all or some of these individuals/entities and create a weak link in the chain?

I also agree with Chris that "E.S. Andrews" was likely all that the elder Drake ever really knew. Drake may have parsed it out himself and read "Erdnase" backwards, assuming he never met Erdnase posing as E.S. Andrews. When Sprong pestered the elder Drake for information, Drake may have gone along for the ride and mentioned something about not betraying any confidences.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 18th, 2015, 11:02 pm

If Sprong met with Drake during or before 1912, then it would have been Frederick J. Drake (the father) with whom he met.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 19th, 2015, 5:47 am

Wouldn't this whole Sprong/Drake episode make sense if Drake was Erdnase?

Also, EATCT uses the phrase "We betray no confidences in publishing this book" (my bold)

(Just a thought, I have not read up on Drake.)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » August 19th, 2015, 6:50 am

Leonard Hevia wrote: Also, if Erdnase used "E.S. Andrews" as his cover name when he dealt with McKinney, Smith, the bank, and possibly Drake, as David Alexander has suggested, wouldn't that have made that name just a red herring and not really a rumor? Assuming that "E.S. Andrews" is not the true name of Erdnase. Why would Erdnase reveal his true name to all or some of these individuals/entities and create a weak link in the chain?


Everybody's going around in circles again, Leonard. The name that 'Erdnase' was using was 'E.C. Andrews' and that is the name that appears in the McKinney Bankruptcy Files. That would also have been the name on Smith's cheque - would you accept a cheque from somebody calling himself 'Erdnase'?

I also agree with Chris that "E.S. Andrews" was likely all that the elder Drake ever really knew. Drake may have parsed it out himself and read "Erdnase" backwards, assuming he never met Erdnase posing as E.S. Andrews. When Sprong pestered the elder Drake for information, Drake may have gone along for the ride and mentioned something about not betraying any confidences.


I suspect that Drake knew all along who the author was but would tell Sprong only that it was Andrews spelt backwards. He had obviously given his word that he would say no more. It seems to me that quite a few of the author's friends MUST have known who it was, but they also did not betray his confidence.

Don't you think it's nice that some people can keep a secret when asked to?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 19th, 2015, 8:06 am

Bill Mullins wrote:...According to Vernon (see The Vernon Touch, p. 99),
"[Sprong] said he found out from Drake, who was one of the later publishers of Erdnase, that Erdnase is Andrews spelled all mixed up. His real name was Andrews. I asked Mr. Drake who this fellow Andrews was, and he said he was sorry, he couldn’t tell me. So I went back there religiously for months and kept badgering the old man to tell me something about this Andrews. He said he couldn’t betray a confidence and couldn’t tell anything about Andrews."...


Odd for Vernon to use that phrasing rather than "backward" and "reversed". Similarly the "betray a confidence" reads as another wink.

"... in publishing this book" - but not in writing? Something about insufferable conceit. ;)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 19th, 2015, 9:22 am

Jason England wrote:Therefore, I'd bet money he read the cheating books of the day including Green's various (but all similar) works, Evans' How Gamblers Win, Sharps and Flats, Fools of Fortune and the various chapters on cheating that appear in many of the otherwise pedestrian poker books of the late 19th century.


Since I haven't heard any objections to Jason's comment I am assuming we are in general agreement that Erdnase did read the available gambling and magic literature of his time.

With that in mind consider now that we know from Jay Marshall that there were several other gambling books with the Edward Gallaway bookplate. We don't know which books these were but we know there were several. We also know at least one of these was EATCT. That means we know a lot more about Gallaway's interest in gambling and advantage card play than we know about ES Andrews or WE Sanders interest in these subject matters. That to me puts Gallaway much closer at cheating with cards than Sanders or Andrews.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 19th, 2015, 9:29 am

The erdnase text does appear informed by available literature of the time.

Having a common book of the time in ones library is not so much evidence of authorship as willingness to have the book on the shelf and some need to mark up ones books.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 19th, 2015, 9:56 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:The erdnase text does appear informed by available literature of the time.

Having a common book of the time in ones library is not so much evidence of authorship as willingness to have the book on the shelf and some need to mark up ones books.


Jonathan, I am simply arguing that we can say that Gallaway had an interest in gambling and advantage card play, because we know he owned gambling books as well as EATCT. Do you agree?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 19th, 2015, 10:52 am

What do we really about the person whose name is on a bookplate based upon some sample of found books with his bookplates? That's a research question with some avenues for statistics. Has this work been done?

@Chris, Galloway is an interesting candidate for author of the erdnase text. Fine. Keep building that case based on his known authored texts. That avenue introduces some questions including: Why leave around old research materials? Especially if the output of that research was to be kept apart from his social life? That would be like the guy from the TV show Breaking Bad keeping books and lab notes on how to make 'that blue product' in his living room library.

lybrary wrote:I am simply arguing that we can say that Galloway had an interest in gambling and advantage card play, because we know he owned gambling books as well as EATCT. Do you agree?


That hypothesized "interest" could be anything from "had some remaindered books" to "studiously acquired the literature" - and to get a sense of that we'd need to know if his collection was more or less than the average guy who put bookplates in his books at the time in that area. Today folks buy old books by the yard to decorate shelves. Not everyone was a Thomas Jefferson.

Maybe he was given the gaming books by a prior owner? Maybe he was an organizer of the local underground gaming club? Maybe he was a wannabe advantage player? Maybe, maybe, maybe - which is fine for the fiction writer though not so good for the historian. Bravo for finding the artifacts. Let the artifacts speak for the world which created them.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 19th, 2015, 12:17 pm

Jonathan, these are all fair points, but we can't even say that much about ES Andrews or WE Sanders. We also know that Gallaway was an enthusiastic reader. After all he initiated two lending libraries in 1907 so that others less fortunate than him have books to read. With this it is not a bad assumption that he actually read the gambling books in his library. And thus it is not a bad assumption that he had an interest in card advantage play. Not a certainty, but quite possible.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 19th, 2015, 1:04 pm

Zenner wrote:It was interesting to note a couple of addresses in the McKinney Bankruptcy Files. Frederick J. Drake's business was at 356 Dearborn Street and Harry S. Thompson was based at Philip Ruxton Inks of 357 Dearborn Street.

Could someone point me to where in the bankruptcy files we get this address? Because all other sources I've found (e.g. books published by Drake) places his business at Wabash Avenue.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 19th, 2015, 1:10 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:I'm beginning to understand ...
It was Drake who started a rumor that S.W.Erdnase spelled backwards is E.S.Andrews.


This is not a "rumor". S. W. Erdnase does spell backwards to "E. S. Andrews". The rumor is that this has something to do with the author's identity.

In that regard, Rullman's name has several times been invoked in support of that theory, but I would say this support is very weak at best. Rullman first mentions the Andrews theory in the
November 1928: Sphinx, Books of Yesterday by Leo Rullman:
In this connection we must not forget that excellent treatise by W. [sic] S. Erdnase (E. S. Andrews), “The Expert at the Card Table,” being an exposition of artifice, ruse and subterfuge at the gambling table. The original cloth is very scarce, but it is published in paper-back form at the present time.

He comes back to this topic in the February 1929 issue: Sphinx, Books of Yesterday by Leo Rullman:
The most mysterious figure in the realm of magical literature, whose one contribution to the subject is still, after 25 years, one of the classics, is S. W. Erdnase, author of “The Expert at the Card Table”. No other work, in my opinion, packs so much concrete information of use to the manipulator of cards, as this little volume. Who was S. W. Erdnase? Very little practical information concerning him is available. The magicians do not know him. The publishers of the book have not been in touch with him for many years, as the copyright was purchased outright, and no royalties figured in the transaction. It has been said that his real name was E. S. Andrews, which in reverse order produces the pen-name under which he wrote…


Rullman was intimately connected with the magic community for many years, both fraternally and as a dealer in magic books, so when he says "magicians do not know him" I think that carries some weight. I also do not think that he would simply make up the statement about the then current publishers (Drake) not having been in touch with the author for years. I assume he must have received this information in correspondence with the publishers. It would be nice to find that correspondence in a collection somewhere! But it seems that his citing of the Andrews theory is simply based on the reverse reading, not some insider knowledge.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 19th, 2015, 1:15 pm

Zenner wrote:Everybody's going around in circles again, Leonard. The name that 'Erdnase' was using was 'E.C. Andrews' and that is the name that appears in the McKinney Bankruptcy Files. That would also have been the name on Smith's cheque - would you accept a cheque from somebody calling himself 'Erdnase'?


Going around in circles is not necessarily a bad thing. It can serve as a refresher to keep in mind the history of this story. I take it you have seen Smith's cancelled check and know for certain that Erdnase signed it E.C. Andrews?


I suspect that Drake knew all along who the author was but would tell Sprong only that it was Andrews spelt backwards. He had obviously given his word that he would say no more. It seems to me that quite a few of the author's friends MUST have known who it was, but they also did not betray his confidence.

Don't you think it's nice that some people can keep a secret when asked to?

Peter Zenner



All we have is Sprong telling Vernon that Drake clammed up and wouldn't talk. But why did Drake tell Sprong that it's Andrews spelled backwards? I can think of only three reasons:

1. Drake parsed it out for himself or someone pointed it out to him.
2. Erdnase went around town as E.S. Andrews and possibly ran into Drake somewhere, or into other people who told Drake they ran into a Mr. E.S. Andrews.
3. Erdnase shared with him his true identity, or someone else did. That would have been foolish of Erdnase to create a weak link. Secrets can sometimes inadvertently slip out, even by those who are careful.

lybrary wrote:With that in mind consider now that we know from Jay Marshall that there were several other gambling books with the Edward Gallaway bookplate. We don't know which books these were but we know there were several. We also know at least one of these was EATCT. That means we know a lot more about Gallaway's interest in gambling and advantage card play than we know about ES Andrews or WE Sanders interest in these subject matters. That to me puts Gallaway much closer at cheating with cards than Sanders or Andrews.


E. S. Andrews and W. E. Sanders had cards in their hands. Sanders purchased a number of decks in bulk. Laymen don't purchase decks of cards in bulk unless they are serious card players and/or magicians.
Last edited by Leonard Hevia on August 19th, 2015, 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » August 19th, 2015, 1:24 pm

As I may have noted before, I love this thread. For more than several reasons. But mostly I love it because every post serves as a reminder that when it comes to the identity of Erdnase, everybody’s in the same boat. Nobody knows. :?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby mam » August 19th, 2015, 1:37 pm

Another fun find, the H. C. Evans catalogs from 1909 and 1929. The former does not have EATCT in it, but the latter does at page 20.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » August 19th, 2015, 1:47 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:E. S. Andrews and W. E. Sanders had cards in their hands. Sanders purchased a number of decks in bulk. Laymen don't purchase decks of cards in bulk unless they are serious card players and/or magicians.


Leonard, I could now use the same criticism that was rendered against my gambling book argument for Gallaway, to argue against this. So here it goes. Owning decks of cards doesn't mean Sanders was a gambler or magician. Maybe he was a card collector. Or maybe he bought them as a gift for somebody who liked to play cards. Or maybe he is like me and uses them as bookmarks. Or maybe his wife did decorations with them. Just owning them doesn't mean you use them to play or gamble or do magic. Right?
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