ERDNASE

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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 11th, 2010, 10:46 am

Thanks Richard. I was going to ask about how comment on Erdnase compared to comment on other books of the time to get a sense of how folks saw it back then.
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Richard Stokes
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Stokes » February 11th, 2010, 2:46 pm

"In doing some research of my own some time back I spoke with David Maurer's daughter about her father's work. Unlike many academics who were kept their raw research notes and such, Maurer destroyed it all before he died."
David Alexander

David, did Maurer's estate ever receive any royalties from the producers of the Sting?
The screenwriter David S Ward appears to have lifted the central ideas for his 'original' script from Maurer's book.
(Ward's later work did not fare so well.)
Was the Sting a sting?
I wonder who made the most out of the movie deal.
Julia Phillips' nose?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 11th, 2010, 5:42 pm

Per the LA Times, 5/11/1980:
In the celebrated case of "The Sting," screenwriter (and subsequent Oscar winner) David Ward was accused of appropriating the bae idea of the movie's con game from a 1941 book by David W. Maurer called "The Big Con." . . . Maurer later filed suit. . . . The insurance company decided to settle out of court, and although company officials declined comment on the sum, The Times has learned that the figure was about $600,000. . . Ward, who admitted using the book in his research along with other nonfiction sources, vehemently defended the originality of his screenplay. . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 12th, 2010, 1:35 am

This sort of thing happens which is why production companies hire researchers to "clear" such scripts to avoid lawsuits. Sometimes they do catch potential problems - as per the "The Trouble with Tribbles" and its similarities to Heinlein's "Martian Flat Cats." In that case a bit of charm from Gene Coon and Gene Roddenberry to Robert Heinlein eliminated any potential problem, although Heinlein was never particularly happy about it.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchwald_v._Paramount for an interesting episode in Hollywood history.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 12th, 2010, 8:09 am

David Alexander wrote:..."The Trouble with Tribbles" and its similarities to Heinlein's "Martian Flat Cats." ...


http://www.fastcopyinc.com/orionpress/a ... ibbles.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rolling_Stones_(novel)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigs_is_Pigs

Foresight good, research better?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Stokes » February 12th, 2010, 12:54 pm

Thanks Bill for that useful excerpt from the LA Times re. The Sting.
I wasn't aware of the court case, but I'm glad that Maurer received generous compensation.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Stokes » February 12th, 2010, 1:22 pm

$600,000.
Not that it did him much good!
I came across this obituary:

David W. Maurer Is Dead at 75; An Expert on Underworld Slang
Published: June 14, 1981
David Warren Maurer, a professor of English Literature at the University of Louisville and an expert on underworld slang, has been found dead at his home, the apparent victim of a self-inflected gunshot wound. He was 75 years old.

A deputy coroner in Jefferson County said that said Dr. Maurer, who had taught at the university for 37 years, was found dead Thursday night in a shed at his home. He received a doctorate from Ohio State University in 1935 and spent much of his academic career studying the language of criminals and drug addicts.

Dr. Maurer was the author of ''Whiz Mob,'' which dealt with the argot and behavior of pickpockets, and ''The Big Con,'' a book published in 1940 about confidence men. In 1974 he filed a $10 million lawsuit charging that the motion picture ''The Sting'' and the book of the same name had been copied from ''The Big Con.'' The lawsuit was settled out of court in 1976.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 12th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 15th, 2010, 1:36 am

I don't recall ever having seen this before:

"Queer Family History," Boston Daily Globe; Jan 14, 1894; pg. 1

Milton F. Andrews Said to Have Confessed to Robbing a Cigar Store in Hartford

Hartford, Conn, Jan. 13 -- Soby's cigar store was entered on July 26, 1893, and property valued at $100 stolen.

There was no clue to the thief until yesterday, when William Goldbaum told the police that Milton F. Andrews had confided in him that he was the thief.

Andrews was arrested and in the police court this morning was held for trial on Monday.

In his pocket was found a package of cayenne pepper and a bottle of drugged whiskey.

Soon after the robbery he left Hartford and went to Philadelphia.

He is a brother of Mrs. Gertrude Judkin, the wife of Prof. Judkin of Boston, who about a year ago murdered her 3-months-old baby.

She is now in an insane asylum.

Milton Andrews' father, Edwin Andrews, left Hartford about 2-1/2 years ago with $2000 in his possession to go to New York and has not since been heard of.

"Found Not Guilty" The Hartford Courant Jan 22, 1894; pg. 3
"The burglary case against Milton F. Andrews, charged with breaking into Soby's cigar store last July, was finally nolled, as sufficient evidence to convict could not be secured."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 15th, 2010, 9:38 am

Wow! That clears up several mysteries about MFA, particularly the question of the absent father (his mother was listed in Hartford directors as living alone after a certain point, but not listed as a widow), while adding several others. No direct bearing on the question of authorship, but fascinating nonetheless! I wonder if court or police documents would confirm other known details, such as his height (at least at that date), etc. Would a photo have been taken as a result of the arrest?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 15th, 2010, 10:21 am

In his pocket was found a package of cayenne pepper and a bottle of drugged whiskey.


What does one do with a package of cayenne pepper?

... and he was found with a pack of cards, a bottle of whiskey and a package of cayenne pepper. Got the makings of a moment there. Like the final loads for a Chop cup routine.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 15th, 2010, 10:51 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
David Alexander wrote:..."The Trouble with Tribbles" and its similarities to Heinlein's "Martian Flat Cats." ...


http://www.fastcopyinc.com/orionpress/a ... ibbles.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rolling_Stones_(novel)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigs_is_Pigs

Foresight good, research better?



Well, not quite the full story, Jonathan, as "research better" that I did years ago shows. On page 514 of my book, Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry I detail the following:

In November, 1968 Heinlein made a consignment of items to the University of California Santa Cruz Library. The inventory is typed on Robert A. Heinlein's letter head. Itemized is a television script with the following notation listed:

Items to be filed with number 92 The Rolling Stones.

This is a TV script for Star Trek, The Trouble with Tribbles. It was purchased by Star Trek, then someone in their story department notices a strong resemblance to the chapter Flat Cats Factorial in number 92 The Rolling Stones. The executive producer telephoned me. I waived any possible redress for possible piracy and/or plagiarism. It was produced and broadcast. Ten years earlier I might have sued, but I have learned that plagiarism suits are a mugs game even if you win. Time, trouble, worry and expense.

This is the only copy of the script for The Trouble with Tribbles in the Heinlein Archive and it does not have David Gerrolds signature, but does have a short, penciled notation in Heinleins hand:

I condoned the possible literary piracy. R.A.H.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 15th, 2010, 11:06 am

Richard Stokes wrote:$600,000.
Not that it did him much good!
I came across this obituary:

David W. Maurer Is Dead at 75; An Expert on Underworld Slang
Published: June 14, 1981
David Warren Maurer, a professor of English Literature at the University of Louisville and an expert on underworld slang, has been found dead at his home, the apparent victim of a self-inflected gunshot wound. He was 75 years old.

A deputy coroner in Jefferson County said that said Dr. Maurer, who had taught at the university for 37 years, was found dead Thursday night in a shed at his home. He received a doctorate from Ohio State University in 1935 and spent much of his academic career studying the language of criminals and drug addicts.

Dr. Maurer was the author of ''Whiz Mob,'' which dealt with the argot and behavior of pickpockets, and ''The Big Con,'' a book published in 1940 about confidence men. In 1974 he filed a $10 million lawsuit charging that the motion picture ''The Sting'' and the book of the same name had been copied from ''The Big Con.'' The lawsuit was settled out of court in 1976.


If I recall my conversation with his daughter correctly, Dr. Maurer had a nasty form of cancer and did not have a pleasant future so he chose a way of avoiding a lot of pain before the inevitable.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 15th, 2010, 10:16 pm

David Alexander wrote: If I recall my conversation with his daughter correctly, Dr. Maurer had a nasty form of cancer and did not have a pleasant future so he chose a way of avoiding a lot of pain before the inevitable.

This is what happened also with the great character actor Richard Farnsworth, right after he sstarred in the movie "Straight Story".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 15th, 2010, 10:24 pm

Farnsworth starred (his only starring role other than Straight Story) in a movie called The Grey Fox. Wonderful film, shamefully not available on DVD.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 15th, 2010, 11:50 pm

It was a wonderful movie, and used to be available on VHS tape. Worth looking up.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 16th, 2010, 1:15 am

Richard Hatch wrote:Wow! That clears up several mysteries about MFA, particularly the question of the absent father (his mother was listed in Hartford directors as living alone after a certain point, but not listed as a widow), while adding several others. No direct bearing on the question of authorship, but fascinating nonetheless! I wonder if court or police documents would confirm other known details, such as his height (at least at that date), etc. Would a photo have been taken as a result of the arrest?


The mention of "Mrs. Gertrude Judkin" allows a new avenue for research on MFA's family. Hers is a tragic story. Anna (or Annie, as it is sometimes seen) Gertrude Andrews was MFA's older sister. She had been a teacher, and she married William L. Judkins, an art teacher from Boston, in Hartford on 4 Aug 1891 and they moved to Boston. Approximately May of 1892, they had a son Edward, and on 2 Jan 1893 in Roxbury Mass., after a few weeks during which her husband said she exhibited symptoms of insanity, she tried to smother the boy. She was not successful, so she then shot him with a revolver. She then tried to shoot herself, but the gun failed to discharge. She tried to suffocate herself with an unlit gas jet, but that didn't work either. While she was trying to stab herself with a table knife, her husband walked in on her and stopped her. A week later she was found not guilty because of insanity and went to the Westboro Asylum for the insane.

One article about the case says she was born in Corinth NY. Another says "Mrs. Andrews [MFA's mother] thinks her daughter has been made insane by overwork. Mrs. Judkins's grandmother was insane for a time from the same cause." This same article said she had a brother Edwin. This was probably Alvin E. Andrews. Another states Alvin as her father's name, and said he "died some years ago." The 1870 census shows an Alvin P. Andrews as head of the family (MFA had not yet been born).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 16th, 2010, 11:28 am

Given the lack of diagnostic tools available at the time it is possible that Mrs. Judkin suffered from a severe case of post partum depression. Today we know that about 13% of women who give birth have a variety of PPD symptoms.

Depression has a tendency to run in families so there may be an underlying genetic predisposition. That and/or her hormones may have been severely out of balance, or her thyroid may have been malfunctioning.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Steve V » February 18th, 2010, 12:47 am

Cayenne pepper is considered an herbal cure and preventive for a lot of things.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Matthew Field » February 18th, 2010, 5:01 am

Steve V wrote:Cayenne pepper is considered an herbal cure and preventive for a lot of things.


Such as bland pizza.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Steve V » February 18th, 2010, 2:05 pm

Yes! Seriously they used it for all kinds of stuff, they thought it could restart a heart after a heart attack.

One thing about Erdnase, there are a lot of poker players here in Nevada who don't care about magic who read the book.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Terry » February 18th, 2010, 7:44 pm

Cayenne pepper in your food will open up your sinus' if they are blocked up.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 27th, 2010, 6:21 pm

"On Custer Hill", a POEM by Wilbur Edgerton Sanders.

The book it is from (_Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana, Vol 7_) has a biographical note on Sanders, and says: "He prepared much of the manuscript for Volume II of the Contributions, 1896, and had charge of the publication of that volume from page 140 to its completion."

So, W. E. Sanders is the only one of the major candidates for authorship of EATCT that was known to be an accomplished and experienced writer.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » February 27th, 2010, 8:00 pm

Hmm...looks like I may need to dust off that stylometry/authorship software I was working on a few years back and compare this to the Erdnase text.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 27th, 2010, 9:34 pm

From what I read, these analyses need several thousand words to be of any use. It might be better to use Sanders' text on Mine Timbering, which is available on Google Books. HERE

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 27th, 2010, 9:35 pm

Hey, Bill, that's very interesting! Thanks for posting the link to the poem and the other information. I suspect David Alexander already had this information (he's been researching Sanders for years and has had help from the Montana Historical Society), but it was news to me. Since it has published work by Sanders prior to and closer to the writing and publication of Erdnase, it may provide a better match in style than the book on Mine Timbering that he edited for publication in 1907. That has contributions by him, but in a scientific style that (to my ear) don't have much in common with Erdnase, though admittedly written for a very different audience. Mine Timbering does have a double copyright, as I recall, reminiscent of the unusual triple copyright in Erdnase....

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 27th, 2010, 9:38 pm

The Google Book version reminded me that not only does Mine Timbering (which was reprinted last year, likely as a print on demand book) have the double copyright (USA and Britain) but the editorial preface references Canadian publications so the editor (Sanders) would certainly have known the proper Canadian copyright information reflected in Erdnase.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 27th, 2010, 10:25 pm

Actually, if you discount the differences in vocabulary in a Mining text and in EATCT, Mine Timbering might be a good book for a stylistic comparison. Both are instructional texts, written at a high level for readers who are conversant with the subject. Both have sufficient length that a comparison should be useful.

If a computer comparison won't work with these, I don't know what you'd have to use to get a better comparison -- it's not likely that another book on playing cards will turn up that we know was written by W. E. Sanders (or Edwin S. Andrews, or E. S. Andrews, or M. F. Andrews, or Edward de Vere . . . )

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » February 27th, 2010, 11:49 pm

For fun, I quickly ran rough copies of the two text (Mine Timbering and EATCT) through the free Signature Stylometric System ( http://www.philocomp.net/?pageref=human ... =signature ).

I got the Mine Timbering in text format from http://www.archive.org/stream/minetimbe ... g_djvu.txt).

Here is a slideshow of the results: http://s845.photobucket.com/albums/ab11 ... =slideshow

For a more serious analysis, it would need a clean copy of the text from both books.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 28th, 2010, 12:44 am

There is, no doubt, some useful work to be done by computer analysis of Erdnase and various other texts, but it will take some real work.

You need clean texts which have been carefully proofread a stray period can skew sentence length analysis, which is a common tool.

There needs to be a set of control texts works of similar complexity and form against which Erdnase and test texts may be compared.

Erdnase and the various test texts must be broken up into sections and each section compared against the others to see if the texts are internally consistent (if chapter 1 and 2 of Erdnase are different from each other, then the fact that either of them is different from a third test text doesn't prove much).

Remember also that while Sanders was an editor of _Mine Timbering_, much of it was written by others (I think he only wrote one chapter).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 28th, 2010, 10:08 am

Sanders was well-educated both frin home tutoring, Phillips Exeter Prep School, and Columbia School of Mines. He was an experiened writer who had kept a personal journal from a young age in addition to later writing that he did both for business and pleasure.

The Mine Timbering material is dry and impersonal engineering where Erdnase is writing in a personal style - "an unlicked cub with a fat bankroll..."

It is also possible (and likely) that Expert was written over a period of time with things written as time and interest permitted. His mood at the time may be reflected in what he wrote.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Geno Munari » February 28th, 2010, 6:30 pm

I found this information, which may be tongue and cheek, however interesting.

Bruce Elliott wrote in The Phoenix, Oct. 11, 1946.
There are wild and to date unconfirmed rumors that Audley Walsh and John Scarne have found Erdnases widow and bought the original holograph of the mans chef d ourve. Quite a hunk of magicana

This was before December 10, 1946: Martin Gardner writes Marshall D. Smith, H. C. Evans & Co., and the Canadian Office of the Minister of Agriculture regarding Erdnase.
December 12, 1946: Response from Marshall Smith confirming work on book as artist.
December 13, 1946: Gardner interviews Smith.
(From Richard Hatchs timeline)

I wonder how many others, prior to Martin Gardner, were trying to solve this mystery.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 8th, 2010, 4:37 pm

Earlier I posted that M F Andrews was arrested in 1894 for robbing a cigar store in Hartford CT. I just found out (from an article in the Syracuse Herald) that he was "arrested once when he lived in Holyoke, Mass., for breaking a letter box with a firecracker."

I've written to the Records division there to see if they still have anything on him.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 9th, 2010, 6:41 pm

Your Tax Dollars at Work:

Check This Page(about two-thirds of the way down, search the page Ctrl-F for "Erdnase") for a govt Erdnase grant.

I'd sure like to get $15k for Erdnase purposes.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 9th, 2010, 7:09 pm

The grant is to a theatrical company and is to go toward the production of a show on the subject.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » March 10th, 2010, 1:16 am

The production was supposed to have happened two years ago. From the description it will put forward the idea that the "real" Erdnase murdered both Nulda and Milton Andrews and made it look like a murder/suicide.

Perhaps the "real" Erdnase will be given a nice aria to sing as he kills both Nulda and Milton, arranges things to look like a murder/suicide and then vanishes leaving the bodies in a locked room.

It sounds silly.

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Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 12th, 2010, 1:27 pm

Notes on Sprong

John Sprong told Dai Vernon that he found out from Drake that Erdnase's real name was Andrews. Vernon wrote this up in his "Vernon Touch" column in 1970, but didn't say when Sprong told him this. He did say that he pestered Drake for months to get more info, and Richard Hatch points out that Vernon would have had this opportunity when he was in Chicago for the 1933 World's Fair, so the Sprong-Vernon conversation probably happened before 1933.

Vernon (in the same column) says that Sprong's real name was Myers, and he worked for the post office. The 1930 census has a John C Sprong, b. ca. 1866 in Holland, working for the post office and living in Chicago. He was in the 1920 census as well, but at a different address. So maybe he moved from Chicago to Michigan and back to Chicago. Vernon could be wrong about the Myers name he got several other details wrong in this column.

No one named Sprong was found in either the 1920 or 1930 census in Ludington MI.

He received a marriage license to wed Laura Peters on 11/20/1890 in Chicago.

An 1893 registry of govt employees states that Sprong was born in Germany, not Holland.

Sprong died in Cook County 17 Apr 1939. His obit (Chi Trib, 4/18/1939 p10) did not list any children surviving him.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby David Ben » March 12th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Vernon was in Chicago in 1919, and in 1922. He knew Sprong from those early days, so as early as 1919.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 12th, 2010, 1:44 pm

Busby/Gardner/Whaley state in the annotated bibliography in "The Man Who Was Erdnase" that Gardner's Jan 1958 True Magazine article "The Murdering Cardshark" is the first English language mention in print that M F Andrews is Erdnase (I believe they mention a French periodical as the first mention anywhere).

In the Oakland Tribune for 9/5/1956 p E 29 in a column called "The Daily Knave" (probably written by Fred Braue), it says:
"S. W. Erdnase was for half a century a name to conjure with. Since the 1902 publication of The Expert at the Card Table dozens of persons have attempted to penetrate the pseudonym which cloaked the identity of the author of this famous book which outlined the methods of professional gamblers. It was not difficult to conclude that his name was Andrewsbut what was the given name? Who was he? For 50 years Erdnase' Chicago publisher was plagued with inquiries, but always professed that his records failed to reveal the author's true identity. . . . Now, after half a century, it is claimed that Erdnase' identity has been learned. His name is said to have been Milton C. Andrews, and he is thought to be buried in San Mateo County. Paradoxically, the disclosure has been made not through the efforts of his compatriots, the gamblers, but by two sleight-of-hand experts, Martin Gardner and Jay Marshallto whom, cheating at cards is absolutely unthinkable."
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Bill Mullins » March 16th, 2010, 7:05 pm

Google Books has Vol 8 of "The Caledonian". In the Jun 1908 issue, on p 115, is an account of the banquet of the Canadian Club of New York, held at the Hotel Astor on May 14. Among the attendees (p. 117) is S. W. Erdnose.

I and others have searched high and low for evidence of anyone, anywhere, whose real name was/is Erdnase. It doesn't exist. To find, only six years later, a name which sounds equally contrived but only one letter off seems somehow significant.

(And this is the only place I've found the name -- it isn't elsewhere in census records, newspaper archives, Google books, etc. It may be a dead end, research wise.)


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