ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 3rd, 2012, 11:38 am

When Richard sent me a copy of the photo a couple of years ago, he estimated its date as 1907 or so. A person can change a lot in five years.

Also, if a man travels a bunch, then surely he would be happy to be home in the bosom of his family.

And even really morose, dry, cynical, negative people can put on a smile for the few seconds it takes to make a photograph.

I guess I'm saying that I don't interpret the (apparently) pleasant demeanors of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews as being evidence that Andrews was not Erdnase. (nor do I find it to be evidence that he was Erdnase -- the photo is mute on the issue, and serves only to show what the Andrews family looked like)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 3rd, 2012, 11:59 am

The only information I draw from the photo concerning the identity issue is that it seems to support his candidacy weakly on the height issue, based on the recollection of the artist, M. D. Smith. The photo shows him to be about the same height as his wife and slightly shorter than his two teenage kids, supporting the idea that he was not tall (relatively speaking!). Other than that, I have a hard time drawing any conclusions from it on the candidacy issue. (At one point I tried to estimate his height by measuring it against the width of the bricks - if that's what they are, assumed to be a standard size, on the structure behind them. I came up with a height of 5'6", exactly the height recalled by Smith. I give this no weight whatsoever. But it was fun!)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 3rd, 2012, 1:05 pm

I believe most folks are capable of some serious chameleon-like behavior....be it good, or bad :)

It seems almost any newspaper story with a personal bent speaks to the ability of pretty much anybody to morph (if even temporarily) into something that leaves even people who know them well saying "I'd have never believed he/she was capable of something like that".

There are so many examples of pictures of people looking peaceful and happy, those pictures usually having been published after that person has done something quite unappealing.

That said, I'm not sure pictures are a good measuring tool as to what a person might be capable of.
I recall seeing the Sanders picture for the first time, and having it send a few shivers up my spine...thinking that I may be looking at Erdnase. In the end though, the evidence itself (despite my "feelings" towards the picture) seemed less than compelling.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby SwanJr » August 4th, 2012, 10:44 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:
magicam wrote:
Hi Clay, I fully agree that if McKinney did indeed have a large inventory of The Expert on hand when they declared bankruptcy, that could have been one source of the half price copies. The newspaper notices announcing their pending bankruptcy mention a law firm that had an inventory list of their assets. Wish someone in Chicago could track that list down!



All right, Richard, I'll run down to the Chicago Historical Society and see if this law firm's records are still extant and accessible. Long shot I bet!

Hurt McDermott

Tom Sawyer
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 5th, 2012, 2:06 am

Hi All,

There are now a large number of facts that have been stated on this thread and elsewhere relating to the S.W. Erdnase authorship controversy. Personally, it would be an exaggeration for me to say that I am "having trouble" keeping them straight -- because I am NOT keeping them straight. Also, I have not seen everything relating to the topic.

But I don't think I have ever seen the name of any law firm in connection with the James McKinney (the apparent printer of the book) bankruptcy. A rather interesting post by BIll Mullins in early 2008 quotes from a 1903 item that mentions The Equitable Trust Company as "Receiver in Bankruptcy for the Estate of James McKinney."

That company was also mentioned by Richard Hatch in his article "Reading Erdnase Backwards."

However, another highly germane post on this thread, by Richard Lane, is this one: Richard Lane post.

I gather that Richard Lane has posted many times on the Genii Forum, but I didn't see any Erdnase posts from him after the one mentioned.

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » August 5th, 2012, 9:18 am

Tom Sawyer wrote:There are now a large number of facts that have been stated on this thread and elsewhere relating to the S.W. Erdnase authorship controversy. Personally, it would be an exaggeration for me to say that I am "having trouble" keeping them straight -- because I am NOT keeping them straight.

Is there any free software out there (possibly used by detectives) for keeping track of facts, theories, etc. and help with analyzing their relationships?

I'd help set it up if it was something that could be used on a server.

You could use MagicPedia to start collecting some of data http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Erdnase , but that probably isn't the ideal software for debating theories and analyzing relationships.
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 5th, 2012, 11:24 am

Perhaps Mind Mapping tools? like FreeMind?

I've never used this software, or the technique, although I seem to recall Roberto Giobbi using in his Dai Vernon notes.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » August 5th, 2012, 11:30 am

I had integrated a mindmapping tool into MagicPedia, which will automatically mindmap the information on the page and links to and from the page. To see the Erdnase MindMap: http://geniimagazine.com/mindmap/index. ... ic=erdnase

Not sure how helpful it is or not.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 5th, 2012, 4:10 pm

Tom Sawyer wrote:But I don't think I have ever seen the name of any law firm in connection with the James McKinney (the apparent printer of the book) bankruptcy. A rather interesting post by BIll Mullins in early 2008 quotes from a 1903 item that mentions The Equitable Trust Company as "Receiver in Bankruptcy for the Estate of James McKinney."


My bad, I was working from memory when I said "law firm" and it was indeed the entry found by Bill Mullins that I was thinking of, as they note at the end:

"An inventory of the property of said estate may be seen at the office of the undersigned, No. 152 Monroe street, Chicago, Illinois, and the property is open to inspection at the shop lately occupied by said bankrupt, No. 73 Plymouth Place, Chicago, Illinois.
THE EQUITABLE TRUST COMPANY
Receiver in Bankruptcy of the Estate of James McKinney."

Naturally it would be interesting to learn if their inventory included copies of Erdnase and equally interesting who purchased them.

Alas, it appears Richard Lane searched in vain for those records, but perhaps Hurt McDermott will be more successful in turning something up? Good luck,Hurt, and thanks for looking!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 5th, 2012, 9:35 pm

Bankruptcy records might be found in the records of the receiver; in the records of McKinney's attorney (if he had one); and on file with the relevant court.

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Joe Pecore
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » August 5th, 2012, 9:50 pm

I found the free online tool http://debategraph.org/ which provides a way for "geographically distributed groups to collaborate in thinking through complex issues".

It seems like it might be useful for organizing all the issues and positions found in this thread.

I created a "map" for Erdnase to check out it's capabilities. I made it "public" and it's at http://debategraph.org/who_was_erdnase if anyone else would like to register (for free) and check it out.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 7th, 2012, 4:24 am

Hi All,

I have been thinking a little about some of the things that (in my view) are not known with certainty about The Expert at the Card Table (when one is looking only at the book itself). I know that topic has been explored on this thread, but there could be something new below.

Of course, we do know that the title page of the book says by S.W. Erdnase.

But I don't think anyone really knows (just from the book) what that means. It could refer to someone named S.W. Erdnase (highly unlikely). It could refer to someone named E.S. Andrews (the reversal) or someone whose name is otherwise made up of those letters. Or it could refer to someone else. But if it does refer to any of those people, that does not appear to be demonstrated by the wording of the title page.

But we dont even know (from that title page wording) that one specific person (as opposed to more than one person) wrote the book.

Some people more or less assume that one person wrote it, the basic position being, I suppose, that there is not much proof that more than one person wrote it. And I think that maybe some people look at Occam's Razor and figure that the simplest explanation is that there was one author, maybe somehow based in part on the fact that the title page does not list multiple authors.

And yet . . .

Many of us have seen magic books that say, on the title page, by Professor Romanoff, or which have the name of "Professor Lorento," or which perhaps name other authors, where we know that is not a very good representation of the authorship. In fact, I suspect that some collectors could name many magic books for which the title page is not a very good guide as to who the author was (even apart from ghostwritten books and books written under pen names).

You might say, well, the Romanoff book basically has somewhat-edited Hoffmann material (i.e., material by one author). I think that is so, but I believe that the Lorento book Amateur Amusements has material by more than one author.

By the way, those who are interested can get some idea of how "messy" things sometimes can be regarding magic-book authorship by looking at Charles L. Rulfs's fine article "Origins of Some Conjuring Works," which was originally published in Magicol. I remember when I first saw that article (back in the olden days, when I was an MCA member), and, wow, to me it was like Greek! But it is really a great article.

We also know that the Erdnase book says, Published by the Author, but we dont know exactly what that means. This has been discussed at length elsewhere in this thread, but in the end there are varying sensible opinions.

Those two facts (author and publisher) are actually pretty basic facts to be lacking definite information upon.

I'm not speaking for Jonathan Townsend, but I suspect that it is in part the existence of considerations such as the foregoing that lead him away from the one-author hypothesis.

If one considers that magic classic, Modern Magic, by Professor Hoffmann, the situation is vastly different. There exists a ton of evidence of various types, which confirm Hoffmanns authorship of the book. Hoffmanns contract with Routledge, in Hoffmanns handwriting, exists, or did back when Roland Winder saw it. A letter from Hoffmann to a relative, transmitting a copy of the book and discussing it a little, was in Adrian Smiths collection. Hoffmann discussed his authorship of the book in an article by George Knight in 1896, and Hoffmann himself stated a similar account of his authorship in one of Will Goldstons annuals.

So, if the usual Hoffmann title-page (from, say, Routledge) is at one end of the spectrum, then I suppose that the title page of The Expert at the Card Table is at the other end.

(I could not find my copy of the Lorento book to confirm what I said about it above, but an advertisement for the book almost confirms the "authorship" part of what I said about it.)

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 7th, 2012, 10:31 am

Joe Pecore wrote:I found the free online tool http://debategraph.org/ which provides a way for "geographically distributed groups to collaborate in thinking through complex issues".

It seems like it might be useful for organizing all the issues and positions found in this thread.

I created a "map" for Erdnase to check out it's capabilities. I made it "public" and it's at http://debategraph.org/who_was_erdnase if anyone else would like to register (for free) and check it out.


Thanks, great find. Impressive resource. We now have both rhetorical and graphical tools at our disposal. Graph Theory may offer some useful results to apply along with Aristotle's Logic. Do elegant arguments correspond to elegant graphs? Do specific path lengths and cycles factor in persuasive argumentation? IE does effective argumentation come in recognizable shapes?

Jon

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Evans » August 7th, 2012, 5:29 pm

Interesting, Tom. Things can be made even messier with the 'anagram' of the author's name in order to make the case for multiple authors.

I don't think the following possibility has been discussed previously -

Although most people have traditionally reversed the 'SW ERDNASE' to create 'ES ANDREWS', the name can also be reversed in a slighly different way: by reversing pairs of letters around the central letters 'DNA', making the author(s):

SW ERDNASE --> WS ER and ES

Several names spring to mind immediately!

There are several different ways the pairings can be read in this way and could possibly explain why the plain reversal is a red herring (referencing the reversal of the book's title: 'and Ruse [Andrews] Subterfuge').

Slightly lateral thinking, but food for thought...

Richard

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 7th, 2012, 9:28 pm

Wilbur Sanders, ER, Edwin Sachs.
Who would be ER?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 8th, 2012, 2:07 am

Hi All,

This post is an effort to clarify things a little regarding my discussion of Professor Hoffmann in my most recent post on this thread.

Jonathan Townsend very kindly alerted me to the fact that my post did not mention the other identity issue relating to Professor Hoffmann, namely the fact that "Professor Hoffmann" was a pen name that referred to Angelo Lewis.

That's a great point, especially since the post deals with identity issues.

Thus, in some ways, Professor Hoffmann was not the greatest example for me to use. That is to say, some people might say, "Fine, we know that Professor Hoffmann wrote Modern Magic, but how do we know who Professor Hoffmann was?"

For magicians today, the names of Professor Hoffmann and Angelo John Lewis are nearly synonymous, and the fact that they were the same person is an unshakeable "truth."

But at one time, the mysteries surrounding his real name were pretty profound, for many of his readers, especially in the early days.

Also, I noticed that two of the items of "proof" I mentioned (the handwritten contract and the letter to a relative) would prove that Angelo Lewis wrote the book -- not necessarily that Professor Hoffmann did so, because neither specified his pen name!

But the fact that Angelo Lewis and Professor Hoffmann were the same can be shown conclusively by various other items of evidence.

To me, it has long been almost an axiom that they are the same person. For a long time, I have been interested in Hoffmann's pen name, as part of a wider interest in Angelo Lewis and his works.

One of my theories was that Hoffmann first became comfortable with minimizing the use of his pen name in 1885.

The first edition of Conjurer Dick, which was published in late 1885, carried both his pen name and his real name on the title page. This was shortly after Lewis had won a $500 short-story prize offered by The Youth's Companion. His authorship of the short story ("Better than Victory") was also mentioned on that title page.

I actually think he probably wanted to drop the use of the pen name at that time, but if so, that was a wish that was not fulfilled.

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 8th, 2012, 3:03 am

Well, the recent post by Richard Evans shows that the possibilities of the title page have not been exhausted.

--Tom

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 8th, 2012, 10:01 am

The letter pairing idea offers intriguing possibilities. Is there any reference to nuclein in the erdnease text? In this case, since Johann Friedrich Miescher's discovery of 1871 was not so well known, I'm less than convinced that DNA and base pairing is a decryption key.

One may as well consider the DNA as "and" in reflection and go from there using both two and three letter combinations for initials.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Asser Andersen » August 8th, 2012, 12:31 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:The letter pairing idea offers intriguing possibilities. Is there any reference to nuclein in the erdnease text? In this case, since Johann Friedrich Miescher's discovery of 1871 was not so well known, I'm less than convinced that DNA and base pairing is a decryption key.

One may as well consider the DNA as "and" in reflection and go from there using both two and three letter combinations for initials.


The term DNA was introduced in the 1920's and the concept of base pairing was not known before Watson & Crick published their classical discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, so I think that interpretation of Erdnase is unlikely :)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 8th, 2012, 12:54 pm

Richard Evans wrote:Although most people have traditionally reversed the 'SW ERDNASE' to create 'ES ANDREWS', the name can also be reversed in a slighly different way: by reversing pairs of letters around the central letters 'DNA', making the author(s):

SW ERDNASE --> WS ER and ES



Perhaps I misunderstand (which wouldn't surprise me!), but wouldn't reversing the pairs around the DNA yield WS RE and ES (not WS ER and ES)? Gotta say my "intuition" tells me that such parsing of the title page can yield almost any desired result and is likely to be more distracting than productive.
I think the simple reversal of the pseudonym is unlikely to be a coincidence, so the question becomes, is it a clue (and if so, what does the clue tell us) or is it a "red herring"?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 8th, 2012, 2:02 pm

Hi All,

Still on the subject of the title page, Clay Shevlin, in an earlier post, drew attention to the use of three words with pretty similar meanings ("Artifice," "Ruse," and "Subterfuge").

Even if you place some significance on the "Ruse and" reversal producing "and Ruse" (Andrews), that still would not explain the use of three words, since the title could have been (say) Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table, and the "Ruse and" would be preserved.

In short, I can't remember seeing any purported explanations of the use of those three words.

Also, if I had been putting that title page together, I think I would have placed . . .

ARTIFICE, RUSE,

. . . on the first line. There was a ton of space for that.

And it seems a little unforeseen that there are zero commas in the title shown on the title page.

I know that David Alexander placed importance on the size of type, and certain other features of the title page.

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Evans » August 8th, 2012, 4:14 pm

Thanks for the comments. I'm by no means trying to say that the different way of reversing Erdnase's name is in any way proof of multiple authorship: merely an observation that the 'pseudonym' can be looked at in a slightly different way and that this throws up other possibilities.

There was an error in my previous post about the pairings, hopefully this will set that straight -

Richard Hatch wrote:Perhaps I misunderstand (which wouldn't surprise me!), but wouldn't reversing the pairs around the DNA yield WS RE and ES (not WS ER and ES)? Gotta say my "intuition" tells me that such parsing of the title page can yield almost any desired result and is likely to be more distracting than productive.
I think the simple reversal of the pseudonym is unlikely to be a coincidence, so the question becomes, is it a clue (and if so, what does the clue tell us) or is it a "red herring"?


Thanks, Dick: Completely agree that the simple reversal of the name is by far the most likely solution. And thanks for pointing out my typo.

As with other interpretations of the 'anagram' there different permutations. I just found it interesting that the central letters 'DNA' could be reversed to form 'AND', which led to other possible interpretations. I think there are only two ways of doing this though:

SW ERDNASE = SW ER DNA SE

You could keep the three pairs of 'initials' in the same order and just reverse the 'DNA', making:
SW ER and SE

Or, you could reverse each of the 'sets' of letters, making;
WS RE and ES
(I forgot to reverse the 'ER' in my previous post)

I agree with others that there may be a clue in the difference between the cover title (TEATCT) and the title on the first page (AR&S ATCT) - though this could simply have been a means of partially disguising the book's contents in light of the Comstock Law. The cover title suggests that there is just one 'Expert'.

However, might there also be a case to argue that the use of three synonyms in the registered title alludes to multiple authors - eponymously called 'Artifice', 'Ruse' and 'Subterfuge', and the fact that all three are 'at the Card Table'? Just putting that one out there for consideration!


Richard

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 8th, 2012, 5:29 pm

We are ssuming that S W Erdnase is
1. A pseudonym and
2. An anagram or other combination of letters that reflect the real author(s) names or initials.

If we go from Erdnase to presumed names/initials of author(s), we may come up with something that we can convince ourselves makes sense, and settle on a name. But that is backwards from what the original author did -- he went from his name(s)/initials, and came up with S. W. Erdnase.

Now to me, "S. W. Erdnase" is such a contrived sounding name that you have to have an explanation for why the original author ended up there. For E. S. Andrews, it's easy -- a simple reversal. For Wilbur Edgerton Sanders, Tom Sawyer and David Alexander provide an answer -- "Erdnase" can be read as German for "earth nose", and Sanders was a mining engineer whose job it was to sniff out high-grade ores.

But if you come up with other names or initials that might "work", you have to justify them as well. If you have three magicians (Walter Scott, Richard Evans, and Edwin Sachs) and you surmise that they took their initials and cobbled them into "S. W. Erdnase", it seems to me that you also have to answer the question of why they took that particular annagramatic pseudonym, instead of something that would sound more natural, like "Ward Essen" or "Dan Sewers" or "Ed Warness" or something.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Evans » August 8th, 2012, 5:43 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:But if you come up with other names or initials that might "work", you have to justify them as well. If you have three magicians (Walter Scott, Richard Evans, and Edwin Sachs) and you surmise that they took their initials and cobbled them into "S. W. Erdnase", it seems to me that you also have to answer the question of why they took that particular annagramatic pseudonym, instead of something that would sound more natural, like "Ward Essen" or "Dan Sewers" or "Ed Warness" or something.


Agree, but the reversal as described is a way of preserving the three (hypothetical!) authors' initials in the correct order within the pseudonym. That is the justification in this case.

It comes back to the interesting thought about psudonymous authors somehow half-wanting to conceal their true name while at the same time wishing to recognise it themselves. If Erdnase was ES Andrews, he could equally have buried his identity in a more complex (and plausible?) anagram.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 8th, 2012, 6:15 pm

Aside from those assumptions discussed elsewhere something about ES and REWS simply does not satisfy.
The "expert" being a fourth player at the table with ES, RE and WS appeals though to be fair it also seems too contrived IMHO.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Evans » August 8th, 2012, 6:27 pm

Sorry, to clarify -

I wasn't suggesting the 'Expert' as a fourth author - that would indeed be a step too far from what is already something of a left-field idea! I was simply observing a discrepancy: that the cover title (The Expert) suggests a single author, while the title page (Artifice, Ruse and Subterfuge) could possibly be interpreted as supporting the case for three authors...if you chose to take on the multi-author case as presented.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 9th, 2012, 12:08 am

Some thoughts and questions about the check Erdnase wrote to M.D. Smith in order to pay for the illustrations.

That Erdnase used a (possibly First National) check to pay Smith for the illustrations is known through a first party reference made by Smith in one of his letters to Martin Gardner.
That he may have used other checks from the (possibly) First National to pay for printing and binding is likely, but not confirmed in the same sense as M.D. Smith saying, "he paid me by check".
The use of cancelled checks could have been one of the methods Mr. Erdnase might have used to support his copyright if he were required to.

Personalized checks were first used in the UK in the early 1800's, and were commonplace in the UK and North America in 1902.

My question is, does M.D. Smith take a counter check or a personalized check from Erdnase?

As the check was numbered #1, and if Erdnase knew that checks were a worthy paper trail were he ever required to prove copyright (which he might need to do if he were to sell the rights to the book) it would seem that the check would have had to be personalized.

If it was personalized, what name was it personalized with?

Although M.D. Smith doesn't outright state that the check was personalized (and thus whose name it might have been personalized with), he does strongly imply through a comment made in his letter to Gardner on October 18, 1949 that the check may have very probably been a key piece of evidence when he says "I should have framed that check".

Why does Smith believe the check to be such a strong piece of evidence? What exactly is written or printed on it that he might think would be of great assistance to Gardner?
It's 1949, can M.D. Smith be thinking of handwriting analysis in the sense we think of it today? (something that check could prove invaluable for in 2012, if not to prove who Erdnase was, but who he wasn't :) )

If it's assumed that the check wasn't a counter check, but was in fact personalized, was it personalized with S.W. Erdnase, or with something else? (Smith doesn't comment directly on this question, but once again he strongly implies "something" is important about the check through his statement re: framing the check).

Banking in 1902 would be entirely a "hand done" affair. I wonder what the identification required might be to open a checking account in 1902?

If there were no ID requirement, and one was simply taken at their word, with their word supported through an initial cash deposit......then Erdnase would have simply have said "I'm S.W. Erdnase" and deposited some cash. One might posit that he would have to supply something beyond S.W. though, perhaps indicating to the teller one or both of the names those initials stood for.........is this (the given names) what M.D. Smith thought might be of such great value?

But......if there actually were any form of I.D. required to open a checking account in 1902, it would imply that Mr. Erdnase would have had to engaged in the creation of some sort of fraudulent identification, either having made it himself, or having it made for him.

It would seem near impossible that the check was drawn on an account of the authors actual name, with that name personalized on the check........although once again, M.D. Smith doesn't state anywhere (that I can find) exactly what was on the check aside from the reference to it being #1 of a series......and he did feel that something on the check would have made it worth framing, and would have (as he implied in his letter to Gardner) perhaps been the key to Gardners search.

A by-product of this search vector might be a discovery as to what degree Mr. Erdnase went about Chicago as "Mr. Erdnase". There is the distinct possibility that he was only "Mr. Erdnase" for an hour or so in grand total.......throughout the entire process. He'd only need the masquerade for a bit of banking, a bit of drawing, checking into a hotel room, and perhaps a bit of printing and binding.

But there is also the possibility that he was "Mr. Erdnase" on a fairly fulltime basis, writing checks as Mr. Erdnase, and becoming known to various and sundry folks (like the H.C. Evans clan) as S.W. Erdnase.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 10th, 2012, 1:32 am

Hi All,

On the subject of the title page . . .

I have the impression that a number of people have assumed that S.W. Erdnase himself wrote the wording of the title page of the first edition. However, I do not recollect ever having read any of the reasons why anyone believed that to be true. Maybe reasons have been set forth -- but I don't remember seeing any.

To me, an analysis of the title page that seems to give forth clues as to authorship might be considered (by some people) to be incomplete without some proof that Erdnase wrote the title page -- or without some indication of why the "authorship" of the title page doesn't matter.

This always vaguely bothered me. If someone found something unequivocal and undeniable about the title page, like some hidden code that explained some things in detail, that would be one thing. But for the most part, I would have been more comfortable if I had established a solid premise that Erdnase was responsible for the title page wording -- other than, "He wrote the book, so, hey, he wrote the title page."

After a little research, I came up with a few things which to me make it fairly likely that Erdnase was at least largely responsible for the wording of the title page. Numbers below in parentheses are page numbers. Again, the following may be old news to many.

1. All three of the main synonyms (or semi-synonyms) -- the first three words of the title, namely "artifice," "ruse," and "subterfuge" -- are mentioned in the text.

2. The phrase "card table" is used in the text.

3. The word "calendar" is used in the text: "single card feat in the whole calendar" (122) and "every slight in the calendar" (127).

4. The word "expedient" is used at least twice (96 and 116).

5. The word "manoeuvre" is used at least once (137).

6. The word "stratagem" (correctly spelled) is used at least once (167).

7. The phrase "card handler" is used several times in the book.

Some may say, "Wow, Tom, that's pretty flimsy proof."

And maybe it is.

I think the most compelling item is number 3, relating to the use of the word "calendar."

--Tom Sawyer

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magicam
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » August 10th, 2012, 2:16 pm

^^^ Thoughtful post, Tom! Thank you.

I have the impression that a number of people have assumed that S.W. Erdnase himself wrote the wording of the title page of the first edition. However, I do not recollect ever having read any of the reasons why anyone believed that to be true. Maybe reasons have been set forth -- but I don't remember seeing any.

To me, an analysis of the title page that seems to give forth clues as to authorship might be considered (by some people) to be incomplete without some proof that Erdnase wrote the title page -- or without some indication of why the "authorship" of the title page doesn't matter.

This always vaguely bothered me. If someone found something unequivocal and undeniable about the title page, like some hidden code that explained some things in detail, that would be one thing. But for the most part, I would have been more comfortable if I had established a solid premise that Erdnase was responsible for the title page wording -- other than, "He wrote the book, so, hey, he wrote the title page."


Spot-on.

From a rather run-of-the-mill Published by the Author statement on the title page, a whole host of (as yet) unproven assumptions have been made, e.g., that the author designed the title page and selected its wording, and that the author had something to do with the actual sales of the book, either retail or wholesale.

That said, IMHO Toms points are worthy considerations for the premise that the author did have something to do with at least the wording of the full title.

In the spirit of spit-balling

Does anyone know much about McKinney? What other books did he print? What did those books look like? How were they designed and composed? What if we discovered that some of McKinneys work was very similar in look and feel to The Expert?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 10th, 2012, 3:05 pm

I think Tom has squeezed the title page text about as hard as it can be, and his analysis seems sound to me.

A couple of other notes: "Slight" for "sleight" appears on the title page text, and also in the body of the book (on pp. 125, 127 (5 times), 128 (3x), 137, 149 and 177. However, the body also uses "sleight" on pp. 8, 12, 24, 60, 82, 152, 153, 169, 171 (3x), 172, 175, 185, 191 (2x), 194, 197, 200, 202, 204

Using the Google Books N-Gram viewer, "slight of hand" was just as common as "sleight of hand" in the first part of the 19th century, and then "sleight of hand" started to dominate at 1820 or so; by 1902, "sleight of hand" looks to be about ten times as common as "slight of hand".

(Note that the CARC "bible edition" page numbers don't always correspond to the original page numbers, and that they "corrected" the "slight" on original pp. 125, 127, 128 137 to "sleight" on bible pp. 127 129 130 140 )

Is it of significance that all uses in the body of the book that use "slight" are in the legerdemain/card tricks sections? The uses in the card table artifice sections all are of the conventional spelling "sleight". The body of the book uses the word "magician" twice, both times in the magic sections, while "conjurer" appears in both the magic and gambling sections. Others have surmised that the two sections were written by different people, but I'm not aware of any other quantitative analyses.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 10th, 2012, 4:01 pm

magicam wrote: Does anyone know much about McKinney? What other books did he print? What did those books look like? How were they designed and composed? What if we discovered that some of McKinneys work was very similar in look and feel to The Expert?


How would one identify other McKinney printed books?. And remember, we are only assuming that McKinney printed Expert (from his name on the copyright application, from Adrian Plate's notation that a copy had been sold by McKinney, and from the connection between Galloway, who owned a copy, and McKinney, for whom he worked).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 10th, 2012, 8:01 pm

magicam wrote:Does anyone know much about McKinney? What other books did he print? What did those books look like? How were they designed and composed? What if we discovered that some of McKinneys work was very similar in look and feel to The Expert?


I've done a fair amount of research on McKinney (and his company), including tracking down and speaking to one of his grandsons. I also own a copy of another book he printed, Moon Children by Laura Dayton Fessende. It is an illustrated children's book, published in Chicago in 1902 by Jamieson Higgins Co. It bears no resemblance to Erdnase that I can see: different size (much larger), different paper (much thicker), full color illustrated pages. Opposite the title page in green ink is printed: "Press of James McKinney & Co., 73-75 Plymouth Place, Chicago." That book is not too hard to obtain. I believe there are other books he printed and similarly noted, but this is the one that comes up first in search engines. I believe someone here on the forum was first to point this out to me (Richard Lane or Richard Evans, perhaps?)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 10th, 2012, 9:20 pm

_The Printing Trade News_ Dec 12, 1911 p 31
"Since James McKinney died the business of McKinney & Co., 618 Sherman street, Chicago, has been carried on by the widow. This adds another to the list of ladies who manage printing establishments."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 10th, 2012, 11:26 pm

Hi All,

The "Press of James McKinney & Co., Chicago" also printed Fuzzy Four-Footed Folks, by Ada May Krecker (Chicago, Jamieson-Higgins Co.).

It is viewable on the Hathi Trust Digital Library website.

The front cover is very different from that of The Expert at the Card Table.

The title page is somewhat similar to certain title-page designs of Drake books that use rectangles -- not saying that is necessarily important, just saying it is so.

Also, here is a link to a Yale University Library catalog entry for Old Mother Hubbard, printed by McKinney. The listing shows Chicago Book Binding Co. as the binder (not McKinney).

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 11th, 2012, 2:05 am

Here's a listing for the OLD MOTHER HUBBARD book printed by McKinney for sale from a German vendor:
http://www.en.zvab.com/displayBookDetai ... 222&ref=bf
The cover and taped spine binding appear quite similar to that on the copy of Moon Children that I have. Jamieson-Higgins also published YANKEE MOTHER GOOSE by Benjamin F. Cobb in 1902. This same author in 1902 had a book published in Chicago that was illustrated by Marshall D. Smith. If (as seems likely) YANKEE MOTHER GOOSE was printed by McKinney, perhaps the Cobb-McKinney-Smith connection might yield useful information if it can be developed. Gardner-Whaley-Busby speculated that author had likely been put in touch with the illustrator by the printer.
According to a 1903 entry in Bookseller, volume 8, which may be found on Google books, Jamieson-Higgins introduced a number of juveniles in 1902 and failed that same season (perhaps contributing to the bankruptcy of McKinney?). Their line of copyrighted juveniles was taken over by Hurst & Co., perhaps not coincidentally the publishers of B. F. Cobb's books illustrated by Marshall D. Smith...

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 11th, 2012, 1:52 pm

Richard Hatch:

That is a great post immediately above this one -- regarding Old Mother Hubbard, Yankee Mother Goose, Jamieson-Higgins, Benjamin F. Cobb, and M.D. Smith.

I found the following, from The Bookseller, Volume 8, which you mention, quite fascinating. It is from the January 1903 issue:

FAILURE OF JAMIESON-HIGGINS COMPANY.

The Jamieson-Higgins Company incorporated, of this city, was placed in the hands of George W. Stanford as receiver by Judge Kohlsaat on December 23. The house was organized in 1900 by Charles Higgins and Samuel W. Jamieson, and had of late made a specialty of new juvenile books with colored pictures. Indications have pointed to this failure for some months back, but it was hoped that the holiday sales would enable the company to tide over the danger.

The house was tangled up with the printing business of James Kinney, which is also in the hands of a receiver. Mr. Kinney is said to be a heavy stockholder in the publishing business. Liabilities are placed at about $40,000, with assets nominally valued at $30,000. The books show to be due by the company in open accounts $4,231.27, notes $31.791.60. Books sold on consignment all over the country, with a small stock on hand, plates and copyrights comprise the principal assets.


There may be a few implications there as to the types of things that McKinney's had available, or didn't have available, at the time of the McKinney bankruptcy. Of course, Jamieson-Higgins was a publisher, and McKinney a printer.

Maybe it is too obvious to mention, but it is my assumption that "James Kinney" is "our" James McKinney. (If he is not, that would certainly be an unforeseen wrinkle.)

If McKinney was a creditor of Jamieson-Higgins, the latter's financial condition probably didn't help McKinney. If, as hinted in the article, McKinney was a "heavy stockholder" in Jamieson-Higgins, and since Jamieson-Higgins was stated to be "tangled up with the printing business of James Kinney," I find it hard to speculate upon the impact each business had upon the other!

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 11th, 2012, 4:12 pm

I concur that "James Kinney" found by Tom Sawyer is in fact "James McKinney", the printer.

The next statement in the passage quoted by Tom is
The receiver has advertised for bids for the whole or any part of the assets, to be received up to January 19.


This would have been Jan 19, 1903; it was Jan 30 of 1903 when James McKinney's bankruptcy was announced in the Chicago Tribune.

Looks possible that the bankruptcy of Jamieson-Higgins dominoed into the bankruptcy of McKinney.

From _Publisher's Weekly_ Mar 28 1903, p 908
The assets of the Jamieson-Higgins Company were sold on the 10th inst., the Western News Company buying most of the books and plates.


Other contemporary articles and ads indicate that Hurst & Co. of New York bought the plates of JH. Hurst may be a subdivision or imprint of Western News.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » August 11th, 2012, 9:49 pm

Hi All,

Here are a few follow-up comments on McKinney.

I have long thought -- and I am not the only one -- that an intense investigation of James McKinney, including those whom he worked for, and those who worked for him, and of people who worked near him (for example, other printers), might yield significant results. I think Jonathan Townsend has suggested basically the same thing, but for some reason the idea does not seem to have gained much footing (as far as I know).

Even if everything relating to McKinney's own records has disappeared, one might think that something findable and useful relating to other businesses in the area might exist -- such as records of the binder of the book (if the binder was not McKinney). But interestingly, it does not appear to be generally known whether McKinney bound the book, or whether printers in that place and time normally had binding capabilities!

Of course, all this kind of assumes James McKinney & Co. printed the book, which, as Bill Mullins points out, is not known for certain -- although I suppose the company must have had some relationship to the book.

The following is a greatly shortened (and maybe a little edited) extract from a post I made on my old blog on S.W. Erdnase (now not viewable):

Although a lot of evidence is now gone, there must be many records public records, newspapers, and periodicals, for example that now are in essence permanent. Even if the results might do nothing whatsoever to advance the Erdnase-identity investigation, at least some interesting information relating to the era and vicinity could probably be found.

For example, I see on the website of the University of Notre Dame Archives that the university is in possession of an archive of Notre Dame Presidents Letters, 1856-1906. One of the letters has as an attachment, apparently from 1895 a letter from James McKinney, The Gothic Printing House. So that might be a means of determining James McKinneys handwriting, or possibly at least his signature, for comparison to the writing on the Erdnase copyright application.

Advertisements exist from that era, showing James McKinney as Agent for The Gothic Printing House, or referring to The Gothic Printing House of James McKinney.

Then there is the situation regarding 73 Plymouth Place and its environs during the period in which The Expert at the Card Table was produced.

A significant point at the moment is that there were a lot of printers in the area, and it is possible that Erdnase had some reasons for choosing McKinney that no one has hypothesized about.


I'm not sure whether anyone has ever discussed the issue of why Erdnase would have chosen McKinney. It is not as though McKinney was a small "mom and pop" operation -- I gather it was nothing like that.

Bill Mullins pointed out elsewhere in this thread that the building at 73-75 Plymouth Place was 80 feet tall. On my old Erdnase blog, I mentioned that it had a frontage of 50 feet and a depth of 100 feet -- according to an 1895 Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics report. (Yes, I don't think McKinney was the only tenant there. But it was not a small building.)

A Miehle advertisement in The American Printer, April 30, 1901, seems to show that McKinney had three Miehle printing presses at about that time.

--Tom Sawyer

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 12th, 2012, 12:58 am

I believe I have pointed this out elsewhere, but the nearest neighbor to the future train agent E. S. Andrews when he was born in Eliota, Minnesota was an Irish immigrant farmer named James McKinney who had a son named Patrick. These are not the same James and Patrick McKinney of the printing company, whose father was an Irish immigrant, but McKinney is not a common name and there may be a family connection there, which might explain why this printer was chosen, if the train agent was Erdnase. I suspect this is merely a coincidence. But perhaps not...
(PS: working from memory here and may not have all the name details correct.)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 12th, 2012, 9:30 am

My memory on the McKinney/Andrews connection was a bit off, here are the details:
In the 1865 Minnesota census (when future train agent, E. S Andrews, was just 6 years old), their nearest neighbor is listed as an Irish immigrant farmer named Patrick (not James) McKinney. The printer James McKinney had a brother named Patrick who worked for him, but the brothers James and Patrick were the son's of an Irish immigrant laborer named Thomas. I have not established a relationship between Thomas McKinney in Illinois and Patrick McKinney in Minnesota and my gut tells me this is a coincidence, but one worth exploring if this E. S. Andrews is believed to be Erdnase, since it might "explain" why McKinney the printer got the job. (I vaguely recall - and I could well be wrong - that the farmer had a son named James...)


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