ERDNASE

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 2:15 pm

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
ERDNASE IN NON-MAGIC POP CULTURE

Modesty Blaise studies EACT by Erdnase in _Dead Man's Handle_ (by Peter O'Donnell, 1986). Darwin Ortiz points out in _The Annotated Erdnase_ that Scarne, Zingone, and Rosini discuss the "merits of the Erdnase one-hand shift" in _No Coffin for the Corpse_ (by Clayton Rawson, 1942). Amy Tan's _Saving Fish From Drowning_ (2005) has a character named E. S. Andrews, who uses card tricks to assert power over Burmese tribesmen.

Any other non-magic notices of Erdnase?
Just found another:

_The King of the Nightcap_ by William Murray, Bantam Books 1989 (murder mystery) has a snippet available in Google Books:
"her hair and showed her a couple of fine-tuned variations on the Erdnase Shift, I had her gasping with pleasure. "Hell," she said, "this is better than a good lay." "

This is intriguiging, to say the least.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 2:21 pm

Originally posted by Stepanov Oleg:
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.
[Later downthread, Richard Hatch asks for a scan of the bibliographic citation.]

See HERE for a page image.

And anyone who would like to compare the writing style of W. E. Sanders, (David Alexander's candidate) might look up:
"The Framing of Rectangular Shaft Sets." by W. E. Sanders. _Engineering and Mining Journal_, vol 77 (10 Mar 1904) p. 396

or

"Mine Timbering" by W. E. Sanders, _Mineral Industry_, vol 8 p. 715 (1899)

or the book
_Mine Timbering_ by Wilbur E. Sanders, Bernard McDonald, Norman W. Parlee and others. pub by Hill Publ Co, NY and London, 1907. (reprints the two articles above)

or
"Montana: Organization, Name and Naming" by W. E. Sanders, Historical Society of Montana, _Contributions_ VII (Helena, 1910) pp. 23-24.

Some biographical trivia on W. E. Sanders:

The Oct 28 1911 issue of _Mining and Engineering World_ says "Wilbur Edgerton Sanders of Los Angeles returned from an eastern trip last week."

The 1902 Butte MT city directory has him living at 534 West Galena as a boarder, and working as a mining engineer for the ACM Company at 508 Hennessy building.

From 1889 - 1891 Helena MT city directories, we know that he boarded at 328 N. Ewing, and listed his occupation as "mining engineer".

From 1880 census:
age 18, born in Ohio, occupation "at school", has a older brother (2 years) James U., a younger brother (8 years) Louis/Lewis P.

From 1930 census:
Age 64, married for 20 years to Henrietta C. Sanders; occupation Mining Engineer, resides at 2909 Regent St. Berkeley CA

(the inconsistencies in ages with respect to the year the census was taken is common in looking people up in old census records.)

The 1885 minutes of the 46th convention of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity says that he was on the crew team, and is currently mining in Arizona (but his mailing address is still Helena MT), and that he was of the class of 1885 at Columbia.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 4:12 pm

And, a c.v. for W. E. Sanders (from _Who's Who on the Pacific Coast_, by Franklin Harper. Harper Publ, Los Angeles, 1913):

SANDERS, WILBUR EDGERTON, Mining Engineer; born, Akron O., Aug 21 1861; son, Wilbur Fisk and Harriet Peck (Fenn) S. Wilbur Fisk Sanders, his father, was first U.S. Senator from Montana. Edu.: public schools, Helena, Mont.; Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N. H.; E. M. School of Mines, Columbia Univ., N. Y. City, 1885. Married, Henrietta Chamberlain Herrick, Aug 8, 1910 at Denver, Colo. Has had practical training in mining in all its branches; also considerable experience along various lines in metallurgical operations; has made mine examinations in Alaska, B.C., U.S, and Mexico. At present, engaged in the examination and exploration of certain mining situations along the Mother Lode Belt. Member: Am. Inst. Mining Engrs., Mont. Soc. Of Engrs., Am. Geographical Soc., Am. Forestry Assn. Contributor to technical journals and for the transactions of Am. Inst. Mining Engrs. Mineral Industry work on Mine Timbering (collaborator). Inventor of mechanical devices. Address: Soulsbyville, Cal.

Note that U.S. Patent #694995 "Car Axle Journal Box" is by Wilbur, and the images of the patent maybe found at Google's patent search.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 5:55 pm

Bill, great stuff, as usual! What most intrigues me about the Sanders' CV is that his 1910 marriage took place in Denver, site of one of the "Erdnase sightings (Hugh Johnston recalled meeting someone introduced to him as "Erdnase" by Del Adelphia backstage in Denver, which would have been about this time).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 8:11 pm

Denver definitely seems to be the center of the Erdnase universe. Earlier in the thread, we established that both your (Richard Hatch) E.S. Andrews and Todd Karr's E.S. Andrews lived there, perhaps a block or so apart from each and maybe even at the same time. And Milton Franklin Andrews spent time there.

Alternatively, W. E. Sanders, your E.S. Andrews, and M. F. Andrews all spent time in the Berkeley CA area, so maybe the East Bay is the key location.

That Erdnase, he sho' do get around.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 8:13 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
The Wikipedia entry on Erdnase has the following line, which was news to me:
"Research for an upcoming documentary has uncovered correspondence between noted physicists and authors Stanley Wesley Stratton and Robert Andrews Millikan on the subject of conjuring and crooked gambling. In 1896 Stratton suggested a textbook on the subject. Further evidence suggests that Millikan and Stratton hired Professor Hoffman to write the book based (partly) on notes they provided."

Sounds extremely farfetched and a likely hoax to me, but does anyone know anything more regarding this claim?
If you look at the edit history for this article in Wikipedia, you find that this particular nugget was added on April Fool's day 2006. Coincidence? I think not.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 8:48 pm

Wilbur Sander's patent was filed in August 1901 and granted in March 1902, almost exactly the time when the first edition copies were coming off the printing press. Of possible interest is the facsimile of the Wilbur E Sanders signature, which could be compared to the signature of "S. W. Erdnase" on the copyright application (assuming the author filled out the application himself).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 9:00 pm

Another patent this particular Wilber E Sanders filed (in 1913) is 1107846, a Bin.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 14th, 2007, 9:06 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
Wilbur Sander's patent was filed in August 1901 and granted in March 1902, almost exactly the time when the first edition copies were coming off the printing press. Of possible interest is the facsimile of the Wilbur E Sanders signature, which could be compared to the signature of "S. W. Erdnase" on the copyright application (assuming the author filled out the application himself).
W. E. Sanders was clearly busy being a mining engineer during the period when EACT had to have been written. That's not to say that he couldn't have done it in his spare time (he was still single -- didn't get married until his late forties), but it does tend to make me discount him somewhat as a candidate for Erdnase.

He was all over the West between his college graduation in 1885, and the publication of EACT, so he may have spent time on the road becoming a card expert, and fleecing those he encountered along the way. But to me, EACT represents a "life's work", not a hobby, and I tend to believe that the author's full time job was card play.

I just found out that he (W. E. Sanders) was likely a classmate of Amos Alonzo Stagg while at Philips Exeter.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 15th, 2007, 9:59 pm

A Montana Historical Society document describes Sanders as more than just a mining engineer, including occupations that might seem to give him a lot more opportunity for card play.

A quote from that document:

"He worked in the field of mining as a mine superintendent, a shift boss, an assayer, a laborer, and a mine
owner in Helena, Butte, and the surrounding area".

He would seem to have done some time in a few different types of mining jobs as well as engineering, any of these other positions could possibly open the door to late night card games with different players of varying skills.

Has anybody physically visited the "one lineal foot" of documents that the Montana Historical Society lists as being in their possession, and dedicated to the life of W.E. Sanders?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 16th, 2007, 10:27 am

One issue with Erdnase being Sanders is that in the book he talks about how he "needs the money". I'd expect that the amount of income from a niche market book on card technique would be much less than he'd make from his normal occupation of mining engineer/operator. Perhaps the "need the money" bit is just a literary conceit. Or maybe it's part of a non-practical and romantic side of his personality. Interesting that he applied for patents too...maybe part of the same mentality and quest for hitting the jackpot.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » August 16th, 2007, 11:01 am

Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
One issue with Erdnase being Sanders is that in the book he talks about how he "needs the money". I'd expect that the amount of income from a niche market book on card technique would be much less than he'd make from his normal occupation of mining engineer/operator. Perhaps the "need the money" bit is just a literary conceit. Or maybe it's part of a non-practical and romantic side of his personality. Interesting that he applied for patents too...maybe part of the same mentality and quest for hitting the jackpot.
I think David Alexander has already addressed the "needs the money" bit. Basically, he'd probably make better money by actually cheating people than he would by publishing a book detailing the methods of cheating.

One question I'd like to have answered is this: Why would someone who was actively working as a miner in Helena, Montana publish a book in Chicago, IL, 1500 miles away?

-Jim

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 16th, 2007, 11:17 am

Jim,

Perhaps this is a nit (but perhaps not): I suspect that being a miner and being a mining engineer are very different jobs.

Clay

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 16th, 2007, 11:24 am

Jim, if he did (as is apparent) want to keep his name from being associated with the book, the limited publishing scene in Montana in 1900 could have made getting the book published there difficult if not impossible.
He may even have been recognized by his face in larger Montana cities at the time.

Chicago might have been the closest city where a project like this could be completed in an anonymous fashion.

Also, in 1900 there were a three or four rail lines through Montana that took a direct route to Chicago. For a guy from a family with a bit of money, Sanders would likely travel frequently and in many ways might look at a trip to Chicago as not out of the ordinary, or financially difficult.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 16th, 2007, 12:04 pm

I believe Blair summarizes several of the concepts first set forth by David Alexander. I look forward to the day when David publishes additional results of his continuing research.

Clay

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » August 16th, 2007, 12:07 pm

Originally posted by Magicam:
Jim,

Perhaps this is a nit (but perhaps not): I suspect that being a miner and being a mining engineer are very different jobs.

Clay
Yeah, you're right, Clay.

And those are all good points, Blair, and I suspected as much. I was mainly raising them as questions that would need to be answered by anyone pursuing this person as a candidate. Like Clay, I'm very interested in seeing the results of David's research.

-Jim

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 16th, 2007, 6:42 pm

I too am a big fan of David's work.

Like many, most of my existing knowledge of the Erdnase hunt comes from David Alexander and Dick Hatch's existing research.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 19th, 2007, 9:10 am

The house that W. E. Sanders grew up in is now a bed and breakfast -- you can spend the night in Erdnase's house! See HERE.

Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
One issue with Erdnase being Sanders is that in the book he talks about how he "needs the money". I'd expect that the amount of income from a niche market book on card technique would be much less than he'd make from his normal occupation of mining engineer/operator. Perhaps the "need the money" bit is just a literary conceit. Or maybe it's part of a non-practical and romantic side of his personality. Interesting that he applied for patents too...maybe part of the same mentality and quest for hitting the jackpot.
It's difficult to know with any certainty what Sanders' financial situation was, but he probably didn't "need the money" at the turn of the century.

1. He had been able to go to an elite Eastern university.

2. He was a member of one of Montana's "first families". His father was a lawyer, his mother came from a respected family as well. They had been members of the professional class since before the States War, in Ohio.

3. He was an engineer -- a profession that genearally had (and has) a middle to upper-middle class career path.

By 1930, though, we can say for sure that W. E. Sanders was not poor. In that year, census records show that his house was worth $13,000 -- more than any other house listed on that census page. Also, he had a live in servant.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 24th, 2007, 4:25 pm

Bill, that is pretty cool. Here's a photo Mark Twain with W. E. Sanders' father in Helena, Montana in 1895 (scroll down for the photo):
Mark Twain with W. F. Sanders 1895
Maybe Twain did help ghost write THE EXPERT after all!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 24th, 2007, 4:45 pm

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
...
Maybe Twain did help ghost write THE EXPERT after all!
How does the tone of Twain's later works compare to the tone of the introduction to the erdnase text? If I read the text with an inner voice of Twain (okay it will be Hal Holbrook) it comes across with a humor that I did not detect earlier.

As a literary conceit it works nicely

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 30th, 2007, 12:37 pm

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
One question I'd like to have answered is this: Why would someone who was actively working as a miner in Helena, Montana publish a book in Chicago, IL, 1500 miles away?
Originally posted by Blair Morris:
Jim, if he did (as is apparent) want to keep his name from being associated with the book, the limited publishing scene in Montana in 1900 could have made getting the book published there difficult if not impossible.
He may even have been recognized by his face in larger Montana cities at the time.

Chicago might have been the closest city where a project like this could be completed in an anonymous fashion.

Also, in 1900 there were a three or four rail lines through Montana that took a direct route to Chicago. For a guy from a family with a bit of money, Sanders would likely travel frequently and in many ways might look at a trip to Chicago as not out of the ordinary, or financially difficult.
The following may be pertinent to the question:
Duluth [MN] News-Tribune, published as The Sunday News Tribune; Date: 11-10-1901; Volume: 23; Page: 5;

"Wilbur E. Sanders, of Butte, Mont., was in the city yesterday. He is preparing a text book on mine timbering."

Using WorldCat (a master card catalog of academic and other libraries) I can't find ANY commercially published books from Montana between 1898 and 1903. I find a couple from Idaho, and (depending on how you define "commercially") 1 from Oregon. I don't think it could have been published locally to Montana.

And this isn't relevant to the question of publishing in Chicago, but is still interesting (and shows that Sanders' character is not so pure that he couldn't be a sharper):

"Ore Thief Convicted" Boise [ID] Statesman Date: 05-28-1897; Page: [1]
"The jury returned a verdict of guilty against W. E. Sanders, charged with grand larceny, the theft of ore from the Trade Dollar mine."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » August 30th, 2007, 1:34 pm

As I understand the timeline, Erdnase was in Chicago in Dec 1901 working on drawings for EATCT with Marshall Smith. The book was released soon after, in 1902.

"Made Another Payment. Purchasers of Snow Creek Property Well Pleased" The [Boise] Idaho Daily Statesman 02-07-1904; Page: 11
"On November 1, 1901, the property was leased by W. E. Sanders from the late Thomas McEwen. Mr. Sanders proceeded with development work until April, 1902, when he bonded it to T. W. Davidson and associates for $67,500." [The mine was near Sumpter OR in the Greenhorn district HERE ; photo of mine site HERE ].

M. D. Smith could have been wrong about the dates, but if he was right, I don't seen a mining engineer in the middle of developing a new property in the wilds of Eastern Oregon deciding to drop everything for a couple weeks, take the train to Chicago, develop the illustrations for a book on card sleights, and go back to Oregon and pick back up on the job. If we accept the dates, W. E. Sanders is looking less likely as Erdnase.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » September 1st, 2007, 8:29 am

Finding that Sanders had a bit of larceny in his heart is telling!

Mine development in 1900 would have involved rock sampling and subsequent assaying as it does today.
Perhaps Sanders himself wouldn't have been the chap to do the sampling (being hard labour, and perhaps guided by a geologist), and wouldn't have done the assay of the samples either (being that it was his own property).
This might also mean that he wouldn't have to be at or near the mine site to guide the process.

The rock sampling and assaying could have been taking place under his direction, but without him present.

Another possibility is that he was in Chicago on mining business, and took time out from that business to meet with Smith and undertake the drawings.

I enjoy reading your research Bill!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » September 1st, 2007, 11:49 am

Has anyone learned what a mining engineer actually did in those days?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 1st, 2007, 5:05 pm

He engineered in the mines!
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » November 23rd, 2007, 7:26 pm

Here's an interesting link I ran across tonight:

Erdnase Opera Link

Composer Gavin Bryars (who earlier composed some string quartets inspired by Erdnase) and writer Glen David Gold (of CARTER BEAT THE DEVIL fame) are working on an opera called WHO KILLED ERDNASE? Set for a premier next spring. Should be interesting!

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » November 23rd, 2007, 8:24 pm

Since a number of resources have come on line and others are taking up the research, I will give some info that I developed some years back. I compliment Bill for his good work. Time has been scarce for me lately, but some of you may find what I learned to be of interest and spur further research.

Wilbur's book, Mine Timbering, was actually a compilation of articles written by a number of people, two of the articles (as I recall) having been written by Wilbur himself. He was the editor of the book. It was published in 1907 by the Hill Publishing Company of New York and London. As I understand it, the book remains one of the standards on the subject. The book is readily available through used book dealers for $50 - $75. I have a copy in my collection, but it is buried in a box that I havent unpacked yet.

I would observe that Wilbur's articles are dry and direct engineering articles. Only in his personal diaries does he sound like Erdnase. Comparing Wilbur's professional writing and Erdnase will prove nothing.

I have no argument that Expert represents a "life's work," or shall we say 20 years experience, more or less. I never claimed, nor can anyone claim, that the book was written just before it was published. There is no evidence that it was and few authors work that way.

Clearly, Wilbur announced (or simply told friends who let it out to the papers) that he was working on his mine timbering book in 1901, a book that wasn't published until 1907 and was only a compilation of previously published articles. A nice cover for his real project, perhaps and a great excuse to carry around and work on a manuscript.

I've always thought that Expert was written over many years with insights written down as he developed them and tested them in the mining camps where he worked or on the train as he travelled. I have a number of his addresses and he was all over the west.

We do not know if Wilbur was acting for investors or other principals in the Oregon project. He did not necessarily have to stay at the mine to develop it or have his orders carried out. Other business could have very easily taken him East as the train was relatively quick and direct for its day and Chicago was a hub.

Chicago would be, as I've previously explained, the perfect place to publish a book anonymously...and the entire process of getting the book publishing in gear would have just taken a few days. It would not have been a long, drawn out process.

In Butte he would have been too well-known even if the services he needed were available. He had his family to consider as he was a part of Montanas first family. His brother was a noted attorney and his mother and father were still very much a part of Montana society. The Senator died in 1905 and Mrs. Sanders in 1909. The Sanders had the first automobile in the area, an observatory in one house, etc. They were quite well-to-do. One huge scandal involved a family member marrying a cook! With that setting people back on their heels, one could only imagine how the local society people would have reacted to the son of Montanas first family being the author of a book on card cheating.GAMBLING, one of Satans tools to trap the unwary sinner. Proper people and the Sanders were very proper people - simply didnt do those sort of things.

Anyway, Ive learned that his wife was the daughter of the territorial Attorney General in the Colorado area, another reason why he had to keep his past secret. I believe his parents did not die until after Expert had been published and, as I recall, I think his father-in-law was in practice in Berkeley.

Since people are finally digging, I'll release the two main reasons why I don't think anyone heard of him in the magic societies of the day or why he did not attempt to capitalize on the reformed gambler idea: Some short time after Expert was published Wilbur became a Christian Scientist.

A religious conversion and one other thing: For years Wilbur suffered from tinnitus. I have letters of him trying new doctors, always looking for a cure. As he aged he became progressively deaf. On top of being a Christian Scientist, his wife was a Christian Science practitioner. Yet another reason for him to discard his past.

I located and corresponded with Wilbur's step-grandson who visited him at his mine in Northern California in the early 1930s. He said Wilbur was quite deaf and that he had to shout to be understood. He and Henrietta did not live together that much in later years with Wilbur spending a lot of time at his mine.

I had a great fantasy that I would find her relatives and that they would direct me to a trunk in the garage that belonged to her. In it I would find the handwritten manuscript for Expert.

Unfortunately, that fantasy evaporated when I learned how the Widow Sanders died in the late 1940s. She suffered from undiagnosed and untreated Tuberculosis, the bacillus apparently not responding to Christian Science practices. She finally went to a doctor probably somewhat traumatic given her beliefs and he diagnosed terminal TB, giving her only days to live.

She moved into the bedroom of her grandson in the home of her son with whom shed been estranged, the grandson being away at college. True to the doctors diagnosis, she only lasted a few days, dying in some discomfort. She was quickly buried. All her possessions, including the bed, the bed linen, the mattress, essentially everything in the room, was burned. Any possessions or evidence that she might have had that could have contributed to solving the mystery went up in smoke sixty years ago.

She's buried in the Bay Area while Wilbur is up in Montana.

All that and one other thing: some time back someone sent me info linking Wilbur's family with the Dalrymple family. I have to follow that more closely, but it looks good.

Guest

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2007, 10:08 am

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
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).
The current (11/2007) Google Maps/satellite view shows an empty lot with a building under construction at the SE corner of Congress and State.

The 1886 Robinson Fire Insurance Map (available HERE ) doesn't name the building at that corner. It shows the Marvin House and the Congress House almost directly across the street (on the west side of State St.), and Brown's Hotel a half block north on the west side of State. A block south, on the east side of State, is the Globe Hotel.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 4th, 2008, 9:11 am

It's always struck me as, well, odd that the story of Dai Vernon chasing Allan Kennedy and the Center Deal is so well known, but that I've never heard of him ever trying to locate Erdnase.

Did he put any effort into locating/identifying Erdnase? When he met Marshall Smith, what was his reaction? What did he think of Martin Gardner's research? Did he want to continue it?

Did he agree that M. F. Andrews was Erdnase?

(If the answers to these questions is in David Ben's book, forgive me. I need to get off my wallet and buy a copy.)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Gord » February 4th, 2008, 9:53 am

Everyone will be pleased to know that the mystery that was Erdnase has finally been solved.
www.chapters.indigo.ca has a copy of Expert for sale under the name of "Samuel R. Erdnase."
There you have it. We Canadians have figured it out. Hooray for us!


Gord

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete Biro » February 4th, 2008, 11:51 am

Funny, I thought his name was Jeff Busby Erdnase Senior.
Stay tooned.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 4th, 2008, 12:47 pm

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
It's always struck me as, well, odd that the story of Dai Vernon chasing Allan Kennedy and the Center Deal is so well known, but that I've never heard of him ever trying to locate Erdnase.

Did he put any effort into locating/identifying Erdnase? When he met Marshall Smith, what was his reaction? What did he think of Martin Gardner's research? Did he want to continue it?

Did he agree that M. F. Andrews was Erdnase?

(If the answers to these questions is in David Ben's book, forgive me. I need to get off my wallet and buy a copy.)
Vernon was very interested in the identity question early on. He apparently learned from his friend John C. Sprong that S. W. Erdnase is a reverse spelling of E. S. Andrews, and Sprong, who lived in Chicago apparently learned this from the publisher at that time, Frederick J. Drake. The exact provenance of this sourcing to Drake is unclear, as some version have Vernon himself pestering Drake for this information while he was in Chicago, possible while cutting silhouettes at the world's fair in 1933. Whether Drake gave this information to Sprong or Vernon or both, and whether Drake claimed it was the author's true name, and whether Drake even knew the author or his true name is all unclear at this point. Some contact between Drake and the author at some point may be presumed, as they advertised first edition copies at $1 starting in 1903 and published their own edition in both paperback and hardback (at 25 and 50 cents respectively) starting in 1905, when the book was still clearly protected by copyright.

Vernon was apparently disappointed by the scant information he was able to glean from Marshall D. Smith, to the point of even questioning his involvement as illustrator of the book in later days. He was impressed with Gardner's research and findings, but Vernon never accepted his friend Gardner's conclusion that Milton Franklin Andrews wrote the book. Gardner believes this was because Vernon could not accept that possibility that his idol was a notorious murderer, but Vernon may have had other good reasons to question the theory.

Vernon also speculated that he might perhaps have met the mysterious author as a youth while studying magic books at the library in Ottawa. A stranger with a red beard engaged him in conversation about card work and gave him some fine points on the pass. Vernon never saw the man again and fantasized that perhaps it might have been the mysterious Erdnase.

These references are from my memory, so may not be entirely precise (I am out of town without access to my library at the moment), but I'm pretty sure most are from the Vernon Touch columns and Persi Diaconis' introduction to REVELATIONS.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Cugel » February 4th, 2008, 1:33 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gord:
[qb] Everyone will be pleased to know that the mystery that was Erdnase has finally been solved.
www.chapters.indigo.ca has a copy of Expert for sale under the name of "Samuel R. Erdnase."
There you have it. We Canadians have figured it out. Hooray for us!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 4th, 2008, 2:51 pm

The "Samuel" reference would be an error made decades ago, which has been repeated over and over again.

It actually shows up in quite a few different places.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » February 4th, 2008, 4:50 pm

Originally posted by Gangrini:
Gord, try using the code to reduce that URL to a hot link next time. Otherwise it throws off the page settings and makes it a pain in the ass to read the thread.

Can a mod please tidy that up?

Thanks.
It appears that we've having some issues with the URL tag. I'm going to talk to Brad about it.

I should point out that quoting the super-long link does not help matters. ;)

-Jim

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Gord » February 4th, 2008, 8:04 pm

Sorry guy's, I did use the URL tag but it didn't work so I cleaned it up as much as I could.


Gord

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Gord » February 4th, 2008, 8:06 pm

Originally posted by Blair M.:
The "Samuel" reference would be an error made decades ago, which has been repeated over and over again.

It actually shows up in quite a few different places.
Does anyone know where this mistake first came up and why?

Gord

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » February 4th, 2008, 8:40 pm

When he acquired the plates from Erdnase, that was the name Fredrick J. Drake registered in the U.S. Catalog as being the original author.
Drake himself may have made the name up.

To be fair, there are some folks who feel that Drake may have been asked by Erdnase himself to specifically use that pen name when he registered the authors name for copyright purposes.

Whichever is true, that's the name Drake used.

The false name was quite successful steering folks off the right track in the hunt for Erdnase for many years, so perhaps its purpose was served.

The name wasn't the only error this initial catalog listing contained.
The same listing says the book had 204 pages rather than 205.
It also promises only 45 illustrations rather than 101.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 4th, 2008, 8:51 pm

Why Erdnase would ask Drake to change the copyright he already owned does not make sense.

Drake got the plates from McKinney who was going bankrupt but McKinney did not own the plates so they could not legally sell them to anyone. Erdnase owned the plates because the book was self-published. The last time I talked to Martin Gardner he didn't understand this point until I pointed it out.

I think Drake tried to re-copyright the work in a name he could own and control, "Robert Erdnase." That was not succesful as somewhere along the way the real Erdnase asserted himself, possibly/probably through an attorney to whom he showed the checks paid to McKinney for typesetting and printing, and Marshall Smith for illustrations, along with the copyright papers.

I don't think Drake ever had direct contact or even know who Erdnase really was.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 4th, 2008, 9:24 pm

Correct that to I don't think Drake had direct contact with or ever knew who Erdnase really was. Certain subsequent actions by Drake suggest that to me.


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