ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 19th, 2006, 8:42 pm

Please, mr. David Alexander. I understand that my opinion means nothing, but looks like experiment should be little another. Peoples should recall what was length of man what they meet 40 years ago. Compare two peoples what stay close very much easy. Easy say what difference on size, but if you ask full length, you will be surprise on how differ be numbers. (I know lady who suppose Tom Cruise 180 sm.) Also, do not forget, most time they sat on chears and made pictures. If Erdnase sat on big chear and Smith on little, on brain of paintist can be not correct supposition.

I am so apologize if this opinion not interesting.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 19th, 2006, 9:52 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Second, I don't understand why Dick still consideres MFA viable, given his telling demonstration at the 1999 LA Magic History Conference where he had two people stand...one the size that Marshall Smith remembered and the other the size that MFA was. The disparity in size was striking. As Dick pointed out at the time, it would be hard to make that sort of mistake.
I do consider Milton Franklin Andrews a viable candidate for Erdnase. While the fact that he was not the size recalled by artist M. D. Smith when interviewed by Martin Gardner 45 years after the fact was the key feature in making me question that theory, it relies entirely on the memory of the artist at an advanced age many years later. I happen to believe Smith's memory was pretty good, but I have to admit, I don't really have an independent way to judge his memory. If we accept Smith's claim that he was the book's artist (and I do, but not everyone does... Vernon questioned it after interviewing Smith in Chicago, as he found his recall of the job disappointing), and his recollection that the man he met was the author (Smith himself conjectured that perhaps he had met someone other than the author, when confronted with the height discrepency, but he dismissed the likelihood of that, as do I) and that that man was in the 5' 5" to 5' 7" range, or at least shorter, rather than taller, than Smith, then we can conclusively rule out MFA. Personally, I think Smith did illustrate the book, did meet the author and his recollection as recorded by Gardner strikes me as both clear and honest. Which is one of many reasons I think MFA was likely not the author. And as Smith is our most credible eyewitness of the author, I give his testimony a lot of weight, so I favor a short man with sharp features, small hands and in the 40 to 45 year range. But I am not in a position to state conclusively that Smith might not have been mistaken on the height issue, or the other things he recalled. Which leave the door open to MFA and many others. To date, MFA is the only known card cheat from the period to have been proposed, and for many that and the fact that his name was Andrews carries a lot of weight. It doesn't convince me, but I am unwilling to dismiss him entirely.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 19th, 2006, 11:06 pm

[/QUOTE]I do consider Milton Franklin Andrews a viable candidate for Erdnase. While the fact that he was not the size recalled by artist M. D. Smith when interviewed by Martin Gardner 45 years after the fact was the key feature in making me question that theory, it relies entirely on the memory of the artist at an advanced age many years later. I happen to believe Smith's memory was pretty good, but I have to admit, I don't really have an independent way to judge his memory. If we accept Smith's claim that he was the book's artist (and I do, but not everyone does... Vernon questioned it after interviewing Smith in Chicago, as he found his recall of the job disappointing), and his recollection that the man he met was the author (Smith himself conjectured that perhaps he had met someone other than the author, when confronted with the height discrepancy, but he dismissed the likelihood of that, as do I) and that that man was in the 5' 5" to 5' 7" range, or at least shorter, rather than taller, than Smith, then we can conclusively rule out MFA. Personally, I think Smith did illustrate the book, did meet the author and his recollection as recorded by Gardner strikes me as both clear and honest. Which is one of many reasons I think MFA was likely not the author. And as Smith is our most credible eyewitness of the author, I give his testimony a lot of weight, so I favor a short man with sharp features, small hands and in the 40 to 45 year range. But I am not in a position to state conclusively that Smith might not have been mistaken on the height issue, or the other things he recalled. Which leave the door open to MFA and many others. To date, MFA is the only known card cheat from the period to have been proposed, and for many that and the fact that his name was Andrews carries a lot of weight. It doesn't convince me, but I am unwilling to dismiss him entirely. [/QB][/QUOTE]

Smith's memory was good enough to remember a cold snap that happened on the day he met Erdnase, a day I was able to determine by examining weather records. It wasn't that cold a month before or a month after, so I think I pinpointed the day. For me, that validates Smith's memory as being accurate.

Second, this was a simple job that did not require much of Smith's time as the pictures were traced from photos, not drawn from life. The logistics of Smith drawing them from life don't work out and I won't go into the details here, but as my wife is an accomplished artist and has illustrated two magic books, she understands the process as do I.

Had Smith drawn exclusively from life, it would have been a two-week job, easily. He didn't remember that and doubtless recognized what he'd done when Vernon and Gardner showed him the book, but by them Martin Gardner had pronounced him the "Dean of Magic Book Illustrators" or some such title.

It is also important to remember than no one who interviewed Smith was a trained historian, a trained interviewer and I suspect that Smith, who originally thought he'd drawn 30 or so pictures, realized that he'd traced photos when he saw the book and simply didn't want to disappoint these men who were being so nice to him by explaining what he'd really done.

Vernon could only have been disappointed because Smith, the only person we believe with a high degree of confidence actually met and talked with Erdnase, didn't remember much, because as I've explained earlier, there really wasn't much to remember.

He met a client, demonstrated some of his work to establish his level of skill, was shown a few effects by the man, charmed by him you might say (as befitting someone used to working with employees or hired hands) a personal connection was made with Erdnase claiming to be related to Dalyrmple. A price agreed, a deadline doubtless set, and the deal was made.

It was a nothing job for Smith, a day or so doing the tracing with a light box, and he was on to other things. He probably delivered the finished drawings to be turned into cuts and the photos to the printer a day or so later. His office wasn't that far away. He may or may not have ever seen Erdnase again. Apparently he did not remember having to do anything over.

I believe that Erdnase may have used the name Andrews as an acceptable ruse to hide his identity from his illustrator and his printer since the reversal of his name into Erdnase would be understood to be an acceptable pseudonym.

The fact that we have a large sample of MFAs writing easily eliminates him from consideration as Erdnase since anyone with experience writing and editing will quickly see that MFA was incapable of writing up to the level that Erdnase exhibits. For that, and several other reasons that you yourself have uncovered, MFA should be ignored as any further consideration of him only muddies the waters.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 8:47 am

Let me preface this by saying that I too believe M. D. Smith to have had quite a good memory and am guided by his recollections in evaluating possible candidates. Having said that, let me play "devil's advocate" in defense of the Milton Franklin Andrews theory:

Originally posted by David Alexander:

Smith's memory was good enough to remember a cold snap that happened on the day he met Erdnase, a day I was able to determine by examining weather records. It wasn't that cold a month before or a month after, so I think I pinpointed the day. For me, that validates Smith's memory as being accurate.
Smith recalled that it was "a bitter cold winter day," not necessarily the only such day, when he first met Erdnase in an uheated Chicago hotel room. He did not describe it as a cold snap. Assuming the illustrations were prepared in the winter of 1901/1902 (an assumption with which I have no problem, but an asummption none-the-less), I believe you searched the weather records and identified the only day in December 1901 fitting the "bitter cold" description that month by Chicago standards and then argued that must have been the date on which Smith met Erdnase. I consider that proof of your ingenuity in investigating this case, rather than a validation of Smith's memory.
Smith thought the hotel was on the SE corner of Congress and State, but there does not seem to have been a hotel at that location then (He was more certain that it was on the east side of State Street, and there are several good candidates in the neighborhood at that time). He thought he did about 30 illustrations, there are 101 in the book as published (possibly even more were done and not all used...). He did not recognize the illustrations, but claimed to recognize his handwriting under them ("Fig. 1", "Fig. 2"...). He agreed he must have met with the author at his hotel on several occasions, but only had vivid recollections of the first, and getting the check in payment later. He could not recall either the amount of the check or the bank it was written on (other than recalling that it was a large Chicago Bank). He did not recall the man's name as "Andrews" until prompted by Gardner. I don't bring these up to argue that his memory was bad, why should he remember those things 45 years later? I'm grateful for the things he did recall and willing, at this point, to accept them at face value. But I am also willing to concede that his recollection at an advanced age, many years after the fact, could be wrong. That is what Gardner ultimately concluded when faced with the discrepencies between the artist's recollection and the MFA facts (age, height, etc.).
Again, playing devil's advocate: Smith recalled meeting a clean shaven man with fair hair. The published photo of W. E. Sanders as a youth shows him clean shaven with fair hair, but the published adult photo in your GENII article shows him with a large black beard (head covered by a hat). Obviously he could easily have been clean shaven rather than bearded when meeting with Smith, and certainly there are fair haired men with black beards, but if it turns out that W. E. Sanders as an adult was always bearded and/or had dark hair, does that rule him out as a candidate, or simply call into question Smith's memory on that point?

Originally posted by David Alexander:

Second, this was a simple job that did not require much of Smith's time as the pictures were traced from photos, not drawn from life. The logistics of Smith drawing them from life don't work out and I won't go into the details here, but as my wife is an accomplished artist and has illustrated two magic books, she understands the process as do I.
As mentioned earlier in this thread, I asked Steranko, who certainly knows a thing or two about illustrating and card handling, to examine the illustrations and weigh in with an opinion on several points (multiple artists theories, size of hands, drawn from life versus from photos) and he was unable to conclude that the illustrations were traced from photos. In fact, he pointed out the difficulty and expense (and time needed) at that time to have 101 technical photos made. I concede the possibility that Smith may have worked from photos, but he did not recall (or admit to) doing so, and the book's title page specifically states "drawn from life". If he did trace them from photos, then it goes to the question of Smith's memory or honesty or both. If he didn't recall that detail or prevaricated about it, why should we believe him on the issue of height, age or room temperature?

Originally posted by David Alexander:

The fact that we have a large sample of MFAs writing easily eliminates him from consideration as Erdnase since anyone with experience writing and editing will quickly see that MFA was incapable of writing up to the level that Erdnase exhibits.
I agree that when I read the confession/alibi letters that MFA wrote, I have a hard time hearing the voice of Erdnase. Others (and not just Busby and Whaley) do hear hear that voice, reflected in his use of such terms as "expert". But most of those in the MFA camp seem to feel a need, given MFA's lack of education and those letters, to bring in an "editor." Busby proposed Bill Hilliar, Jerry Sadowitz R. F. Foster. I think it premature to bring in an editor at all at this stage, indeed, I consider it unlikely that a self-published book by an author "needing the money" (David, I realize we disagree on whether that statement is accurate or merely ironic) would have had an editor/ghostwriter. But I would also point out that the confession/alibi letters were written for a very different audience, under very different conditions, than the book. MFA was being hunted by the police on multiple murder charges. He confesses to the attempted murder of his Australian gambling partner, who he claimed had attempted to rape his girlfriend, then provides alibis for the other murders of which he was accused, including that of his own longtime consort. He is willing to negotiate surrender with the police under certain (rather strange!) conditions. I think such a letter, written in haste, under unbelievable pressure, possibly under the influence of illness (mental or otherwise) and/or drugs could reflect a very different voice than a technical treatise on card manipulation written under very different circumstances for a very different audience several years earlier, possibly by the same man. Unlikely, perhaps, but hardly impossible.

Originally posted by David Alexander:

For that, and several other reasons that you yourself have uncovered, MFA should be ignored as any further consideration of him only muddies the waters.
Milton Franklin Andrews was the first credible candidate to have been proposed for Erdnase and was for many years the only such candidate. For that, and other reasons, I consider him the "benchmark" candidate against whom others should be judged. I confess that I like several others much better at the moment, but absent conclusive evidence one way or the other, I am willing to concede that MFA is not only "viable" but the "candidate to beat" in the search for the truth on this issue.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 10:45 am

Originally posted by Stepanov Oleg:
I am so apologize. May be this is not interesting or somebody know before. Time to time I read how peoples interesting when first time appeared information about Erdnase. I find "Bibliographies of works on playing cards and gaming" 1905 and on number 488 we can find Erdnase. May be this is first bibliography.
Oleg, thank you for this interesting early citation. Is that Jesse Frederic's Bibliography? Does it give any publication details on the book, such as date and place of publication? Thanks!

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 11:09 am

Dick Hatch wrote: Let me preface this by saying that I too believe M. D. Smith to have had quite a good memory and am guided by his recollections in evaluating possible candidates. Having said that, let me play "devil's advocate" in defense of the Milton Franklin Andrews theory:
quote:
________________________________________
Originally posted by David Alexander:

Smith's memory was good enough to remember a cold snap that happened on the day he met Erdnase, a day I was able to determine by examining weather records. It wasn't that cold a month before or a month after, so I think I pinpointed the day. For me, that validates Smith's memory as being accurate.
________________________________________
Smith recalled that it was "a bitter cold winter day," not necessarily the only such day, when he first met Erdnase in an unheated Chicago hotel room. He did not describe it as a cold snap. Assuming the illustrations were prepared in the winter of 1901/1902 (an assumption with which I have no problem, but an assumption none-the-less), I believe you searched the weather records and identified the only day in December 1901 fitting the "bitter cold" description that month by Chicago standards and then argued that must have been the date on which Smith met Erdnase. I consider that proof of your ingenuity in investigating this case, rather than a validation of Smith's memory.

David Alexander in italics -

I searched the weather records for the month before and the month after. The date I pinpointed was the only bitter cold day, a decided cold snap. Smith was a Chicagoan who had experienced Chicago winters. I took him at his word and found the day. Since the book was copyrighted the following February, that is about the time the book would have begun production, given the holidays and the speed at which a Linotype operator can create plates and cuts can be made. This was not photo offset, but a far slower process. Back when I was actively investigating this I spoke with a printing museum who gave me a time frame on making the book.

Smith thought the hotel was on the SE corner of Congress and State, but there does not seem to have been a hotel at that location then (He was more certain that it was on the east side of State Street, and there are several good candidates in the neighborhood at that time). He thought he did about 30 illustrations, there are 101 in the book as published (possibly even more were done and not all used...). He did not recognize the illustrations, but claimed to recognize his handwriting under them ("Fig. 1", "Fig. 2"...).

Smith did not recognize his drawings because they were not his normal work. They were traced from photographs.

He agreed he must have met with the author at his hotel on several occasions, but only had vivid recollections of the first, and getting the check in payment later. He could not recall either the amount of the check or the bank it was written on (other than recalling that it was a large Chicago Bank). He did not recall the man's name as "Andrews" until prompted by Gardner.

Here we have a major problem in that none of the people interviewing Smith were professional (or even experienced) interviewers. I was not present. You were not present, but we do know that Gardner and Vernon were anxious about getting information, or more accurately, validating their own ideas about Erdnase. Lawyers call it leading the witness.

Vernon had an opinion about Erdnase, but Martin Gardner had a specific candidate. Certainly Gardners letters to Smith over the years pushing him to remember Erdnase as taller give evidence that Martin had an agenda that he wanted Smith to validate. It is to Smiths credit that he only moved up an inch over the years and after several letters. Gardner was hardly an unbiased investigator. I've conducted hundreds of interviews and well know the dangers in inserting information into a question and how quickly people can pick up on what the interviewer wants to hear.

I don't bring these up to argue that his memory was bad, why should he remember those things 45 years later? I'm grateful for the things he did recall and willing, at this point, to accept them at face value. But I am also willing to concede that his recollection at an advanced age, many years after the fact, could be wrong. That is what Gardner ultimately concluded when faced with the discrepancies between the artist's recollection and the MFA facts (age, height, etc.).
Again, playing devil's advocate: Smith recalled meeting a clean shaven man with fair hair. The published photo of W. E. Sanders as a youth shows him clean shaven with fair hair, but the published adult photo in your GENII article shows him with a large black beard (head covered by a hat).

My source has no date for the photo of the bearded Sanders. As he worked in mining camps all over the West, the beard is to be expected. And, if he normally grew a beard while working the camps and shaved it off when he went to Chicago, if many who saw him during his work saw a man with a beard, shaving it would have provided an extra layer of disguise and anonymity.

Obviously he could easily have been clean shaven rather than bearded when meeting with Smith, and certainly there are fair haired men with black beards, but if it turns out that W. E. Sanders as an adult was always bearded and/or had dark hair, does that rule him out as a candidate, or simply call into question Smith's memory on that point?
quote:
________________________________________
Originally posted by David Alexander:

Second, this was a simple job that did not require much of Smith's time as the pictures were traced from photos, not drawn from life. The logistics of Smith drawing them from life don't work out and I won't go into the details here, but as my wife is an accomplished artist and has illustrated two magic books, she understands the process as do I.
________________________________________
As mentioned earlier in this thread, I asked Steranko, who certainly knows a thing or two about illustrating and card handling, to examine the illustrations and weigh in with an opinion on several points (multiple artists theories, size of hands, drawn from life versus from photos) and he was unable to conclude that the illustrations were traced from photos. In fact, he pointed out the difficulty and expense (and time needed) at that time to have 101 technical photos made.

I have traded emails with Jim on this. Like most books, this was probably an on-going project done over several years. The photos would have been taken over time, not all at once, as the book was probably written a section at a time. I believe I have evidence that strongly suggests the reference photos were taken at different times, but that's something for another day.

I concede the possibility that Smith may have worked from photos, but he did not recall (or admit to) doing so

As I pointed out earlier, Smith would not have admitted to such a pedestrian operation since these nice, enthusiastic men were paying him so much attention and Gardner had anointed him Dean of Magic Illustrators. Why disappoint them? Smith almost certainly had to know was the truth, especially since he did not recognize his own work when he saw it. That would seem to me strong evidence that he did not draw the figures from life, regardless of what the book claims.

and the book's title page specifically states "drawn from life". If he did trace them from photos, then it goes to the question of Smith's memory or honesty or both. If he didn't recall that detail or prevaricated about it, why should we believe him on the issue of height, age or room temperature?
quote:
________________________________________
Originally posted by David Alexander:

The fact that we have a large sample of MFAs writing easily eliminates him from consideration as Erdnase since anyone with experience writing and editing will quickly see that MFA was incapable of writing up to the level that Erdnase exhibits.
________________________________________
I agree that when I read the confession/alibi letters that MFA wrote, I have a hard time hearing the voice of Erdnase. Others (and not just Busby and Whaley) do hear hear that voice, reflected in his use of such terms as "expert". But most of those in the MFA camp seem to feel a need, given MFA's lack of education and those letters, to bring in an "editor." Busby proposed Bill Hilliar, Jerry Sadowitz R. F. Foster. I think it premature to bring in an editor at all at this stage, indeed, I consider it unlikely that a self-published book by an author "needing the money" (David, I realize we disagree on whether that statement is accurate or merely ironic) would have had an editor/ghostwriter.

Needing the money is the author being self-depricating, and is part of his writing "voice." Self-publishing a book in those days was time-consuming and expensive. It was a project of several months, not including the time actually spent writing it, which probably involved years. Ive pointed out elsewhere other ways Erdnase could have made more money faster had he actually been a reformed gambler. The book was written for other reasons, made clear I think, by Erdnase in the early pages of the book.

But I would also point out that the confession/alibi letters were written for a very different audience, under very different conditions, than the book. MFA was being hunted by the police on multiple murder charges. He confesses to the attempted murder of his Australian gambling partner, who he claimed had attempted to rape his girlfriend, then provides alibis for the other murders of which he was accused, including that of his own longtime consort. He is willing to negotiate surrender with the police under certain (rather strange!) conditions. I think such a letter, written in haste, under unbelievable pressure, possibly under the influence of illness (mental or otherwise) and/or drugs could reflect a very different voice than a technical treatise on card manipulation written under very different circumstances for a very different audience several years earlier, possibly by the same man. Unlikely, perhaps, but hardly impossible.
quote:
________________________________________
Originally posted by David Alexander:

For that, and several other reasons that you yourself have uncovered, MFA should be ignored as any further consideration of him only muddies the waters.
________________________________________
Milton Franklin Andrews was the first credible candidate to have been proposed for Erdnase and was for many years the only such candidate. For that, and other reasons, I consider him the "benchmark" candidate against whom others should be judged. I confess that I like several others much better at the moment, but absent conclusive evidence one way or the other, I am willing to concede that MFA is not only "viable" but the "candidate to beat" in the search for the truth on this issue.

Sorry, but as evidence you yourself have uncovered, Milton Franklin Andrews was never a credible candidate and is not the candidate to beat. The entire argument for him being Erdnase rests on the word of an alleged retired gambler that you have discredited. Martin Gardners work in this was sloppy. Martin never followed through to validate what he was told. He accepted Pratts word on the matter uncritically and without question, hardly indicative of the man who said, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Further, Gardner ended up arguing with the one person we believe actually met Erdnase when that persons memory failed to support what Gardner believed.


MFA was the only candidate for many years because people accepted Martin Gardners argument from authority and did not examine it critically. Both you and I have demonstrated that Gardners work was sloppy and without merit in this matter. Simply put, Andrews was Erdnase because Gardner accepted Pratts word that he was. The argument is circular as many others have recognized. Early on in my investigation I climbed off the Milton Franklin Andrews Merry-Go-Round. The argument is circular and a waste of time to pursue.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 12:41 pm

David, Smith remembered he met Erdnase on "a bitter cold day." You found such a day. I don't see how that validates Smith's memory, since it provides no independent verification that they met on that day. Had Smith said they met on the only cold day in December 1901, then finding that there was in fact only one such day would lend weight to his recollection, but that's not what he said. I don't doubt that they did meet on a bitter cold day, by the way, and I do find your pinpointing such a day ingenious. But I don't see how that argues strongly in favor of Smith's powers of recollection. (On the other hand, details such as the fact that Smith kept on his overcoat in the hotel room, while Erdnase did not, do strike me as good evidence of both his recall and the fact that it was cold when they met). If they did indeed meet in the winter of 1901 (and I suspect they did), then your use of weather records to pinpoint the date is admirable, but I don't think it proves much about Smith's recollection.

Originally posted by David Alexander:

Vernon had an opinion about Erdnase, but Martin Gardner had a specific candidate.
At the time Gardner tracked down Smith in December 1946, he had no specific candidate in mind. Shortly after meeting Smith he came up with a "James Andrews" who wrote an article about a fortunetelling con (later reprinted in CONJURERS MAGAZINE). According to a letter Gardner wrote the Canadian copyright office early in 1947, Smith had "recalled" the author's true name as "James Andrews." Alas, the latter claim is not reflected in their surviving correspondence nor in Gardner's current recollection of what happened 60 years ago. I suspect Gardner recognized that "James Andrews" reverses to S. W. Erdnasemaj", found the article and saw some stylistic similarities to Erdnase (pointed out in the Conjurers article) and coaxed the "recollection" out of Smith. But if Smith did independently recall the author's name as "James Andrews", I would find that hard to ignore. Only several years after meeting and interviewing Smith did Gardner develop the Milton Franklin Andrews theory and return to question Smith in correspondence about it.

Originally posted by David Alexander:

Sorry, but as evidence you yourself have uncovered, Milton Franklin Andrews was never a credible candidate and is not the candidate to beat. The entire argument for him being Erdnase rests on the word of an alleged retired gambler that you have discredited. Martin Gardners work in this was sloppy. Martin never followed through to validate what he was told. He accepted Pratts word on the matter uncritically and without question, hardly indicative of the man who said, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
The fact that Pratt's testimony on MFA is not credible does not invalidate that theory. If, as I believe, Pratt did not know MFA personally (as he claimed he did), then he and not Gardner should be given credit for developing the MFA theory. The theory could still be true, though it loses the weight of the testimony of a supposed colleague (Pratt), who claimed to have known him personally and been told about his book before it was published. Gardner himself was very skeptical of Pratt's claims and it was only after he obtained what he believed to be independent validation of them that he accepted Pratt's claims (Pratt was the first to tell Gardner of Harto's claimed involvement with Erdnase, which two Harto associates then validated to Gardner's satisfaction... I personally take Harto's claimed association with Erdnase seriously, though I am skeptical of Pratt's claim that Harto contributed material to THE EXPERT. Regardless, the Harto connection does not validate the MFA theory, but it did render Pratt's testimony credible for Gardner).

Originally posted by David Alexander:


MFA was the only candidate for many years because people accepted Martin Gardners argument from authority and did not examine it critically. Both you and I have demonstrated that Gardners work was sloppy and without merit in this matter.
I'll agree with the first sentence above, but must take strong exception to the second. Gardner is the pioneering figure in the tiny field of Erdnase research and deserves a huge amount of credit and respect. He was the only person even to think of looking for the artist, whose name had been on the titlepage since 1902. His interviews with Smith produced information which I consider fundamental. He researched and wrote the first detailed account of the book's early publishing history, pinpointing McKinney as the printer. Were it not for Gardner's work, there would likely be little interest in this topic today. For all that, and much more, I am extremely grateful.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 1:21 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Oleg, thank you for this interesting early citation. Is that Jesse Frederic's Bibliography? Does it give any publication details on the book, such as date and place of publication? Thanks!
Dear mr. Richard Hatch.
Yes, this is Jessel Frederic's Bibliography. Information only name, 1902 and "Canada copyright". If you wish I can send you image of this page.

BTW. From first number of 2007 year's magazine "Casino Games" will be published my translation of Erdnase with my comments. This is first time in Russia. So, now I bacame one of "The Man Who Translate Erdnase". :-)))) I still remember I promised for your collection my book, when it will be published. But from magazine publications we just check my translation on errors. Unfortunatelly our problems not like on "Star Wars" by Hatch-Alexander. Our problems little low level like "What mean Erdnase when wrote Cassino and Casino"? :-)

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 1:45 pm

Oleg, thanks (please call me Dick). Congratulations on your pending translation. I would very much like a copy for my collection. Can I purchase the magazine version in the meantime? If so, let me know how best to do so.
Also, if you can send a scan of the Jessel entry, it would be most welcome. Thanks!

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 3:11 pm

When I talked to Gardner many years ago he insisted that McKinney was the publisher. I had to argue several minutes to correct him, that McKinney was never the publisher, only the printer. He didn't seem to understand that.

Gardner also, according to you, after you explained your research, dropped his confidence in MFA being Erdnase from 90% to 60% and then, because neither of us came up with anything "new," according to what you told me, raised it back to 90%. That didn't make any sense to me then and it doesn't now. What you learned did not suddenly evaporate or become invalid.

You write:
The fact that Pratt's testimony on MFA is not credible does not invalidate that theory. If, as I believe, Pratt did not know MFA personally (as he claimed he did), then he and not Gardner should be given credit for developing the MFA theory. The theory could still be true, though it loses the weight of the testimony of a supposed colleague (Pratt), who claimed to have known him personally and been told about his book before it was published. Gardner himself was very skeptical of Pratt's claims and it was only after he obtained what he believed to be independent validation of them that he accepted Pratt's claims (Pratt was the first to tell Gardner of Harto's claimed involvement with Erdnase, which two Harto associates then validated to Gardner's satisfaction... I personally take Harto's claimed association with Erdnase seriously, though I am skeptical of Pratt's claim that Harto contributed material to THE EXPERT. Regardless, the Harto connection does not validate the MFA theory, but it did render Pratt's testimony credible for Gardner).
_________________________________

I don't find that reasonable at all. The fact that Harto may have claimed to various people that he was the one who wrote the magic section of Expert means nothing and I am unaware of any evidence other than what some people claimed Harto claimed. If this was echoed to Gardner by Pratt, it, in no way validates what Pratt may have claimed about Andrews.

In historical research, weight is given to likelyhoods, what is more likely than some other theory. Not all theories have equal weight or equal likelyhood of being correct. I think just looking at the material you've developed, not counting in what I think is a more likely theory of who Erdnase was and a candidate that fills that theory, you, on your own, have rendered the theory that Milton Franklin Andrews being Erdnase Highly Unlikely.

It is reasonable to believe that the book was being made ready for publication in December, 1901 because it was copyrighted in early 1902, a process that required two bound and printed copies of the book be submitted with the application.

The day Smith remembered would be unlikely to have happened much earlier, but if necessary, I suppose I, or you if you're so curious, could pull the weather records for June, 1901 through December, and examine them to see if there was another really cold day earlier than the one I found. I think I examined November 1901 and January, 1902, although it's been a while since I looked at my notes and everything is packed for moving.

I reasonably figured that the illustrations were done within a reasonable time frame with Erdnase getting them ready while or just before the book was being typeset, a process that would have taken a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we do not know McKinney's work load a the time and where in his printing que the book would have been placed. Once the illustrations were delivered by Smith, cuts would have been made to insert into the appropriate pages. This also would have taken time. I don't believe McKinney's was a large shop.

It seems reasonable to assume the book was printed and bound not much later than January, 1902 and two copies and the copyright application were duly sent off. Perhaps it was all sent off a bit earlier as we do not know the backlog at the copyright office and how long it would have taken for the application to have been processed. If longer to process and grant copyright, it pushes the date back to late December, making my date more likely. That Smith remembered the weather of the day and then the cold hotel room (not an unheated hotel as Gardner later wrote), keeping his coat on during his interaction with Erdnase all works to validate what he remembered.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 3:28 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
The fact that Harto may have claimed to various people that he was the one who wrote the magic section of Expert means nothing and I am unaware of any evidence other than what some people claimed Harto claimed. If this was echoed to Gardner by Pratt, it, in no way validates what Pratt may have claimed about Andrews.
I have not found any credible evidence that Harto made such a claim. Pratt is the only one who claims that, and he was both confused (claiming it was added at the publisher's insistence, rather a strange claim on a self-published book) and untrustworthy on other points. So I don't take that claim very seriously. But two individuals who knew Harto very well both confirmed that he had dealings with Erdnase, though neither is explicit on the nature of those dealings. One thought he saw correspondence between Harto and Erdnase, the other recalled seeing a notebook for a proposed sequel. Neither said that Harto claimed to have written the legerdemain section, only Pratt makes that claim. I have no problem at all with Harto having had some contact with Erdnase. Clearly Harto claimed to have had such contact and I have no basis on which to deny it. I would consider it a plus if a credible candidate could be shown to have had contact with Harto. None of the current candidates currently fall in that category, but I still consider it an open question. Regardless, it has no bearing the MFA issue, other than it being the detail than convinced Gardner of Pratt's bona fides.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 4:24 pm

MFA is an unlikely candidate, but I think Richard's point is that he can't be excluded. (Although I do agree, being unlikely, he is not the best path to follow).

Just because Smith said it was a bitter cold day, doesn't mean it was the coldest day that year. It's entirely possible that the hotel room was colder than he was used to it being indoors (if he kept his coat on) and that was what influenced his comment (an emotional memory) rather than the actual temperature outside.

On the issue of illustrations: The claim that he wouldn't want to disappoint Gardner and Vernon by saying they were drawn from photographs is incredibly hypothetical. If it were true, why then did Smith claim he didn't remember doing all the illustrations if he really wanted to keep the image Gardner and Vernon had of him?

David or Richard, maybe you can answer this one:
Was "Drawn from Life" a phrase that would increase sales of a book at the time? If not, why would it be included if photos were used?

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 4:51 pm

Originally posted by Aaron Lee Shields:

David or Richard, maybe you can answer this one:
Was "Drawn from Life" a phrase that would increase sales of a book at the time? If not, why would it be included if photos were used?
Aaron, I think that is an excellent point. I don't understand why the author would say "Drawn from life" on the title page if they were not, nor do I see why he would mention the artist's name on the titlepage, if he were obsessively concerned with maintaining anonymity, as David argues. Neither the method of illustrating nor the artist's identity would seem to have any bearing on sales of the book. Of course, David argues that sales were not the author's primary motivation (because David does not believe that he needed the money), but I still don't understand why he would add that statement to the titlepage: "Over One Hundred Drawings from Life by M. D. Smith."

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 5:10 pm

Originally posted by Aaron Lee Shields:

On the issue of illustrations: The claim that he wouldn't want to disappoint Gardner and Vernon by saying they were drawn from photographs is incredibly hypothetical. If it were true, why then did Smith claim he didn't remember doing all the illustrations if he really wanted to keep the image Gardner and Vernon had of him?

David or Richard, maybe you can answer this one:
Was "Drawn from Life" a phrase that would increase sales of a book at the time? If not, why would it be included if photos were used?
We do not know in what order Smith made his comments to Vernon, Gardner and the others when they met him. He may have made a simple observation of a job he'd done 40+ years before, before he saw the book, the illustrations and the number he did.

Then he saw the book and realized what he said and had to follow through with it. I don't think he deliberately lied, just that he may have said things to keep his hosts happy. The problem is, none of the participants were trained in interview techniques and could have lead Smith in their questioning. I don't think it "incredibly hypothetical," just in line with how people are and what they do.

It was obviously important to Vernon, Gardner and the others and Smith was an old man who was getting incredible recognition for an inconsequential job he did in the early part of his career.

Re: "Drawn from Life" - you could make a stretch that drawing from a photo is drawing from "life." It certainly wouldn't be the first magic book to stretch a claim.

I have no way of proving, but think it likely that Erdnase showed up with photos and learned from McKinney that the cost of printing photos would be prohibitive and that they would not necessarily print that clearly, given the quality of the paper he chose to print on. So, far less expensive were line drawings made from the photographs that could be turned into cuts. Who was to argue that they weren't "from life," since no one knew who Erdnase was and it probably added to the preceived value of the book.

I don't believe Harto ever communicated with Erdnase.

I will grant the possibility of Harto saying to friends that he was "in contact" with Erdnase to build himself up because people do that. They pump up resumes, they inflate experience, people do a variety of things to make themselves look more important.

I just heard a Broadway star make mention that over the years she's figured that something like 50,000 people must have been in her theater on opening night because that's how many have come up to her over the years and told her how much they enjoyed her show and, of course, they always add that they were there on opening night.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 5:24 pm

With regards to the hotel room, I like David's printed theory that Erdnase was actually staying in ANOTHER room in the hotel, and, with his stuff all laid out, clothes, personal posessions, maybe books and personal papers.....he simply went down to the front desk and asked for another room in which to meet Smith, this to keep his privacy and maintain the masquarade that confounds us to this day.

If the room had been unbooked for a few days the heat would have been off (hotels STILL do this today) and being an old boiler system even after being turned back on probably would have taken the better part of the day to heat the room back up.

Smith remembering the cold hotel room is SO vertical in it's scope (it's such a FINE point) that it's hard for me not to give hiim full credit for the accuracy of the memory. Of course if you accept that the cold hotel room memory could might be that accurate, then you may have to make the next step to thinking that his memories of that day as they were shared with Gardner stand a chance of ALL being quite accurate.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 5:24 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
... but I still don't understand why he would add that statement to the titlepage: "Over One Hundred Drawings from Life by M. D. Smith."
I don't either. Then again, it doesn't strike me as blatantly odd. In fact, to my eyes and ears the "from Life" phrase has a nice ring to it. Do we know that Erdnase was competely responsible for titling the book and designing the title page? (perhaps he was.) Is this phrasing typical for illustrated books of that period? Or it is somewhat unique? Many have complimented Erdnase for his writing skills, so maybe this was just a well turned phrase for simply informing the reader of the illustrated nature of the book?

Clay

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 5:31 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
QUOTE]Aaron, I think that is an excellent point. I don't understand why the author would say "Drawn from life" on the title page if they were not, nor do I see why he would mention the artist's name on the titlepage, if he were obsessively concerned with maintaining anonymity, as David argues. Neither the method of illustrating nor the artist's identity would seem to have any bearing on sales of the book. Of course, David argues that sales were not the author's primary motivation (because David does not believe that he needed the money), but I still don't understand why he would add that statement to the titlepage: "Over One Hundred Drawings from Life by M. D. Smith." [/QB]
Good grief! Smith's name on the book would have no effect on the annonymity of the author because if someone sought out Smith way back then, what could he tell them? He would give them the name he was given which was almost certainly NOT Erdnase's real name. Same for McKinney, the printer.

They knew Erdnase as probably a guy who used the name "Andrews" since it reverses so nicely to the pseudonym on the book, but this was a self-published book and they were paid in advance. What did they care who the author really was, if they even bothered to ask themselves that question? The checks cleared. The bills were paid so they did the job. Like any other printer I've ever known, that was the end of it as far as they were concerned. It was just another customer in a long line of customers. We see the book as special because we're interested in the subject. Obviously, neither the printer nor the illustrator were. Just another day at the office as far as they were concerned.

Dick, you cannot make the statement, "Neither the method of illustrating nor the artist's identity would seem to have any bearing on sales of the book," since neither you nor I nor anyone knows how many books were printed by McKinney for the author, how many books were sold, who the original market was, how that market was reached, or how many were sold in the months before the first ad appeared in the magic press...unless you've uncovered information that you haven't published.

Saying the drawings were "made from life" as well as the name of the artist adds authenticity to the book and would almost certainly help sales. I would have thought that self-evident. It's called "hype."

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 6:18 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Smith's name on the book would have no effect on the annonymity of the author because if someone sought out Smith way back then, what could he tell them?
Given how good Smith's recollection seems to have been 45 years after the fact, I'm guessing an interviewer of Smith in 1902 (when his name appeared in the book, and Smith was listed in the Chicago directories as an artist) could have elicited much additional useful information including but hardly limited to:
1. The name and dates they met at the hotel
2. The bank on which the check was drawn
3. The name used by the author
4. An accurate physical portrait
5. A precise recollection of the nature of the author's claimed relationship with Dalrymple

And that's just for starters. Who knows how much additional information he could have provided? I think it would not have been nearly as difficult then to have tracked the author as it is now.

The book was copyrighted c/o McKinney and McKinney was selling copies of the book, so had an ongoing relationship of some kind with the author and could likely have also provided much useful information.

Your claim that the author likely used the alias "Andrews" with McKinney seems based on your profile that has the author requiring absolute anonymity. I'm not at all convinced that he did and I think his use of the artist's real name (which had no commercial value) supports that view. Why not put illustrated by R.Hatch or D. Alexander or someone completely fictitious?
I personally find the simple "E. S. Andrews" reversal a completely satisfying solution, and several attractive candidates with that name have been investigated, including at least one who was the age recalled by the artist, who arrived in Chicago just a few months before the book was published there (though he had lived there earlier, as recalled by Edwin Hood's son), had a wife whose maiden name was the same as Dalymple's mother's, stayed in Chicago during the intial sales period of the book, and moved out of state the very month the book was "remaindered" (in this case, dropped in price from $2 to $1) by a company living on the same street, indeed the same side of the street, just few blocks north of him. All possibly coincidental, but just as possibly the foundation of a good circumstantial case.

I don't know how many copies of the book were printed in its first edition, but I am currently tracking nearly 80 copies and it is certain there are a fair number floating around that I don't yet know about, and given the cheap paper and binding, equally certain that a good number have not survived. So I would guess (and that's all it is admittedly) an initial print run of 500, possibly more. Possibly some were printed but not bound, a fairly common practice at the time I believe.

I do think a key question that remains unanswered is the author's intended market for the book and the efforts he took to reach it. The author's preface suggests it was intended to be of interest "to all lovers of card games," quite a large market, then as now. Did he advertise it to that community? If so, when and how? I'm optimistic that he did something to advertise it that will provide further clues to his identity.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 6:33 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:

Saying the drawings were "made from life" as well as the name of the artist adds authenticity to the book and would almost certainly help sales. I would have thought that self-evident. It's called "hype."
It's not "hype" if it is true, as I and I suspect more than a few others believe. If the author had gone to the great expense and effort to bring 101 or more photos with him to Chicago, why not advertise and benefit from his use of the technology by saying: "with over 100 drawings accurately traced from precise photos of the author's hands," for example? Why is "drawn from life," if untrue, a more compelling sales pitch? Illustrations "drawn from life" would be less accurate, and in a technical work of this nature, less appealing, I would think. And I see absolutely no reason to include the illustrator's true name on the book, especially if anonymity was desired. Smith himself never even saw the book until Gardner showed it to him 45 years later, and he's probably one of the few at the time who would have recognized his name and purchased a copy on that basis.
Incidentally, Smith did not recall getting "paid in advance." He recalled getting a check when the work was completed, and he hesitated to take it, not knowing if the stranger's check would clear. But it did and he never saw him again.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 6:46 pm

FWIW, between "drawn from life" and "with over 100 drawings accurately traced from precise photos of the author's hands," for me it's an easy vote for the former!

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 6:58 pm

Originally posted by Magicam:
FWIW, between "drawn from life" and "with over 100 drawings accurately traced from precise photos of the author's hands," for me it's an easy vote for the former!
Actually, Clay, I'll concede that rhetorical point, but I suspect Erdnase could have made it sound more appealing, if true!
Paul Fleming in his introduction to the Fleming edition of Maskelyne and Devant's OUR MAGIC argues for the superiority of the "ilustrations made, with infinite patience, by Jeanne McLavy, from halftone prints which often failed to reveal details mentioned in the text." Again, I suspect Erdnase could have said it much better... Also, I think the relative novelty at the time of the author's claimed (by David) use of the photographs could easily have been made a "selling point".

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 8:44 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Given how good Smith's recollection seems to have been 45 years after the fact, I'm guessing an interviewer of Smith in 1902 (when his name appeared in the book, and Smith was listed in the Chicago directories as an artist) could have elicited much additional useful information including but hardly limited to:
1. The name and dates they met at the hotel
2. The bank on which the check was drawn
3. The name used by the author
4. An accurate physical portrait
5. A precise recollection of the nature of the author's claimed relationship with Dalrymple

David Alexander's responses in italics...

Presuming that the author had not cautioned the artist and the printer not to talk about him, or that they would talk to you in the first place, you would have found the following:

1 A false name at the hotel that would have lead you nowhere.

2 A bank that would probably not give you any information about one of their depositors. If you did manage to penetrate bank discretion (highly unlikely) the account would almost certainly be under his false name that again would tell you nothing. Statement could be left to be picked up by him or sent to some city c/o General Delivery. End of trail.

3 The name used by the author which was almost certainly a false name. If not, why the "artifice, ruse and subterfuge" on the title page?

4 An accurate physical portrait of a man with no name in a country of 75 million people, and if my candidate, a man whose associates probably knew with a beard for much of the year. /I]

[I]5 A relationship that may or may not have been real used to establish rapport with the artist.


And that's just for starters. Who knows how much additional information he could have provided? I think it would not have been nearly as difficult then to have tracked the author as it is now.

The book was copyrighted c/o McKinney and McKinney was selling copies of the book, so had an ongoing relationship of some kind with the author and could likely have also provided much useful information.

As Ive written before, the author paid by check so that his business could be conducted by mail, managing sales and such by long distance, making it unnecessary for him to spend time with McKinney.

You claim the use of the artists real name had no commercial value, but how do you know? Thats just an opinion. Erdnase obviously had a different opinion because Smith's name is on the fly title. Smith may have cut the price for his work if he was given credit and forgot all about it. Erdnase was an amateur publisher, so who knows what went into his decision making processes? Why does the book have two titles? I think the fly title has a message that you ignore.

Your claim that the author likely used the alias "Andrews" with McKinney seems based on your profile that has the author requiring absolute anonymity.

You misstate my position...again. As I've always said, Dick, I do not believe the author required "absolute anonymity." If he had, then "By An Anonymous Gambler" would have hidden his identity forever. As Ive said many times, his name is on the book if you care to look for it.

I believe the author probably used the name "Andrews" because as a simple anagram of "S.W. Erdnase" it would have been readily accepted by the artist, author, bank manager, whoever he came into contact with.


I'm not at all convinced that he did and I think his use of the artist's real name (which had no commercial value) supports that view. Why not put illustrated by R.Hatch or D. Alexander or someone completely fictitious?

I personally find the simple "E. S. Andrews" reversal a completely satisfying solution, and several attractive candidates with that name have been investigated, including at least one who was the age recalled by the artist, who arrived in Chicago just a few months before the book was published there (though he had lived there earlier, as recalled by Edwin Hood's son), had a wife whose maiden name was the same as Dalymple's mother's, stayed in Chicago during the intial sales period of the book, and moved out of state the very month the book was "remaindered" (in this case, dropped in price from $2 to $1) by a company living on the same street, indeed the same side of the street, just few blocks north of him. All possibly coincidental, but just as possibly the foundation of a good circumstantial case.

Lots of other people have accepted the simple answer and gone down blind alleys. A man named Andrews (one of the most common names in the US) living in the neighborhood is proof of nothing. If he lived nearby, there would be no need to pay by check as that was fairly unusual for the time. He would have paid cash. Also, I see no evidence presented that this individual has the requisite education to write like Erdnase or the requisite time to develop the material in the book. Was the book truly remaindered or did that company simply aquire a smalll supply for one reason or another?

By the way, I've learned that my candidates family is related to the Dalrymple family through an uncle, or so I was informed a few years ago by someone off a genealogy bulletin board.

I don't know how many copies of the book were printed in its first edition, but I am currently tracking nearly 80 copies and it is certain there are a fair number floating around that I don't yet know about, and given the cheap paper and binding, equally certain that a good number have not survived. So I would guess (and that's all it is admittedly) an initial print run of 500, possibly more. Possibly some were printed but not bound, a fairly common practice at the time I believe.

Five hundred copies is just a guess. It may be accurate or it may be way under or way over. How many runs were made? We don't know. How many copies went into paper drives during WW I and WW II? We don't know. We do know that the book was a pulp book and not meant to last. I fail to see what determining the number of surviving copies will tell you.

I do think a key question that remains unanswered is the author's intended market for the book and the efforts he took to reach it. The author's preface suggests it was intended to be of interest "to all lovers of card games," quite a large market, then as now. Did he advertise it to that community? If so, when and how? I'm optimistic that he did something to advertise it that will provide further clues to his identity.

I think further research into how the book was marketed is a good direction to go.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 9:08 pm

. I fail to see what determining the number of surviving copies will tell you.
[/QB]
I don't think it's a huge stretch to wonder out loud if one of the surviving copies, whereabouts currently unknown might not have a salutation from the author. Perhaps to a friend, perhaps in the authors actual name.

It doesn't even have to be a salutation from the author, it could just as easily be a note written by the buyer to himself...."purchased from W.E. Sanders, March, 1902.

That's just me dreaming out loud, but it's probably worth knowing where all the first editions are located, who owns them, and what might be written in them, if anything.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 9:26 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
I fail to see what determining the number of surviving copies will tell you.
I'm tracking first edition copies for several reasons:
1. It puts a lower bound on the number of printed copies. Obviously, if I know of 80 surviving copies, he must have had at least that many printed. Likely considerably more. How many more is a guess, as I stated. But having some idea of how many copies were initially printed would give some indication of his ambitions for the book, which I would consider useful and interesting information.
2. In tracking and inspecting first edition copies (the only copies with a direct link to the author), I'm hopeful that additional clues about his identity will be revealed. I wouldn't be surprised if a copy inscribed by the author didn't surface at some point, and I would find that quite interesting. I know of the existence of one copy that has the name "E. S. Andrews" inscribed on the titlepage. But I don't know the current whereabouts of that copy, and so have not had a chance to examine it. I would be interested to compare that handwriting to the writing samples of Erdnase candidates, though I recognize the name may very well have been added by someone other than the author at a much later date. It was only by inspecting one of several first edition copies at the Library of Congress that I learned that McKinney was a direct source of copies (in this case, the copy sold to Adrian Plate in New York). That was new information to me. How did Plate, in New York, learn that copies were available from McKinney, in Chicago? I don't know, but I'm optimistic that someday we may.
3. It's a fun hobby!

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 10:17 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
A man named Andrews (one of the most common names in the US) living in the neighborhood is proof of nothing.
I agree it proves nothing and believe I clearly stated that it could just be an odd coincidence, but I would like to point out that Andrews is NOT one of the most common names in the US, and I don't believe it ever has been. In the 1990 census, it ranks as the 183rd most common last name, with only an estimated 134,298 people in the U.S. having that last name at that time. In a country of nearly 250 million people (at that time), that's not many named Andrews. I thought this had been discussed earlier in the thread, but wasn't able to locate it if it has. At one time I had the 1900 census information on the number of people in the US named Andrews. Looking at the frequency of male first names that began with the letter E, and an estimate of the popularity of the middle initial S (probably the most fudged factor in my equation!), I estimated that there were likely something on the order of two dozen white adult males named E. S. Andrews in the US in 1900. The fact that two years later, at the exact moment needed, one of them was living in Chicago (well, technically, across the street from Chicago, on the Oak Park side of Austin Ave), with the same age as recalled by Smith, with a wife possibly related to Dalrymple, less than a mile from and on the same street as the Atlas Novelty Company (the rather obscure slum magic dealer who first offered the book to the magic community at half price the very month he got transferred to California), and that he worked as a travelling agent for the Chicago and Northwestern Railraod, a job that would have allowed him ample opportunity to develop the skills displayed by the author were he so inclined... well, it struck me as pretty darn interesting. Can I put a deck of cards in his hands? Nope, not yet. Can I show he has the voice of the book? Nope, not yet. But I personally find the circumstantial case for him pretty compelling, though I am admittedly biased by the way I stumbled across him and then developed the information I have on him. I consider Todd Karr's E. S. Andrews pretty interesting, too, though at this stage, still pretty undeveloped in terms of details regarding him. But definitely a promising "person of interest". And I find W. E. Sanders pretty interesting, too.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 20th, 2006, 11:20 pm

HERE is a page from H. C. Evans' 1929 catalog, offering EATCT.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » December 21st, 2006, 4:28 pm

When I made mention of inscriptions inside the front cover of a first edition I was simply repeating something Dick had mentioned to me on the telephone one day.

It's Dick's original thought, NOT mine.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 2:09 am

I'm wanting to order some back-issues of Genii, and wondered if anyone can tell me any issues which have Erdnase features in (David Alexander's articles for instance). Also, any other decent gambling related features. Thanks!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete Biro » January 11th, 2007, 9:22 am

Dave/Richard: I wish you two had been on the O.J. Simpson prosocuting team!
Stay tooned.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 10:54 am

Originally posted by willmorton:
I'm wanting to order some back-issues of Genii, and wondered if anyone can tell me any issues which have Erdnase features in (David Alexander's articles for instance).
David's excellent article is the cover feature of the January 2000 issue (vol. 63:1). Available from the Genii offices and other dealers (I know we like to keep copies in stock at H & R!).

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 13th, 2007, 6:41 pm

There's an ellusive first edition of "Expert at the Card Table" on the Random Treasures auction right now.

I guess of note is that it's had a bit of work done to it, although it has original cover boards but new endpapers.

It's currently at $440.00.

http://www.randomtreasuresauctions.com/ ... RowStart=1

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 16th, 2007, 7:02 pm

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... =2&start=0


On that thread near the bottom is a post by Jason England, he talks about a copy of expert at the card table with a picture of Erdnase, he's posted an image too on the post, do you guys think this could be the actual photo?

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 16th, 2007, 8:02 pm

No, but I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I need to sell fast. Email me for details. ;)

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 22nd, 2007, 11:09 pm

they also say on that thread that vernon meet him, and /or hoffinger!! I was under the impresion that j england knew what he was talking about.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 23rd, 2007, 1:38 am

Jason posted that with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2007, 4:54 am

Cardsharping and forgery are things that one can easily associate with a conman. They are things that he might learn in his career. Indeed I can state, as fact, that: a conman, a cardsharp and a forger can be just one person and own a legit printing business as a front. Printing machinery is large and needs be hidden if one is using it to forge documents and the best way to hide it, is in plain sight, as a legit a printers. Based of my experience, it would not surprise me to find, that the printer, who printed the book, was Erdnase himself. I dont know but has the printer been eliminated from the enquiry?

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2007, 12:50 pm

Thanks in part largely to this thread, I just received my first copy of EATCT. I thumbed through it trying to decide if I was going to treat it like I typically do magic books and pick out the pieces I want to learn or go through it in great detail like the many previously listed card masters.

In flipping through the pages and taking an initial pass at a number of the moves... I began to wonder if the 'from life' quote has been completely skewed into the large debate as to whether they were drawn free-hand or traced from photos. Perhaps all the mystery writer was saying is that it is possible in real life and he was able to do all of the moves with the precise execution that they are described with. As far as I am concerned, some of these appear to be fantasy. ;)

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 29th, 2007, 10:39 am

An interesting factoid that gives a flavor of Chicago in Erdnase's time...from The Big Con by Professor David W. Maurer:

"It has been estimated by one informant that in Chicago alone in 1898 there were, to his personal knowledge, more than two hundred ropers working for five permanent and protected monte stores alone; there were hundreds more roping against unprotected stores which ran 'on the sneak,' while the railroad lines running into Chicago were infested with mitt mobs. And similar conditions prevailed in new Orleans, San Francisco, New York City -- in fact, in any city which was a railroad center."

It was a very different world than today.

Kevin Baker
Posts: 25
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: London

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Kevin Baker » January 31st, 2007, 3:06 pm

Originally posted by silverking:
[QB] There's an ellusive first edition of "Expert at the Card Table" on the Random Treasures auction right now.

I guess of note is that it's had a bit of work done to it, although it has original cover boards but new endpapers.

It's currently at $440.00.

Hello silverking,

Does that lower the value of the book?

Regards,

Kevin

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » January 31st, 2007, 9:50 pm

Originally posted by Kevin Baker:
Originally posted by silverking:
[QB] There's an ellusive first edition of "Expert at the Card Table" on the Random Treasures auction right now.

I guess of note is that it's had a bit of work done to it, although it has original cover boards but new endpapers.

It's currently at $440.00.

Hello silverking,

Does that lower the value of the book?

Regards,

Kevin
Kevin, in principle, any deviation from new mint condition will influence the value. In some cases, such as an interesting signature of historic import, it might increase the value, but in this case the noted deviations would be considered blemishes by most collectors, I think. That said, the book just sold for $2988 plus 20% buyer's premium, for a combined total of $3585 plus tax and shipping if relevant, indicating how desirable first editions of this work have become....


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