Monday, July 21, 2014

A French Discovery

You may have heard a loud "whoop" from France in the past few weeks. No, it did not relate to the Coupe du Monde, nor to La Fête nationale (Bastille Day), but to a book. I received an email a month ago from my e-pal Philippe Bodard. We have never met, but have corresponded about whist books for several years. Philippe is the author of L'esprit du Whist and maintains the web site L'esprit du Bridge et du Whist.

To appreciate the discovery, let me share some background. The earliest known translation of Hoyle was thought to be a Portuguese edition dated 1753, a book I wrote about here. A German translation of 1754 was thought to be second. The first translation into French was thought to be 1761. Well, you can see where this essay is heading.

1751 French Translation
Philippe wrote to say that he had just acquired a 1751 French translation of Hoyle printed in Brussels, two years earlier than the Portuguese and ten years earlier than the first know translation into French! Thierry Depaulis (read about his work in the essay "Where can I learn more about Hoyle's writing?), Philippe and I were involved in a flurry of emails and we managed to learn much about the book. They did most of the hard work--here I am recording their results.

There is a great deal of interest:

(1) Nowhere does the book mention Hoyle, although the title page notes that it is translated from English.

(2) The translation was commissioned by the generosity "d’un seigneur des plus distingués de ce pays," a  most distinguished lord of Belgium, someone who will be difficult to identify.

(3) The translator is P. B. M. Malebranche. Thierry has done a great deal of biographical research and identified the translator as Pierre Baltasar Maximilien Malebranche. He was born in 1695, traveled to England in the 1720s attending Oxford and Cambridge and settled in Brussels around 1730. He published a number of books and died in in Liège in 1789 at the age of 94.

24 laws of whist
(4) The translation was made from the fourth London edition of Whist. There are a number of clues, but the easiest to note is the 24 laws of whist, as I describe in the essay "Changes in the Text of Whist." Interestingly, Malebranche did not use the more recent sixth edition of 1745, nor the "eighth" edition of 1748.

Error corrected in 4th edition
(Levy copy)
(5) There is an error in the fourth edition. On page 51 the printed text in section reads “Suppose A and B Partners, and that A has a quint-major in clubs…”  The 3rd and 5th editions both correctly say “quart-major.” The error is corrected in pencil in most copies of the 4th edition I have seen, likely by the bookseller. Malebranche gets this right, suggesting that he translated from a corrected copy.

(6) Thierry has looked at all of the early French translations of Hoyle's Whist and concluded that there are five completely independent translations of the book (plus another two that are closely related to one of them). I find that curious.

Rules of Whist
(7) The most fascinating item to me is the translator's preface, which gives rules for playing whist. In two essays on the nature of gaming literature (here and here), I distinguish rules from strategy. Rules are what allows you to play legally; strategy to play well. I noted that Hoyle never wrote about the rules of whist. Indeed the earliest one can find the rules of whist in English is the 1775 edition of Hoyle's Games Improved edited by James Beaufort. Malebranche's rules of whist are twenty four years earlier and appear to be the earliest rules ever published!

Philippe has found a rare and interesting gem. I find it astonishing that it has not previously been noted in any library catalogue or in any research on gaming literature. Much thanks to Philippe for the photographs and to Philippe and Thierry for their research. From their many emails, I sense a note of pride that Hoyle's translation into French is now known to predate the Portuguese and German translations!





Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Epitome of Hoyle, a Discovery, and two Coincidences

A quick note: It's the third anniversary of Edmond, Hoyle, Gent!

There is one 18th century Hoyle I have not yet covered in these essays. The title begins An Epitome of Hoyle with Beaufort and Jones's Hoyle Improved." The author is "a Member of the Jockey Club" and it was printed in London for C. Etherington, at the Circulating Library, No. 137, Fleet-Street. The book is undated, but ESTC shows Etherington publishing books at that address from 1781-2, giving an approximate date.

It is an 88 page summary of Hoyle, as improved by editors James Beaufort (discussed in the essay "Hoyle in the Public Domain") and Charles Jones (much discussed). The selling point of the book is noted in the introductory note "to the reader":
But the chief complaint that has ever been been made against Hoyle, is, that he is too prolix and perplexed; and that his book is of such a size, that it cannot be inserted in a common pocket book. It was to obviate this principal objection to Hoyle's Games, that the present production was compiled...
1791 Epitome


Epitome covers all the games covered by Hoyle and his early editors: hazard, backgammon, tennis, billiards, cricket, chess, draughts, whist, quadrille, piquet, lansquenet, and quinze, and adds one new game, E-O. The book was reprinted in Dublin in 1791 and is available from Google Books.



And now the recent discovery. I was vaguely aware of a 1785 work called Every Man a Good Card Player, but had never seen a copy. The book is not listed in any of the usual gaming bibliographies, but I was struck by the fact that the author is listed as "a Member of the Jockey Club." It was printed at the Logographic Press, for J. Wallis. The book was issued in a slip case as you can see on the Cornell University web site. Do click through and scroll to the second item--it's a lovely book!

I was able to purchase a digital copy of the book at modest cost from another holding library, the Huntington, and was delighted to discover that book is a line-for-line reprint of the card games only from An Epitome of Hoyle! The ESTC record has been updated to reflect this information and to connect the work with Hoyle.

Pigott's New Hoyle
Two things strike me about these books. First, is there a connection between them and Pigott's Hoyles, discussed here? The reason I ask is that Pigott was a member of the Jockey Club, wrote books satirizing the Club called The Jockey Club and The Female Jockey Club, and his edition of Hoyle contains laws approved by a number of London clubs including The Jockey Club. Could Pigott have been responsible for Epitome too?

Consider this snippet from the introduction to Pigott's Hoyle:
Though Mr. Hoyle's treatises are invariably recurred to for information, it will be readily admitted they are too prolix, and oftener perplex than inform.
The language ("prolix" and "perplex") and meaning echo the preface to Epitome. The texts of Epitome and Pigott's Hoyle are otherwise similar only when they quote from Hoyle. Certainly the Jockey Club provides a connection. Is there more?

The second point of interest is the slip case and the publisher Wallis. In one of my first essays here, "Late Hoyles, Early Slipcases," I note that an 1802 edition of The New Pocket Hoyle is one of the earliest books to be published in a slip case. Here we have an example 17 years earlier! And the connection? I didn't give the full imprint of the New Pocket Hoyle in the earlier essay. It is "printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, for Wynne and Scholey, 45; and J. Wallis, 46, Paternoster Row. 1802."

So Wallis was involved in two pocket-sized Hoyles, 17 years apart, among the earliest books ever to be issued in slip cases. Wallis was a map-maker and frequently issued folded maps (see examples here and here) and board games in slip cases. Here we see him using a similar presentation for pocket books.

Now we can add Every Man a Good Card Player to the Hoyle canon and note that it is an excerpt from Epitome. I'm not sure we can connect the work with Charles Pigott--the rest of the text does not match terribly well despite some teases in the introduction.

Nor am I sure what to make of Wallis on the imprint of Card Player. How did he get the rights from Etherington? Is there any connection between Card Player and his later publication of The New Pocket Hoyle? Is he responsible for introducing slip cases to gaming manuals?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Yorkshire Hoyles and the Doctrine of Chances

There are suggestions that Edmond Hoyle was one of the Yorkshire Hoyles. Here is a typical claim:
In "Yorkshire Genealogist" for October, 1887, P. 190, you give some notes on the Hoyle family, in which mention is made of an Elkanah Hoyle, of Upper Swift Place, Upper Hoyle Head, &c., near Halifax. I am very anxious to discover the parentage of this gentleman, and hope that some of your readers will kindly assist me.
I have no authority for the statement, but have reason to believe that he was the son of John Hoyle de Lowershawe, in Soyland, 1617-1769, and Susannah Garside de Barkisland; and that he was a brother of the Edomnd Hoyle who wrote the "Treatise on Whist." (Percy Savile Hoyle, "Hoyle", The Yorkshire Genealogist, 1890, p40).


The author provides an illustration of the Hoyle family coat of arms, reproduced at right. Heraldry sources indicate the Hoyle family motto was ""facta non verba" (Latin for "deeds, not words").




I have never believed the claim. The citation I find more persuasive is:
Yorkshire has been called the county of [Edmond Hoyle's] birth, but the present representative of the Yorkshire Hoyles, who acquired (temp. Edward III.) estates near Halifax, Mr. Fretwell Hoyle, has taken great pains of his genealogy, and has come to the conclusion that the Edmond Hoyle of whist celebrity was not in any way connected with his family. (Julian Marshall, "Books on Gaming" in Notes and Queries, 7th Ser. VII. June 22, 1889, p481)
Marshall goes on to note:
It is strange that no portrait of Hoyle should be known to exist. A picture, said to be his portrait, by Hogarth, was exhibited at the Crystal Palace some years ago (1870); but Mr. F. Hoyle, mentioned before, recognized this as a likeness of an ancestor of his own, one Edmond Hoyle, it is true, but not the Edmon Hoyle of whist. (p482) 
On the other hand, a recent acquisition suggests a connection between the Yorkshire Hoyles and the father of whist. The acquisition is an exceptionally rare copy of Hoyle's An Essay Towards Making the Doctrine of Chances Easy to Those who Understand Vulgar Arithmetic Only, a book I wrote about here. Jolliffe published the first edition in 1754 and Osborne reissued it with a cancel title in 1760. The most common version is a second edition of 1764. I noted that only one copy of the reissue survived at the Bodleian Library. I just acquired a second at auction.

1760 Chances

What is curious about the my copy is the inscription on the title page. Not the autograph signatures of author Edmond Hoyle and publisher Thomas Osborne which are always present in Hoyles from this time, but the ownership inscription at the top, "W. Hoyle." There were many William Hoyles in Yorkshire and I cannot say who's signature appears here.




Even more curious is the bookplate on the inside cover with a heraldic image, the Yorkshire Hoyle family motto "facta non verba" and the surname Hoyle below. The bookplate reproduces the Hoyle family coat of arms.



I'm no genealogist but poking around a number of web sites and family trees from the 17th and 18th century, I'm finding no connection between our Edmond and the Yorkshire Hoyles. But the records are by no means complete.

So, connection or coincidence? I can't say. I like to think that Percy Savile Hoyle found this book in a family library and concluded that Edmond must be a relative.

One curiosity about the text. The title page is a cancel, changing a 1754 book sold by John Jolliffe to an undated book (but one first advertised in 1760) sold by Osborne, Crowder, and Baldwin. The curiosity is on the verso of the title page, where we find an erratum correcting an error elsewhere in the text.

erratum
error
There are three ways to correct such an error. First, the erroneous sheet could have been cancelled. Second, the correction could have been made in pen. Finally, since Osborne was having a new title page printed in any case, adding the erratum to the verso is the least expensive solution. I find it odd that the erratum was printed more than six years after the error it corrects!

Now, if anyone can tell me any more about the genealogy of the Hoyle family...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Advertisements

It's been a four month hiatus. I continue to make excellent progress on longer projects, but don't want to neglect this blog entirely. I have been trolling through 18th century newspaper advertisements and wanted to present two brief findings that I found exciting.

An unrecorded Scottish Hoyle?

The Scottish Hoyle
In the essay "The Scottish Hoyles (part I)," I discuss the undated edition of Hoyle's Games printed by Mundell and Son in Edinburgh, pictured at left. It is the only recorded edition of Hoyle to be published in Edinburgh during Hoyle's lifetime. Textually, it has all the updates from the twelfth edition (1760), but not from the thirteenth (1763), which would seem to bracket the publication date.


I conclude the essay by saying:
As to the dating, I...would like to find contemporary advertisements in Edinburgh newspapers. As of yet, I have not, but I am persistent...
Well, sometimes persistence pays off. Or not. Please help me decide. I did find a contemporary advertisement for an Edinburgh publication of Hoyle, but the advertisement raises more questions than it answers:

Caledonian Mercury of June 20, 1767
(click to enlarge)

Three things are strange. First is the date, 1767, rather later than I expected for the Mundell printing. Second, the title of the book is Hoyle on Whist, not the expected Hoyle's Games. Finally, the price is given as 6d. while the title page for the Mundell printing is 3s. What is going on?

I tried to identify the other advertised books to get a sense of how accurate the descriptions were:
  • There is a 7 volume 1767 London edition of Voyages, Discoveries, and Travels. ESTC T113577.
  • Barrow's 10 volume History of England seems to be dated 1763 rather than 1764. ESTC T174499.
  • Various editions of The Dictionary of Arts and Sciences appear to be in three volumes rather than four. 
  • There was a ten volume Shakespeare published in Edinburgh in 1767. ESTC  T138600.
  • Buchanan's two volume History of Scotland was published in Edinburgh in 1766. ESTC T96149.
  • I would have to do a lot more digging to identify the book of Scots poems. 
  • Ajax's speech is ESTC T164824.
  • Solyman and Almena is ESTC T134591.
  • There is a London, not Edinburgh publication of Watts' Catechisms in 1764. ESTC N36519.
  • The work by Professor Meston is ESTC T91401.
All in all, the details in the advertisement appear to be rather accurate. The short titles are not always what is recorded in ESTC, but the dates are generally correct. I'd have to do a lot more work to verify prices.

So, perhaps this IS an advertisement for the Mundell Hoyle. It would not be an astonishing error if the title were advertised as Whist instead of Hoyle's Games. Further, if the Mundell Hoyle were published in the early 1760s, perhaps the price was lowered from 3s. to 6d. On the other hand, there is that 1767 date in the advertisement...

I'm left to wonder, is there a 1767 Scottish printing of Hoyle's Whist that is unrecorded?

Advertising a Piracy?

One would expect that pirates would not generally advertise their works. Sure, they'd like to inform the public about their book, but why alert the copyright holder? One interesting exception is the 1743 "Webster" piracy of Hoyle's Whist. At the time of the advertisement, the first edition had sold out and the second edition had yet to appear. In fact the printer advertised the book. You can read about it in "Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy."

I just discovered a second example. In "Hoyle in the Public Domain, Yet Pirates Persist" I dismiss the editions of Hoyle's Games Improved, edited by Thomas Jones as a piracy of the work edited by Charles Jones. Both the name Thomas Jones and that of the publisher, T. Wood or W. Wood are invented names to hide the identity of the pirates.

It is not surprising, then, that I have found more than 100 advertisements for the Charles Jones edition, but none for that of Thomas Jones. Until a few days ago...

The Ipswich Journal, April 11, 1778

I like this advertisement, because it shows the book was in print as early as April 1778 and because it shows a price of 2s., less than the 1775 Charles Jones edition which sold for 3s.

Why did Philip Deck advertise a piracy? The advertisement appeared in a paper published about 90 miles northeast of London, The Ipswich Journal. Deck's shop was in the town of Bury St. Edmunds, 30 miles northwest of Ipswich. It seems likely that being so far removed from London, he did not know it was a piracy, or simply did not care. It is fascinating to see evidence of the pirate's distribution network outside of London.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: One Final Collectible


Textile before conservation

Wow! This is my 100th post! And what a great way to end 2013, with a most extraordinary acquisition. Pictured at right is a textile I purchased at auction this year. For a much higher resolution image, please see my website.


What is it? Well, that's really hard to say. It is a cotton textile approximately 23" by 22". The auction catalogue listed it as a "bandana" but that seems improbable. My conservator called it simply a domestic textile. Given its layout, a central medallion with explanatory text facing four directions, perhaps it was intended to be used as a covering for a whist table. Some of the stains seem as though someone placed a damp cup or glass on it.

Detail of central medallion
How was it made? It is a copper engraving on cotton. The technique was developed in Ireland in the 1750s and quickly brought to England. For a comparable example from France, see here. This gives us an early bound on the date of its manufacture.

"Garter" ace of spades
Can it be dated further? The image of the ace of spades at right shows "G III Rex" and a garter design, typical of English cards from the late 18th until the very early 19th century. I suspect that textile dates from the 1790s.


Textile ready for framing
How was it conserved?
My goals were to preserve the textile while being able to display it in a frame. The conservator cleaned of all surface dirt. We decided that any effort to remove stains would risk discoloration and loss of the lovely toning. The conservator mounted a sympathetic support cloth to a stretcher and gently sewed the textile onto the support. In doing so, she was able to eliminate the creases shown in the first image. The repair in the lower right was present when I bought the item. I have not yet framed and hung it, but when framed, the glass will offer UV protection and I'll hang it away from any natural light.

What is the connection to Hoyle? I haven't yet done a detailed transcription of the text to compare it with Hoyle's writing. Nonetheless, it is clear that the Laws of Whist on the border and the odds are taken from Hoyle.

Laws of whist after Hoyle
Bridge odds after Hoyle

I have more analysis to do on this lovely and rare survival. I'll post more as I learn more.

In the mean time, I may take a short break from blogging--I am working on some longer articles for print publication, and I find it difficult to work on both.

Happy New Year!









Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013: The Year in Collecting

As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd take a quick break from bibliography and book history to look at my year in collecting. I'm at the point where it is difficult to find good Hoyle material that I do not already have. I recently wrote to a friend that I'm happy if I can find a dozen new items a year. This year the number was eight, and it was so high only because I have started to collect more seriously into the early 19th century for reasons I discuss in the essay "Continuities and Disruptions."

The one new eighteenth century item was a copy of the Polite Gamester printed in Dublin for Peter Wilson in 1752. I discuss the book in "A Copyright Fight in Dublin," noting that there are two issues of the book, one with 38 pages on whist and the other with 46. It is clear that the extra four leaves were added later to compete against the Ewing Polite Gamester of the same year. I now own a copy of the earlier issue, one of only two recorded.

I have written much about Hoyle's Games Improved edited by Charles Jones and records of its publication in the Longman Archive. One of the many interesting features of these books is that occasionally excerpts of them would be issued separately. For example in 1800 a section on game cocks was issued as a separate title. I'll discuss another example on horse racing below.

A number of times the chapters on card games were issued as Hoyle's Games Improved and Selected as a Companion to the Card Table. I discussed an 1803 edition in "Late Hoyles, Early Slip Case." I managed to find an 1813 edition in fine condition, still in its slip case, on eBay, of all places. Interestingly, the 1813 Companion is excerpted from the 1814 Jones Hoyle, both of which were published on December 24, 1813.

I found some lovely early 19th century translations this year. I previously wrote about the first Dutch edition of 1790. I now have the second edition of 1810, pictured below. What is striking is the folding table setting out the scoring rules for the game of quadrille in letterpress.

1810 Amsterdam
1810 Amsterdam
Letterpress folding plate


I noted earlier that Hoyle was first translated into Portuguese, and showed the second and third editions of 1768 and 1784. Now that I am moving into the 18th century, I found copies of the fourth and fifth editions, dated 1818 and 1827 respectively. The text appears unchanged.

1827 Lisbon
1818 Lisbon













1824 Bath


The book pictured at left is unusual and interesting. It is a small book with a text block of 10.7 x 6.7 cms. My copy has two identical engraved title pages (the second certainly an accident) with the title Hoyle's Games. The Bath Edition. The engraving includes the Ace of Spades from a deck by Hunt and Sons as illustrated here.


The letterpress title page reads Hoyle's Card Games, Complete; with an Appendix Containing his Guide to the Turf. The work is dated 1824 and is printed for E. Barret whom I believe was in Bath, and sold by three London booksellers, Bumpus, Crawford, Clark. Interestingly Bumpus was to be on the imprint for the main line of Hoyles from 1826 to 1868. Perhaps he was getting his feet wet selling this Bath edition. 

It is the Guide to the Turf which I find most interesting. The phrasing of the title is interesting, suggesting that the Guide is Hoyle's, but of course he never wrote about horse racing. Instead, some racing material was added to the 1814 edition of Hoyle's Games Improved, edited by Charles Jones. Like the Companion to the Card Table I discuss above, the racing material was separately issued as A Guide to the Turf. And it is that material that appears in the Bath edition.

The book seems rare, with other copies only at the Bodleian and UNLV. Even rarer is the 1814 Guide to the Turf. The Longman Archives show that 2000 copies were printed, but only one copy survives, at the library of a veterinary school in Hanover Germany. The 1824 Bath edition was reprinted in Glasgow in 1827 in an identical small format, though apparently without the engraved title. The only surviving copy is part of the Carriere Collection of Poker and Hoyle at Lousiana State University.

In the essay "Bob Short's Short Rules for Short Memories", I discuss the difficulty of identify all the many chapbook editions of Hoyle edited by Robert Withy under the pseudonym Bob Short. That essay noted a New York edition of 1828. I managed to find a copy of it this year--it seems to be the first United States printing of Bob Short.


1828 New York (cover)
1828 New York (title)












 I've left out the most interesting 2013 acquisition and will save it for the next essay.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hoyle's Games Improved (1814): Who was the bookseller Gale?

My last essay, "The Hoyle Copyright in Hoyle's Lifetime (revisited)" resolved a mystery that had long bothered me about the ownership of the Hoyle copyright in the 1760s. This essay untangles a similar mystery a half-century later.

The longish imprint on Hoyle's Games Improved, revised and corrected by Charles Jones Esq. (1814) lists twelve booksellers:
  • W. Lowndes
  • Wilkie and Robinson
  • J. Walker
  • Scatcherd and Letterman
  • Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown
  • Lackington, Allen and Co.
  • W. Stewart
  • B. and R. Crosby
  • J. Richarson
  • J. Mawman
  • J. Asperne
  • R. Baldwin
The handwritten (and often obscure) business records of the Longman firm list shares of copyright ownership for the book. See for example this essay discussing the 1800 edition. The archives note a thirteenth bookseller, with a 1/24 share, who's name appears to be "Gale." Gale never appeared on the imprint of any edition of Hoyle's Games Improved, but it's hard to dispute contemporary business records which record ownership, the booksellers' most valuable assets. Further, shares of ownership determine shares of costs and division of printed books. Who was Gale? Where did his share come from? What happened to it?

While I can't establish how Gale came to acquire a share of the copyright, nor why he wasn't on the imprint, I have found records showing that not only did he own a share of Hoyle in 1814, he bought a second piece in 1817. Records also show what happened to those shares.

In the 19th century most of the booksellers trade sales were run by the auction house Hodgson and Co. The catalogues for these trade sales, often annotated with purchaser and purchase price, survive. [See One Hundred Years of Book Auctions. 1807-1907. Being a brief record of the firm of Hodgson and Co. London. 1908. pp19-20, available for download]. Copies of the Hodgson catalogues are available at the British Library, as described here (search for "Hodgson trade sales").

A Hodgson catalogue for May 2, 1817 shows Walker, a name from the 1814 imprint, selling a 1/72 share to a name that seems to read Gale & Co.

Researching Gale in the British Book Trade Index, and WorldCat, I found that Gale did business as Gale, Curtis, and Fenner from 1812-15, and as Gale and Fenner from 1815-1817. Fenner succeeded to the business in 1817, and was not terribly successful, becoming bankrupt in March 1819.

Hodgson auctioned Fenner's copyrights on August 10, 1819. There were two lots of the copyright of "Hoyle's Games by Jones", one for a 1/24 share (the share recorded in the Longman Archives) and the other for a 1/72 share (the May 1817 purchase).

It is unclear whether the lots sold at the August 1819 auction--there is no annotation showing a purchaser or purchase price. It is likely that Whittaker acquired the shares either at the auction or later--the Longman records show that he owned none of the copyright in 1814 and a large 11/36 share by 1820.

So, Gale DID own a share in 1814 despite the absence of his name on the imprint. He acquired more in 1817. His successor Fenner sold the shares, apparently in connection with his bankruptcy.

Another minor mystery if not solved, then certainly clarified.