Monday, December 19, 2011

Bob Short's Short Rules for Short Memories

If the Pigott Hoyles are difficult to sort out, the ones by "Bob Short" are even worse. They were chapbooks (see here and here), cheaply printed and reprinted in great quantity, with very few copies, particularly early ones,  surviving.

From newspaper advertisements in the early 1780s, we learn that "Bob Short" originally published a card with "twelve short standing rules for short memories at the game of whist." (see for example, The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser of January 31, 1781). I have located no such cards.

He followed this effort with unremarkable abridgements of Hoyle's treatises on whist and quadrille. More charming than the books are their newspaper advertisements. The earliest I have found for the whist chapbook is from Parker's General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer of February 5, 1783, pictured below, at left. Note the nonsensical claim that the book is "the ninety-ninth edition." Similar advertisements appear through the late 1780s, but if such a book actually was published, no copies survive.

1783 advertisement
(click to enlarge)

1791 advertisement
(click to enlarge)

By late 1791, "Short" advertises (above right) the same book priced at 6d., rather than 3d. as in the earlier advertisements, along with a large print issue priced at 1s. He touts the book as "Bob Short's Christmas Box for grown masters and misses" and notes, as we are accustomed to seeing in Hoyle advertisements, "none are genuine which are not signed with the author's name, profession, and place of abode." (The World, December 15, 1791)

The earliest surviving copy, not autographed, is perhaps that advertised in 1791: 
Hoyle Abridged: Or Short Rules for Short Memories at the Game of Whist. With the Laws of the Game, &c. Adapted either for the Head or Pocket. By Bob Short. Printed for the Benefit of Families to Prevent Scolding: And Sold by the Author, at Baker's Coffee-house, Exchange Alley...1791. [Price 6d.]
"Short Rules for Short Memories" by "Bob Short" is too precious a formualation, and in fact Bob Short is a pseudonym for the London stockbroker Robert Withy. Withy advertised his brokerage services in the 1791 edition, directing the public to Baker's Coffee House. His identity is confirmed in a speech delivered to the Eccentrics' Society of which he was a member, published as An Invocation to Edward Quin by John Gale Jones. (Bodliean Libary, shelf mark G.Pamph. 1386(1))

Withy followed up the whist chapbook with a work on quadrille, which was first published in 1793:
Hoyle Abridged, Part II. Or, Short Rules for Playing the Game of Quadrille; With the Laws of the Game, &c. By Bob Short, Author of Short Rules for Whist. London: Printed for, and sold by the Author, at Baker's Coffee-house, Exchange Alley...1793. [Price Sixpence.] 
The work begins with a note to the public:
The great demand for my "Short Rules for Whist," seven thousand having been sold in twelve months, has flattered me so much, that I cannot resist the solicitation of many friends to publish Short Rules at the Game of Quadrille, which I trust will also be found useful and conventient both to the proficient and learner. Bob Short.
The first advertisement for Quadrille, from The Morning Chronicle of January 1, 1793 claims only 5000 copies of Whist had been sold. It is hard to know which number, if either, to believe.

Eighteenth century copies of Withy's works are scarce. According to ESTC, Whist survives in but two copies of the 1791 edition, and one each of 1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795. The University of Nevada Las Vegas has a copy of a 1793 German translation. Two copies of the 1793 edition of Quadrille are extant. 

early 19th century by Freeman
(click to enlarge)

My earliest copy, pictured at left, is undated. It bears the imprint "Printed by J. Freeman" who's printing activity I cannot date. Nor can I identify the printed text on the marbeled paper wrapper. The paper, pictured below, bears a watermark "Turner's" and a date 1806, suggesting an approximate date for the book.

Watermark from paper used by Freeman
(click to enlarge)

Backgammon, Bob Short, Jun. (1818?)
(click to enlarge)
Things explode as we get farther into the 19th century. Additional titles appeared on Chess, Draughts, and Backgammon, often bearing the name "Bob Short, Jun." as author. The books were published individually or bound together as Hoyle Abridged. They were printed so many times by so many printers, it would be impossible to develop a complete list. The most common seems to be a Derby printing by Thomas Richardson (1818?) (see Backgammon, pictured at right). I have others printed in London by Wright (1822) (below), Freeman, Shackell and Arrowsmith (1822) and in Norwich by John Stacy (1833). I've seen catalogue entries for many more: a "twenty second" edition printed for J. Harris (1809), T. & J. Allman (1819, 1820, 1824), Reynolds (1819), A. Dyson (1820), Fairburn (1820), Stacy (1820), Longstreet (1822), Wright (1822, 1823), T. Richardson (1826, 1827, 1828, 1830), Bartlett (New York, 1828), T. North (1829), Lofts (1830), and Beal (1847).

Whist, Wright (1822)
(click to enlarge)

There is no reason to believe that this list represents even a significant portion of those actually published. The survival rate of chapbooks is extremely low. The proliferation of 19th variants convinces me to stop my research at 1800. Even the 18th century printing history is rendered mysterious by the card with "twelve short rules" and the eight year gap between the first advertisement and the first surviving copy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Pigott Hoyles

Charles Pigott, Esq. wrote a number of popular satires (The Jockey Club, The Female Jockey Club, and The Whig Club) which offered scurrilous accounts of elite London society. (DNB) Two manuscripts survived his June 1794 death and were published shortly thereafter. One was another satire, The Political Dictionary while the other was a new edition of Hoyle. Like the earlier "Thomas Jones" editions of Hoyle, Pigott's seem to be a pretty blatant piracy of those edited by Charles Jones. Yet the "third" edition introduces new text including a gem that distinguishes it from all other 18th century Hoyles.

A chronology of the Pigott Hoyles is speculative for a variety of reasons. Early editions are not dated. "Third", "fourth", "fifth", and "ninth" editions survive, but those designations are not accurate. No other stated editions survive, though earlier and later books are found without a statement of edition. Newspaper advertisements do not match readily to the surviving books.

Indeed, it is the earliest surviving Pigott Hoyle that is the most uncertain. There is a single copy at the Bodleian Library. It is titled New Hoyle, or the General Repository of Games; Containing Rules and Instructions for playing [sixteen games]...From the Manuscript of the late Charles Pigott, Esq. London: Printed for James Ridgway, York Street, St. James's Square. Perhaps this is the book advertised in The Times of February 10, 1796 as "This day is published, price 2s. 6d sewed, and 3s. bound."

It is the next surviving book, again, with only a single exemplar at the Bodleian, that makes the first uncertain. It is a stated "third" edition and though it is undated, two dozen newspaper advertisements for the "third" edition appear from April 23, 1796 until late 1798. The title itself has changed slightly to Pigott's New Hoyle...containing Rules and Instructions for playing [twenty games]. The Third Edition, Corrected and Enlarged.

Yet bibliographically, this is not a new edition at all! The text is the same setting of type as the earlier New Hoyle with a cancel title page and addenda consisting of 38 new pages. It is instead a reissue of the earlier book. If we read its designation as "third" to mean anything, perhaps the earlier New Hoyle is a "second" edition and there is a still earlier version of which no copies have survived.

The addenda contains descriptions of four new games: cassino, all-four, connections and put. Interestingly, cassino and connections were newly added to the 1796 Charles Jones edition of Hoyle, published March 1796. Put and all-fours did not appear until the 1800 Charles Jones Hoyle. There is clearly some jockeying between the two publishers to add new games of interest.

Legal treatise on gaming
(click to enlarge)

The addenda also includes a twenty-three page section called "An Epitome of the Statue Laws on Gaming." This is the gem. It is a legal treatise on gaming law in England containing both statutes and case law on the legality of gambling and the enforcement of gambling debts. It is the first suggestion in any edition of Hoyle that the mania for gaming has some legal repercussions.

I have no idea where the text comes from. It seems unlikely that it was in the Pigott manuscript, or it would have been included in the earlier versions of the work. There were a number of 18th century treatises on gaming law, such as The Gamester's Law, 1708 or The Laws of Gaming, 1764, but the text does not appear to be taken from these works. A fuller discussion of the English gaming statutes and legal treatises will have to wait for future essays.

"fifth" edition
(click to enlarge)
To complete the chronology for the 18th century, an undated  "fourth" edition appeared, in late 1798 or, more likely, in 1799. This was a new setting of type with the addenda now fully incorporated into the book. I have located no advertisements for the "fourth" edition, but advertisements for the "fifth" began to appear in November 1799, continuing into late 1800. Like the "third" edition, the "fifth", pictured at right, was a reissue of the prior edition with a cancel title page.

I have not searched as diligently in the 19th century. There is a "ninth" edition advertised in November 1802, with no hints of "sixth" through "eighth" editions. There is an unnumbered "new" edition dated 1805 which may correspond to the November 22, 1804 advertisement in The Morning Chronicle. Other "new" editions are dated 1810 and 1811. I have not seen enough of the physical books to determine whether any of these are reissues of earlier items. It appears that these "new" editions were all published after bookseller James Ridgway moved  his premises from York Street, St. James's Square to 170 Piccadilly opposite Bond Street.

Interestingly, portions of the book were translated into French as Règles du jeu de whist, ou, Le nouveau Hoyle, de Charles Pigot.

We are left with the list below and the sense that there are many more editions that have not survived:
  • New Hoyle, 1796?
    • reissued as Pigott's New Hoyle "third" edition with addenda, 1796.
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "fourth" edition, 1798.
    • reissued as Pigott's New Hoyle "fifth" edition, 1800. 
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "ninth" edition, 1802
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1805
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1810
  • Pigott's New Hoyle "new" edition 1811
For me, it is the short legal treatise, first introduced in the 1796 "third" edition, that makes this a Hoyle worth seeking out.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    From the pen and library of Henry Hucks Gibbs

    I am not the first to collect and studying gaming literature. It is always a special thrill for me to get a copy of a book that belonged to one of the earlier great collections. This essay will focus on one such collector, Henry Hucks Gibbs, Lord Aldenham (1819-1907). Gibbs had a stunning library, of which gaming literature was only a small part. Catalogues of the library were published in 1888 and 1914. ; Sotheby's sold books from the library at auction in 1937 and books turn up in the trade every now and then. A few of them have made their way to me.

    Before looking at some gaming books from the Aldenham Library, let us discuss Gibbs as a gaming author. He wrote The Game of Ombre in 1874, with later editions in 1878 and 1902, all privately published.

    1874 The Game of Ombre
    (click to enlarge)
    Ombre is a 17th century Spanish card game for three players, which evolved into the four-player game of Quadrille, the subject of a 1744 treatise by Hoyle. About Gibbs's book, bibliographer Jessel wrote:
    A full and lucid description of this excellent game. It is a misfortune that the work has never been published, for there is even to-day a constant demand for information on the details of Ombre. (p110)

    uncolored proof
    (click to enlarge)
    As it was privately published every copy I've seen but one has been inscribed by Gibbs to the recipient—and the one without inscription is the most interesting copy of all. It is Gibbs's own copy of the first edition from the Aldenham Library, with many features that distinguish it from other copies of the first edition.  It contains two versions of each of the plates, a colored copy with text and borders such as the one pictured above, and an uncolored proof, such as is pictured at right. Gibbs's copy also contains a proof of an introduction to the second edition and of a supplementary chapter that did not appear until the second edition—an account of Belinda's game of ombre as described in Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock.

    Gibbs inscription
    (click to enlarge)
    Gibbs letter
    (click to enlarge)

    Two inscriptions from other copies are pictured to the left. In the top photograph, Gibbs presents a first edition to Margaret Eliza Adams, while below is a letter from Gibbs to Lady Alwyne pasted into a second edition. The letter discusses obtaining Spanish cards for playing Ombre as well as scoring counters.


    Bindings from the
    Aldenham Library
    (click to enlarge)
    Back to Gibbs as a collector—the Aldenham library must have been magnificent. Gibbs generally had the books rebound in gentlemen's Victorian bindings, some of which are pictured at right. From left to right, the books are:
    I purchased the two with Morell bindings years apart and from different sources. I was struck to see that they are decorated with the same floral tool in the spine panels.

    The books themselves are worthy of discussion. I described Seymour as a predecessor to Hoyle and noted that his section on Ombre (along with that on Piquet) was the earliest set of rules for a card game sufficiently detailed to teach the game. Gibbs undoubtedly consulted this copy of Seymour as he wrote his own book on Ombre. It is also the copy collated by Julian Marshall in his bibliography of the Gamesters (p382). This is certainly one of my most treasured books because of its associations with Gibbs and Marshall.

    I have another book with similar provenance, though I cannot picture it here as it is off at the binder's for conservation. The book is Thomas Mathews, Advise to the Young Whist Player, 1804, the third important book on whist after Hoyle and Payne. Only two copies of the first edition survive. Mine bears an inscription in Gibbs's hand "Aldenham. 1901. Given me by Julian Marshall." Indeed the provenance is even better, both earlier and later. Julian Marshall bought a copy of Mathews's first, almost certainly mine, at the 1900 Sotheby's auction of books from the estate of Cavendish, whom I have anointed the successor to Hoyle. I purchased the book from the collection of Dr. Albert Ferguson, who wrote a couple of bridge books and put together an important collection of gaming books about which I shall write later. When I look at the Mathews, I see a line from Cavendish to Marshall to Gibbs to Ferguson and then to me.

    Payne's Maxims is the first significant book on whist published after Hoyle's treatise and was incorporated into the Charles Jones edition of Hoyle's Games Improved beginning in 1779. Thomson is a minor Scottish poet, and one can get a taste for his poem from a short excerpt:
    Whist, then, delightful whist, my theme shall be,
    And first I'll try to trace its pedigree,
    And shew what sage and comprehesive mind
    Gave to the world a pleasure so refin'd:
    The copies of Payne and Thomson are also ex-library Albert Ferguson.

    Bookplate of Gibbs
    (click to enlarge)
    Books from the Aldenham Library are easy to spot as they bear an armorial bookplate with the words "Aldenham House. Herts." I hope I've succeeded in sharing the excitement good provenance adds to collecting. What is most astonishing is that none of the sellers of these books noted the provenance in their catalogues. When the books arrived, the bookplate provided a delightful surprise!

    • Frederic Jessel. A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1905. Available for download (6MB).  
    • Julian Marshall, "Cotton and Seymour's 'Gamesters.'"  Parts 1 and 2, Notes and Queries, 6th ser., 9 (April 26, 1884):321-3, (May 17, 1884): 381-3. Available for download (70MB).

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Hoyle's Games Improved, Charles Jones (1800)

    updated May 5, 2013, having located a copy of the separately published Treatise on Game Cocks

    I have written about the Charles Jones editions of Hoyle a number of times. The booksellers who had owned the recently-expired Hoyle copyright brought out the first Charles Jones edition in 1775, followed  by a much more important edition in 1779. The work stayed in print until 1826, adding sections on various games with each new edition—it was the dominant edition of Hoyle for fifty years. This essay focuses on the edition of 1800, not because it is itself a particularly interesting work, but because it is the first for which the publishers' business records survive. The records tell an interesting story about the economics of bookselling in London at the turn of the 19th century. 
    First, a short digression: There was a the third edition in 1786 and a fourth in 1790. The latter is the most collectible of all the Jones Hoyles as it is the first to mention the game of "goff or golf," "the favourite summer amusement in Scotland." (p288) The book is one of the earliest listed in Donovan & Murdoch, the standard bibliography of golfing literature. There are serious book collectors in the golfing world and the 1790 Jones edition of Hoyle commands a substantial premium over any of the others.

    Copisarow copy
    (click to enlarge)

    At left is the title page for the 1796 fifth edition, bearing the imprint "printed for R. Baldwin,  B. Law, C. Dilly, T. Payne, W. Lowndes, James Scatcherd, E. Newbery, S. Bladon, G. and T. Wilkie, W. Miller and W. Stewart," a group of eleven booksellers.


    Copisarow copy
    (click to enlarge)

    The title page for the sixth edition of 1800, pictured at right, shows the addition of some new games: Vingt et un, Reversis, Put, All Fours, Speculation, and an essay on Game Cocks. It also has a somewhat different imprint—Law, Dilly, Bladon and Miller have disappeared from the 1796 edition. Bedwell Law died in 1798; Samuel Bladon in 1799. Charles Dilly retired leaving Joseph Mawman as his successor. (See the British Book Trade Index)

    Likely, Miller sold his interest to another bookseller, perhaps at one of the trade sales I have discussed earlier. The new names in 1800 were the firm of Longman and Rees, J. Lee, T. Hurst and J. Mawman.

    It is the addition of the Longman firm that makes the book worthy of discussion. Business records for the Longman firm survive and were published on microfilm by Chadwyck-Healey, with a printed index (see here for one library's description of the archive). The archive tells a great deal about the 1800 publication. To appreciate the information in the archive, it is helpful to see the collation formula for the book: 12o: A2 B-O12 P10. This means that the book was printed as a duodecimo, that is with twelves leaves to each sheet of paper. Gatherings B through O make thirteen sheets (as is typical, there is no gathering J) and the short gatherings A and P were likely printed on a single sheet, the fourteenth.

    The entry in the archive is dated May 15, 1800 and begins:
    Hoyle's Game by Jones 12o No 3000
    Treatise on Game Cocks 12o No 500
    Thus, Longman et al printed 3000 copies of the Hoyle and 500 of the treatise on cock-fighting. A single copy of the treatise on game cocks survives at the British Library, printed for Baldwin, Payne, et al, in 1800. When one of the publishers, Wilkie, left the trade, his stock was sold at a trade sale on February 24, 1814. At that sale his 75 copies of the Treatise on Game Cocks went unsold, representing, as we shall see, more than half of the books he was allocated in 1800. The treatise must have been a poor seller.

    The entry goes on to list expenses in printing the book, expenses which would be shared among the booksellers in proportion to their share of the copyright. The biggest expense was for paper, just over 70£. The Hoyle would have required 42,000 sheets (3000 copies at 14 sheets each). The section on game cocks in Hoyle was 24 pages or 12 leaves, so perhaps the separately published work was 500 copies of one duodecimo sheet. The printer charged 2£ 4s. per sheet for typesetting, a total of 30£ 16s. for the 14 sheets, plus an additional 2£ 17s. for tables, fractions, etc., as they required extra composition. The fact that the printer charged for fourteen sheets confirms that there was no additional typesetting for Game Cocks—that treatise must have been a separate issue of the section from Hoyle.

    There were further charges for the engraved plate of billiards,  pictured here from the 1779 edition and for woodcuts of a backgammon and a draughts board. There were charges for meetings at "Coffee House," presumably for food and drink when the publishers met. Lastly, although I have not located any advertisements for the book, advertising charges exceeded 20£. If there are costs associated with binding the books, I cannot discern them from the archive—perhaps each bookseller had his own copies bound. Total charges were 137£ 10s.

    The Hoyle sold for 4s., so the entire print run retailed for 600£. The treatise on Game Cocks may have sold for a shilling or two, adding another 25 or 50£ to the income had it been successful. The Hoyle, however, was a success—the 3000 copies must have sold out quickly as a new edition appeared in 1803. Of course this P&L omits the money the booksellers would have had to pay for the copyright. I don't have information about any transactions in the copyright near 1800, but in 1778, Thomas Lowndes paid 1£ 15s. for a 1/72 interest in the Jones edition of Hoyle, making the copyright worth £126 at the time. (British Library, Addison ms 38370 f. 13) Although it must have been worth more in 1800, publishing Hoyle was certainly a profitable enterprise for the booksellers! 

    Most interesting is data giving the allocation of books to each member of the consortium. From this, we can calculate the ownership of each bookseller.

    booksellerHoylesGame Cocksownership
    Longman & Co.250421/12

    It is remarkable that shares as small as one part in 144 were traded among the booksellers. Note also that the order of the booksellers on the imprint seems to bear no relationship the size of their ownership interest or the order in which they acquired their shares.

    My Hoyle research focuses on the 18th century and so I will stop with the Jones edition of 1800. For those who want to carry on into the 19th century, Longman & Co. continued to be involved in another half dozen editions of the Charles Jones Hoyle through 1826. Comparable business records survive and provide a fascinating look into the economics of the London book trade.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    The Doctrine of Chances (1754)

    (updated November 17, 2011, February 21, 2013)

    In his treatises on whist, backgammon, piquet, quadrille, and brag, Hoyle had briefly discussed the mathematical aspects of each game. He provided a somewhat fuller treatment of probability in a 1754 work—An Essay towards making the Doctrine of Chances easy to those who understand Vulgar Arithmetick only. The book, a minor footnote in the histories of both gaming and mathematics, has quite an odd publishing history.

    The title recalls a much more important work on probability by Abraham De Moivre, The Doctrine of Chances: or, a Method of Calculating the Probability of Events in Play (1718) with subsequent editions in 1738 and 1756, the last of which is freely available here.

    In his landmark history of probability, Isaac Todhunter devotes nearly 70 pages to De Moivre's work and a scant two paragraphs to Hoyle's:
    Some works on Games of Chance are ascribed to Hoyle in Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica. I have seen only one of them which is entitled: An Essay towards making the Doctrine of Chances easy to those who understand Vulgar Arithmetick only: to which is added, some useful tables on annuities for lives &c. &c. &c. By Mr Hoyle... It is not dated; but the date 1754 is given in Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica.
    The work is in small octavo size, with large type. The title, preface, and dedication occupy VIII pages, and the text itself occupies 73 pages. Pages 1-62 contain rules, without demonstration, for calculating chances in certain games; and the remainder is devoted to tables of annuities, and to Halley's Breslau table of life, with a brief explanation of the latter. I have not tested the rules. (Todhunter p322)
    Where De Moivre used games to advance the mathematical theory of probably, Hoyle used probability to provide rules of thumbs for gamesters—Hoyle's Chances lacks mathematical importance.

    The publishing history of the Chances should be viewed in light of the unsuccessful publication of the treatise on Brag by John Jolliffe (1751), discussed here. Like Brag, the book was sold by subscription as is evident from a series of notices in the Public Advertiser:
    Next month will be published, By Subscription, at Half a Guinea, The Doctrine of Chances made easy to those who understand Vulgar Arithmetick only. By Mr. Hoyle. Subscriptions taken in by the Author, and Mr. Jolliffe, in St. James's street. (Public Advertiser, January 23, 1754)
    Beginning in late February and continuing into March, the same advertisement was published with the heading "Speedily will be published" and finally on June 16 it was announced as "This Day is publish'd."

    The imprint of the book is curious, particularly in comparison with Brag. In 1751, Brag appeared with the imprint "printed for and sold by J. Jolliffe, bookseller." The words "printed for" suggest that Jolliffe was the publisher and had paid Hoyle for the copyright. In contrast, Chances is "sold by J. Jolliff (sic)" suggesting that Jolliffe was only a distributor. The book was not entered into the register at Stationers Hall, so we don't have that evidence as to the owner of the copyright, but it is likely that Hoyle retained the copyright—perhaps Jolliffe was unwilling to purchase it because of the poor sales of Brag.

    Chances sold for half a guinea, and, like Brag, it did not sell well initially. From 1748 to1755 Thomas Osborne (and William Reeve) were selling various issues of Mr. Hoyle's Treatises (discussed here), followed by Osborne's "eleventh" edition in 1755 and "twelfth" in 1760. Just as Osborne began to advertise the "twelfth" edition, he began to promote two other books:
    Tuesday next will be published, Dedicated to the Right Hon. the Earl of Northumberland, Price 3s. 6d. sewed in Marble Paper, An Essay towards making the Game of Chess easily learned, by those who know the Moves only, without the Assistance of a Mater. By Mr. Hoyle, Printed for T. Osborne, in Gray's Inn; R. Baldwin, at the Rose, and S. Crowder, at the Looking-Glass, in Pater-noster Row. 
    Of whom may be had, Price 2s. 6d. sewed, Mr. Hoyle's Essay towards making the Doctrine of Chances easy to those who understand Vulgar Aritmetic only. To which are added, some useful Tables on Annuities for Lives, &c &c.
    No Copies of these Books are genuine, but those that are signed by the Author. (Public Advertiser, December 24, 1760)
    We'll save the disccusion of Chess for another time, and focus on Chances. This Osborne version is not listed in ESTC and but a single copy survives at the Bodleian Library, shelf mark Jessel e.647(1). An examination of the book reveals that it is a reissue of the 1754 edition with a cancel title page. Again, the imprint is odd: "London: Sold by T. Osborne [and others]." It seems that Hoyle had unsold copies of the book, terminated the arrangement with Jolliffe and hired Osborne as a new distributor, selling the book at a much lower price to coincide with the new work on Chess. It is also interesting that the verso of the cancel title has an erratum, noting that "in page 57, line 2, read for doing it instead of against doing it." Chess, by the way, has the imprint "printed for Thomas Osborne [and others]" suggesting that Osborne owned the rights.

    It was only the 1760 reissue that sparked the Irish reprinters.George and Alexander Ewing reprinted the work in 1761, also incorporating it into The Polite Gamester.

    (click to enlarge)

    In 1764, Osborne reprinted the Doctrine of Chances, pictured at left and freely available for download here. Here the imprint suggests that Osborne and Baldwin owned the copyright: "Printed for T. Osborne, in Gray's-Inn, and R. Baldwin, at the Rose in Pater-noster Row." Note, by the way, the small piece of drab paper affixed to the title page. This is a remnant of the original paper wrapper for the book.

    The autographs, pictured below, provide further evidence that Osborne and Baldwin owned the copyright. The title page notes "No copies of this book are genuine, but those that are signed by the proprietors on the back of this title"  Hoyle did not autograph the verso in any copy of this edition I have seen—only the signatures of Osborne and Baldwin appear. Osborne and Baldwin must have been the proprietors and Hoyle's contract with Osborne to sign his early works (see my "Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy" p144) did not apply to Chances.

    (click to enlarge)

    We are left with this list of separately published editions of The Doctrine of Chances:
    •   Chances.1: London: Sold by J. Jolliffe (1754) 
      • Chances.1.1: London: Sold by Osborne, Crowder, and Baldwin (1760), a reissue of Chances.1
    • Chances.2: Dublin: Printed for the Ewings (1761)
    • Chances.3: London: Printed for Osborne and Baldwin (1764)
    • Isaac Todhunter. A History of the Mathematical Theory of Probability from the Time of Pascal to that of Laplace. Cambridge and London: McMillan and Co. 1865. Reprinted New York: Chelsea Publishing Company. 1949.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    A Short Treatise on the Game of Brag (1751)

    (updated February 26, 2012 as I have located additional copies)

    In 1748, Hoyle added "thirteen new cases never before published" to the section on whist in Mr. Hoyle's Treatises. Those few pages were his first new writing since 1744. As I discussed in a recent essay, booksellers Thomas Osborne and William Reeve reissued Mr. Hoyle's Treatises under various titles a number of times from 1748 to 1755.

    Hoyle's next writing was an entirely new work, A Short Treatise on the Game of Brag, in 1751. The game of brag most resembles three-card poker, but with betting rules that look strange to a modern player. Interestingly, the treatise on brag was never incorporated into the any of the London collections of Hoyle's works. There is every reason to believe that it was an unsuccessful effort for the publisher.

    Hoyle entered A Short Treatise on the Game of Brag in the register of books at Stationers Hall on January 18, 1750/1, listing himself as the sole copyright holder. On January 22, 1750/1, an announcement appeared in the General Advertiser:
    This day is published, A Treatise on Bragg by Mr. Hoyle. To which is added the laws of the game, with some calculations. Sold by J. Jolliffe, Bookseller, next door to White's Chocolate House in St. James's Street, at the same place may be had, neatly printed to frame, The Laws on Bragg separate, Price 2s. 6d. Where subscribers may have their books on sending their receipts. The books and laws are sign'd by the author, and whoever pyrates or sells any pyratical edition will be prosecuted, they being enter'd in the Hall Books.
    There are many points of interest. First, Hoyle has found a new publisher, John Jolliffe. Recall that Hoyle originally contracted with Francis Cogan to publish all of his early works. Cogan also paid Hoyle to autograph each copy (see my Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy, p144). Cogan, nearing bankruptcy, sold the rights to Thomas Osborne in 1745. I find it striking that Hoyle chose not to work with Osborne on Brag, but found a new publisher. No evidence survives detailing the financial arrangement between Hoyle and Jolliffe. Second, as the advertisement makes clear, Jolliffe was familiar with the publishing history of whist. As Cogan and Osborne had done with Whist, Jolliffe published the laws of brag separately, secured Hoyle's signature on the books and the laws, and warned against piracy. Third, Jolliffe sold the book by subscription, with customers paying in advance for the book. There certainly must be pre-publication advertisements offering the book, although I have not found any.

    There are two reasons to believe that the subscription price was half a guinea, that is, 10s. 6d. First is an advertisement for the Irish reprint of Brag that I shall discuss below. Second, in 1754, Jolliffe sold another Hoyle treatise, An Essay on the Doctrine of Chances, by subscription for half a guinea. That work will be discussed in a subsequent essay.

    A month later, Jolliffe had a briefer advertisement offering the treatise for 2s. 6d. and the laws for 1s. (Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer, February 28) If the treatise sold by subscription for half a guinea, the new price was a substantial reduction. Jolliffe dropped the price of the laws from 2s. 6d. to 1s. Likely neither sold well. No further London editions of Brag were published and few copies survive today. No copies of the laws survive—perhaps they were destroyed unsold, as were hundreds of copies of the Osborne laws of whist.

    Bookseller John Exshaw quickly reprinted Brag in Dublin. He advertised in the Dublin Courant of March 2, 1750/1 :

    (click to enlarge)

    Thursday next will be publish'd by John  Exshaw, price 4d. A Short Treatise on the Game of Brag: containing the laws of the game, also calculations, shewing the odds of winning or losing certain hands dealt.
    N. B. The price of the London edition is half a guinea. 

    It is the Exshaw advertisement that suggests that Brag sold for half a guinea by subscription, although it ignores the fact that Jolliffe lowered the price to 2s. 6d. by late February.

    Like its London counterpart, the Exshaw edition is scarce, with copies at the Dublin City Libraries and UNLV in addition to mine. A copy at the British Library was destroyed in World War Two. The UNLV copy is bound with a 1752 of The Polite Gamester printed for Peter Wilson and I suspect that an examination of more copies of the Gamester will show that they contain the brag treatise as well. Updated February 26, 2012: I have been in touch with other libraries holding a copy of the Wilson's 1752 Polite Gamester. It turns out that the Cleveland Public Library and the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) also have copies containing the treatise on Brag.

    Neither the game of brag, nor Hoyle's book were especially popular. Indeed no other books have been published on the game, although many gaming anthologies discuss it briefly. It remains Hoyle's most obscure work.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Schools for Whist?

    Hoyle was a tutor at whist before writing his Short Treatise on the game and instruction in gaming became a target of satire. One of the most extraordinary examples is a 1752 pamphlet called A Preface Designed...for the Polite Gamester, 1752. It is excessively rare--only a single copy survives at the Dublin City Library and Archive as part of the J. T. Gilbert Collection

    Reproduced with permission of
    the Dublin City Library and Archive
    (click to enlarge)

    Although no printing location is given, the pamphlet was clearly written in Dublin. The book is styled a preface to The Polite Gamester, which as we have seen, was the Dublin title for Hoyle's treatises. Further, the note "To the Printer" is signed "Jeff Humbugg, Bardin's Chocolate House, May 8, 1752". Peter Bardin, an actor, established a Chocolate House in Fowne's Court, Dublin—it was converted into a post office in 1755. (Gilbert, as in the J. T. Gilbert Collection, Vol. II, pp. 320-1)

    Two competing Dublin editions of The Polite Gamester had appeared in February 1752 (ESTC N22882 and N24780), perhaps prompting this preface. The story of those books and the competition between them will have to wait for another time.

    The book begins with the pseudonymous Humbugg lauding Hoyle:
    His book, though small in size, is yet weighty as to its contents and was the produce of a long series of practice and close application (p. 8)
    Then he complains about the difficulty of portions of the text:
    At first sight, and to the young beginner, or mere novice he will appear a little difficult. I remember myself, and I honestly declare it, that at first dipping into him, I did not enter into the true spirit and meaning of many passages. (pp. 8-9)
    More importantly, Humbugg, argues, the reading must be supplemented with expensive experience, by which he means expensive losses at gaming. The solution is ingenious, consisting of two strands. The first is:
    "To have a number of schools erected at the public charge, in the several cities and large towns of this kingdom; where, under the direction of experienced, and able masters, the several games may be taught (p. 10-11)
    The more amusing suggestion is that:
    ...the youth of both sexes [be] made perfect by going through a complete course of experiments; in the performance of which they shall play only with the public money; and thus the people of lower rank, will have an opportunity of sending their children that they may learn to game with reason and judgment. (p. 11)
    Gaming with public money? I'll leave it to the reader to make twenty-first century analogies with sub-prime lending.

    The Humbugg piece is the first satire I have seen suggesting schools for gaming, but others followed. The periodical The Connoisseur included a quite similar piece in the issue of March 20, 1755:

    The education of females is at present happily elevated far above the ordinary employments of domestic œconomy; and if any school is wanted for the improvement of young ladies, I may venture to say, it should be a school for whist. Mr. Hoyle used, indeed, to wait on ladies of quality at their own houses to give them lectures in this science: but as that learned master has left off teaching, they can have no instructions but from his incomparable treatise; and this, I am afraid, is so abstruse, and abounding with technical terms, that even those among the quality, who are tolerably well grounded in the Science, are scarce able to unravel the perplexity of has cases, which are many of them as intricate as the hardest proposition in Euclid. A school for whist would, therefore, be of excellent use; where young ladies of quality might be gradually instructed in the various branches of lurching, renouncing, finessing winning the ten-ace, and getting the odd trick, in the same manner as common misses are taught to write, read, and work at their needle.

    Another periodical, The World, included the following letter on May 20, 1756:
    When [my son] had finished his studies at the university, and perfected himself in town in all the necessary accomplishments of a young man of fashion, I sent him under the direction of a very excellent tutor, on his travels through France, Italy and Germany; from which, after an absence of four years, he returned last winter, improved beyond my utmost hopes. 
    But, alas, sir! when I expected to see him the admiration of all companies, and to have been ever where congratulated on the happiness of having such a son, I found, from the universal attention to cards, that his acquirements were totally unnoticed, and that all the cost and trouble I had been at in his education, answered no other purpose than to make him company for himself, and a few unfashionable friends who have no commerce with the world.
    If this insatiable passion continues, it were as well if our public schools and universities were abolished, and that travel and all other means of acquiring knowledge and refinement were at once prohibited; and in their places, other seminaries erected in this metropolis, and proper masters appointed, to instruct our children in the rudiments of brag, cribbage and lansquenet, till they were of a proper age to study whist, and the other games of skill, at the academy of Mr. Hoyle.
    Yes, gaming was quite the rage in Dublin and London, with Hoyle was seen as the cornerstone to education.


    J. T. Gilbert, A History of the City of Dublin, Dublin: McGlashan and Gill, 1859.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    What's in a Name?

    What do you call a book? Generally, this is straightforward—take a look at the title page. However, many of the editions and issues of Hoyle were published without an overall title page, causing problems both for rare book catalogers and for bibliographers. The problems will be highlighted in this essay. The springboard for the discussion is a series of essays I have written--on the Hoyle collections, on the first published edition of Hoyle's works in 1748, and on its four reissues from 1748 to 1755.

    First the collections. I have demonstrated that Osborne issued collections of Hoyle from 1745-7 and argued that Cogan likely did as well from 1743-4. These collections are not cataloged as such in libraries or ESTC because there is no overall title page, merely titles for the individual treatises on whist, quadrille, piquet, and backgammon. So, if one looks up Whist.6 in ESTC, the holdings will include all copies of the individual treatise as well as copies where it appears as a collection, that is, in a publisher's binding with other treatises. ESTC will also include copies where it appears with other treatises in a customer binding.

    Sometimes the library shelf mark will reveal the nature of the book. For example, the Bodleian Library has a copy of Whist.6 with shelf mark Jessel f.544(1). The parenthetical "one" indicates that Whist.6 is the first title in a volume containing multiple books. Jessel f.544(2) is Obsorne's reissue of Cogan's Quadrille, and so on. Other times, the library will provide copy-specific notes. The Beinecke Library at Yale has a copy of Whist.6 and they note that the book is bound with Quadrille, Piquet and Backgammon. While the shelf marks and notes tell that the books are bound together, there is no clue as to whether the books were issued as such by the publisher or bound by the customer. On the other hand, ESTC shows a University of Texas copy, shelf mark, GV1277.H89 1746, and only by checking their online catalogue do we learn that it is also bound with Backgammon of 1745. Whether Quadrille and Piquet are included, I don't yet know.

    The early Dublin collections are less problematic because they were issue with a collected title page, The Polite Gamester, and are so cataloged in ESTC and elsewhere. 

    A different sort of problem appears with the first collected edition of Hoyle and its four reissues. For convenience, I'll repeat the five books:

    [Aside: I am deliberately distinguishing between the terms "collection" and "collected edition." I am using "collection" for a reissue of books in a publisher's binding which were also issued separately. An "edition" requires a new setting of type as was the case with Osborne.1748 where the treatises were not issued individually.]

    These books are quite awkward to name and hence to catalogue. Osborne.1748 is problematic because there is no overall title page. There are fortunately strong hints that the book is a single collected edition and not a collection of separate works. First is an overall half title, Mr. Hoyle's Treatises, although the half title may not survive in any particular copy. Second, the pagination and signatures are relatively continuous, suggesting it was printed as a unit. In fact ESTC catalogs it using the half title.

    Absent those clues, it would be easy to imagine the book cataloged as four separate books, particularly since the imprint and date appear only on the section titles and not on the half title. Indeed  ESTC also lists an "eighth" edition of whist as ESTC T79889, cataloging the book as though it were a collection. I've seen one of the two copies listed there and it includes all the treatises and the half title--perhaps the cataloger was not used to identifying the book from the half title. I'll have to check on the other copy, but I suspect that this is a ghost entry in ESTC and the holdings should be merged into Osborne.1748, a book catalogued as Mr. Hoyle's Treatises based on the half title.

    Reeve.1748 and Reeve.1750 are clearer, because they have the overall title page The Accurate Gamester's Companion. Both books are cataloged under that title, even though a number of copies also have the Osborne half title.

    The problem returns with Osborne.1750. I have a copy with the same half-title used in Osborne.1748. Unfortunately most copies lack the half title and the ESTC catalogers did not call the book Mr. Hoyle's Treatises, as they did for Osborne.1748. The book is identified by the section title for whist and the title is given as the "tenth" edition of A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, printed for T. Osborne, 1750. Fortunately ESTC notes that it includes the other treatises. I do think this should be called Mr. Hoyle's Treatises.

    Similar is Both.1755 where none of the copies I have seen has an overall half title or title page. As with Osborne.1750, ESTC catalogs the book based on the section title for whist, noting the presence of the other treatises. Here I see no good option. It was jointly sold by Osborne and Reeve, and calling it either Mr. Hoyle's Treatises or The Accurate Gamester's Companion is misleading. Equally misleading, however, is the current practice of calling the book a "tenth" edition of Whist, ignoring the fact that it always appears with Quadrille, Piquet, and Backgammon.Why didn't Osborne add a real title page?

    On a separate note, I want to mention three other London Hoyle's listed in ESTC during the time period 1748-55:
    • ESTC T87538 is catalogued as a "tenth" edition of Whist published without the other treatises. I've seen one of the two listed copies and discussed it earlier. It is really a copy of Whist.7 (1747) with the title page replaced by the section title of Whist used for Osborne.1750. Presumably Osborne had some unsold copies of Whist.7 which he spruced up with a 1750 title page to make them salable—making this a reissue of Whist.7
    • ESTC N46285: Looking at the ESTC entry, I cannot distinguish it from Reeve.1750, but I haven't seen either of the two listed copies. 
    • ESTC T224799: This is a piracy of the Whist section from Osborne.1748. Only a single copy survives at the British Library. There is no record of any litigation. It is an octavo, rather than a duodecimo, as were the authorized Hoyles, and the book is not autographed by Hoyle or Osborne.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Reissues of Mr. Hoyle's Treatises (1748-1755)

    With the release of Mr. Hoyle's Treatises in 1748, Osborne began to sell Hoyle's works only as a single volume and not as individual treatises (as I discuss here). The book was reissued several times over the next few years until a new edition appeared in late 1756. Osborne reissued the book himself and apparently entered into a relationship with another bookseller, William Reeve, to distribute it. This seems to be the only venture between the two booksellers. While no documentation of the distribution arrangement survives, we can infer much about it from the physical books and newspaper advertisements.

    For clarity, I am going to refer to the various books as follows:
    Osborne.1748 collates 12o: [A]2 B-D12 E6 F-L12. The preliminaries consist of: A1r, the half title from which I derive the name of the book; A1v advertisement for another Osborne publication,  The Life of Adam; A2r section title for the "eighth" edition of whist; and A2v "To the Reader" with the autograph signature of Hoyle. All of the reissues share the same setting of type for gatherings B through L, which makes them reissues rather than editions as a matter of definition. As we shall see, the preliminaries vary.

    Osborne advertised Osborne.1748 in various London newspapers from March 5, 1748 until April 30, 1748. Osborne's advertisements do not overlap with Reeve's, which appeared from November 21, 1748 to March 9, 1749. Here is a sample Reeve advertisement from The General Advertiser:

    (click to enlarge)

    The text is subtly different from Osborne's advertisements earlier in the year. The advertised title is still Mr. Hoyle's Games Complete, but speaks of a "ninth," rather than "eighth" edition. The book is "printed for T. Osborne, and sold by W. Reeve" at Reeve's shop, with no location given for Osborne. The advertisement does not offer the Laws of Whist. Despite the differences, Reeve.1748 is still an authorized edition as is apparent from the promise of Hoyle's autograph.

    (click to enlarge)

    The physical book has a different title altogether, The Accurate Gamester's Companion, reminiscent both of the predecessors to Hoyle—The Compleat Gamester and The Court Gamester—and the Dublin reprint of Hoyle, The Polite Gamester. The title page, printed in red and black and pictured at right is quite charming.

    The book is, however, a reissue of Osborne.1748 and not a separate edition. Different copies have slightly different preliminaries, but Reeve had a new bifolium (a folded sheet of two leaves or four pages) printed. The first leaf has a blank recto and a verso with advertisements for others of his books. The recto of the second leaf is the red and black title page, with a blank verso. One copy (NvLN [GV1243 H69 1748]) inserts the bifolium in place of the Osborne half title and advertisement, while another (L [58.b.18]) retains the half title, but wraps the Reeve advertisement around so that it appears as the fourth leaf. In either configuration, the book has the peculiar property that the new title page says it is a "ninth" edition of whist, while the section title for whist says it is an "eighth" edition.

    In his bibliography, Jessel wrote of this book, "It would appear that Osborne sold his remainder to W. Reeve, who issued it as a ninth edition." That may be correct—it is interesting that Osborne ceased advertising his version of the book while Reeve's was for sale. On the other hand, the relationship between Reeve and Osborne continued with more reissues.

    The October 21, 1749 issue of the Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer  carried an advertisement for a "tenth" edition of Mr. Hoyle's Games Compleat printed for "T. Osborne, in Gray's-Inn; and W. Reeve, at Shakespear's Head, near Serjeant's Inn-Gate, in Fleet-street." By giving the locations of both booksellers, the advertisement suggests that both were selling it. Indeed two more versions appeared, again with the same setting of type as Osborne.1748, but with new preliminaries.

    Osborne.1750, retains the half title "Mr. Hoyle's Treatises" but has a new leaf A2, pictured below. The recto is a new section title for whist, a "tenth" edition dated 1750. The version is a "To the Reader" now signed both by Hoyle and Osborne. The Reeve version, Reeve.1750, maintains the bifolium from the Reeve.1748, but, adds the pictured leaf so that both booksellers are offering a "tenth" edition.
    Section Title for Whist
    "Tenth" edition
    (click to enlarge)
    To the Reader
    signed by Hoyle and Osborne
    (click to enlarge)

     The joint advertisements continued until December 31, 1750. Reeve continued to advertise his issue separately into 1751. In 1755, a final reissue appears. This has neither Osborne's half title "Mr. Hoyle's Treatises" nor Reeve's title "The Accurate Gamester's Companion." It begins with a new section title for whist, still a "tenth" edition, but now with the imprint "London: printed for T. Osborne, at Gray’s-Inn; and sold by W. Reeve, in Fleet-Street, 1755." With this book, the long series of reissues ends; Osborne publishes a new edition, a new setting of type, in 1756.

    This has been an awkward set of books to sort out. In the next essay, I will discuss some of the issues I have glossed over here.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    The Fans of Hoyle

    Obviously my passion is for printed books, but my interest in Hoyle can lead in strange directions. One example is this nineteenth century token used for scoring at whist. The image was used on the cover of the issue of Script and Print that included my article on the Hoyle piracies.

    (click to enlarge)

    I recently found a couple of Hoyle items that are even more unusual. Pictured below is a lady's fan. Be sure to click for a larger photograph, as I've loaded high resolution images that you'll find rewarding!

    (click to enlarge)

    (click to enlarge)
    As you can see in the detail at right, it is titled The Games of Whist, Quadrille, Lansquenet and Quinze agreeable to the late Improvement on Hoyle. &cc. Hoyle??? Well, as much as I have studied Hoyle, I had no inkling that such things existed!

    This fan and another pictured below are now part of my collection. I have spent many years learning about printed books, but am a novice when it comes to fans. It turns out that under a 1735 law, English printed fans must bear the date of issue and the name of the publisher (de Vere Green, p76). Indeed this fan was published by T. B. on January 6, 1791. The mount is engraved and colored by hand, while the sticks are sandalwood.

    It will be an interesting project to determine how much of the text, which I've only just started to study, is Hoyle's. Hoyle never wrote on Lansquenet or Qunize, and those portions seem to be abridged from Hoyle's Games Improved, edited by Charles Jones (1775), discussed in an earlier essay.

    The sections on whist are a bit harder to track down. The text on the fan begins, "Begin with your strong suit. Sequences are always eligible leads." Is this a paraphrase of Hoyle who wrote in 1742 "When you lead, begin with the best suit in your hand; if you have a sequence of king, queen and knave, or queen, knave and ten, they are sure leads..."? (A Short Treatise on Whist, p.11)

    Perhaps the text was taken from William Payne, who wrote Maxims on the Game of Whist: (1773), borrowing liberally from Hoyle:
    1. Begin with the suit of which you have most in number...2. If you hold equal numbers in different suits, begin with the strongest...3. Sequences are always eligible leads. (pp.1-2).
    This sounds better. Certainly the use of "eligible" is suggestive. As noted earlier, Payne's text was incorporated into Hoyle's Games Improved in 1779. All of the whist texts are so similar that it will be difficult, I think, to identify a source definitively.

    The text on Piquet begins "To gain the point generally makes 10 points difference, therefore when you discard you must endeavor to gain it, but not risk the losing of the cards." This comes from A Short Treatise on Piquet (1744) where Hoyle wrote "To gain the point, generally makes ten points difference; therefore when you discard you must endeavor to gain it, but not risk the losing of the cards by so doing." (pp.4-5) But for Hoyle, this is his fifth general rule for piquet while the fan ignores Hoyle's first four rules.

    The fan is an example of the aide mémoire, "a particular class of fan which relies for its embellishment on the printing of information of a practical kind upon its mounts." These included cartographic, historic, and botanical subjects, as well as "words and music of songs, the rules and scoring for a game of cards, directions for the figures of country dances..." and so on. (de Vere Green, p.88).

    The  second fan has the same text, but the engraving is of a lesser quality. The sticks are lacquered in black and gold. No date or publisher appears, but as de Vere Green notes, the required information was almost always printed on the lower part of the mount and is often trimmed when pasted on the sticks. (p. 75). Or, I wonder suspiciously, was piracy as much a problem for fan makers as it was for booksellers?

    (click to enlarge)


    Bertha de Vere Green, Fans Over the Ages, A Collector's Guide. South Brunswick and New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1979.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Mr. Hoyle's Treatises (1748)

    The Osborne offering of Hoyle's writing changed dramatically on Monday, March 7, 1748. For context, here is the list of Osborne Hoyles available in 1745-7:
    As is clear from Osborne's advertising that the customer had the option of buying individual treatises for a shilling each or as a bound collection for five shillings. (See the notes below, for fuller references to earlier editions). Osborne indicated a new approach with an advertisement in the Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer on Saturday, March 5, 1748:

    (click to enlarge)

    Half title (1748)
    (click to enlarge)
    Individual treatises were no longer available—Osborne advertised only Mr. Hoyle's Games Compleat for the reduced price of 3s. In fact, the half title (pictured at left) for the volume read Mr. Hoyle's Treatises, rather the advertised title. Osborne continued to offer the Laws of Whist for 6d., rather than the 1s. he had asked previously. Hoyle's autograph was clearly still attractive to customers. Even though there had been no piracies since 1743, Osborne still warns against copies not autographed by Hoyle.

    (click to enlarge)
    The advertisement promised "thirteen new cases never before published at whist." Hoyle had new material on whist for the first time since An Artificial Memory in late 1744 (which Osborne had included in the treatise on whist, rather than as a separate title).

    There are a number of oddities in the physical book, although it appears to have been printed more or less as a whole. The collation formula suggests continuous printing: 12o: [A]2 B-D12 E6 F-L12. The pagination is a bit odd. There are four unnumbered pages (A1 recto: half title, A1 verso: Osborne advertisement for another book, A2 recto: section title for Whist, A2 verso" "To the Reader" autographed by Hoyle), followed by Whist on pages 1-84 (gatherings B through E). Quadrille begins in gathering F with three unnumbered pages followed by pages numbered from 100. The gap in numbering between Whist and Quadrille is strange—from that point, the book is numbered normally.

    The section titles, too, are curious. Whist is given as the "eighth" edition, Quadrille the "second", Piquet and Backgammon both the "third". One would expect Quadrille to be a "third" edition as well—Osborne had already published a second edition and this was a new setting of type. I had noted earlier that Osborne really should have called his 1745 Backgammon a second edition, and here Osborne called Backgammon a "third" as though the 1745 edition really were a second. In reality, however, this is the first edition of Mr. Hoyle's Treatises, and the designations for the sections are bibliographically meaningless as they were not published separately.

    The imprint "Printed for Thomas Osborne" appears on all but one of the section titles. The previous Osborne editions were all printed for T. Osborne; J. Hildyard at York; M. Bryson at Newcastle; and J. Leake at Bath. It appears that Osborne terminated the distribution arrangement with Bryson and Leake; Hildyard's name continues to appear on the advertisement, though not in the imprint. 

    It is Quadrille that has the odd section title. It still shows the old imprint with Osborne and the three distributors. It is the only one of the section titles to have a price, one shilling, suggesting a plan to sell it alone. There is at least one copy where Quadrille has page numbers 4-24 after the three unnumbered pages, followed by page 121-124! Sometimes the first gathering is signed as A and sometimes as F and often with a mixture of the two! Despite these variations, it is clear that the there is only one setting of type for the text of Quadrille.

    I am uncertain why Quadrille is so strange while the rest of the book is so regular and can only speculate about what happened. Perhaps Quadrille was initially planned as an individual treatise. Perhaps it was typeset from a copy of the second edition, and the compositor began with gathering A and page 1, changing them to F and 100, when it became clear how the book was to be issued. Perhaps the gap in page numbers between Whist and Quadrille was because the printer was waiting for the new cases on whist and didn't know how many pages would be required. Perhaps the type was saved and reprinted at another time—typically the pages would be saved, but the lines with page numbers and signature marks would not be, and thus might vary between impressions. I don't know that we'll ever be able to explain the makeup of this book with certainty.

    This is the first London edition of Hoyle to be issued with a collected title page. As we shall see in a future essay, this edition remains in print until late 1756, although it was reissued a number of times with various titles pages.


    I have written extensively the early publishing history of Hoyle in a number of essays:

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Were there Cogan collections of Hoyle?

    Previously, we have looked at collections of Hoyle issued by Osborne and the Ewings in publisher's bindings. That these are separate issues is evidenced by contemporary newspaper advertisements and, in some Ewing copies, a collected title page. The collateral evidence is supported by clues in the books themselves.

    Did Cogan issue collections of Hoyle? Nearly all of the surviving copies are individual treatises; none are common. Let us review the later individual treatises briefly:
    • Whist.4: The fourth edition, 1743 (advertised June 29, 1743)
    • Whist.5: The fifth edition, 1744 (not specifically advertised)
      • Memory: 1744 (advertised November 17, 1743)
      • Piquet: 1744 (advertised January 12, 1744)
      • Quadrille: 1744 (advertised October 13, 1744) 
      There are a handful of books that contain multiple Cogan editions bound together: three at the Bodleian Library, one at the Lilly Library at Indiana University, plus one or two others. Might any of these have been issued by Cogan in a publisher's binding? There are no newspaper advertisements suggesting that Cogan issued Hoyle as a collection, nor is there a collected title page in any of the surviving copies. We are left only with the evidence of the books themselves—and some information about how they came to be acquired.

      Two of the Bodleian volumes are from the Jessel collection, shelf marks Jessel f.580 and Jessel f.543. Jessel was a great collector of gaming literature and one if its most important bibliographers. Jessel purchased f.580 at the Sotheby's sale of the library of Colonel Lowsley1 on April 9, 1906. The catalogue description of lot 483 reads:
      Hoyle (E.) A Short Treatise of the Game of Quadrille, 1744; A Short Treatise of the Game of Piquet, 1744, FIRST EDITIONS, signed by the author; A Short Treatise on the Game of Back-Gammon, FIRST EDITION, 1743, a few headlines shaved, old calf in 1 vol.
      The description omits Whist.5 and Memory, which, as we shall see, must also have been present.

      Jessel attended the auction, buying some lots for himself and others through dealers. He annotated his copy of the auction catalogue (Bodleian Library, shelf mark Jessel e.1293) indicating the purchaser and price of each lot, and kept a list of all items that he purchased. His notes indicate that the bookseller Dobell purchased lot 483 for 6s, but Dobell must have been acting for Jessel, who's list of items bought includes lot 483:
      Hoyle. Quadrille. 1744
      --Whist 5th ed. 1744
      --Artificial memory. 1744
      Jessel includes Whist.5 and Memory, omitting Piquet and Backgammon, which, as we shall see, were of less interest to him. I believe that this lot is shelf mark f.580 because it is the only of the Bodleian copies in which Quadrille appeared first. Jessel has additional notes on the fly leaf of the f.580 itself:
      Containing Quadrille first edition, whist fifth edition (The only other copy known to be in existence is in the British Museum), An Artificial memory, first edition (the only copy recorded.) [All to be catalogued separately.] (duplicate) copies of Piquet and Backgammon, both first edition."
      The stricken text is Jessel's and echoes what happened to the book—he did something quite tragic and out of character. Jessel removed the first three treatises from the volume and had them bound individually in library bindings. Apparently when he acquired this book, he did not yet have these three treatises and wished to have them in separate bindings. Quadrille is now shelf mark Jessel f.583, Whist.5 Jessel f.542, and Memory Jessel f.586. Piquet and Backgammon, which he already owned, remain in the original binding, with the front board and the much of the spine flapping free where the other treatises had been. What a shame!

      Of these books, Whist is not autographed and the autograph from Quadrille does not look like Hoyle's signature. Compare the signature from Jessel f.583 (reproduced from ECCO) at left with a more typical signature at right.

      questionable Hoyle autograph
      Quadrille Jessel f.583
      typical Hoyle autograph

      A year later, Jessel purchased f.543, with the treatises appearing in the order Whist.5, Memory, Quadrille, Piquet, and Backgammon. Having seen the earlier volume, Jessel seems much more aware of what this book was. He wrote in it:
      These treatises are apparently in a contemporary binding and appear to me to have been issued bound together by F. Cogan. The Treatise on Whist is the only signed copy if the fifth edition known to be in existence. My separate copy and that in the British Museum, the only other copies recorded, are both unsigned. I have another copy of 'The Artificial Memory'; as far as I know, there are no others in existence. March, 1907
      Of course his "separate copy" of Whist.5 and other copy of Memory were those he removed from the first book, a book which is as likely to have been issued by Cogan as this book. One wonders whether, in writing this note, Jessel regretted what he had done to the other volume.

      The third Bodleian copy, shelf mark 12 Theta 1318, is not part of the Jessel collection, and appears to have been acquired much later. Its composition is the same as the previous book, with Piquet and Quadrille reversed. All treatises are autographed by Hoyle. It bears an undated note in a mid-20th century hand "Bot from Blackwell £2.2.0.”

      It seems probable that all three volumes were, as Jessel suggests about one of them, "issued bound together by F. Cogan."  The binding of all three books is similar: boards decorated with a double fillet, six spine compartments with a label in the second (except for F.580 which had been rebacked). They would have been issued sometime after October 1744 when the last of the books, Quadrille, was published.

      There is another candidate at the Lilly Library, shelf mark GV 1277 .h89 1743. It consists of Whist.4, Memory, Backgammon, and Piquet, all in a contemporary calf binding resembling the three from the Bodleian. Curiously, none of the treatises is autographed by Hoyle.

      An early (the earliest?) Cogan collection
      (click to enlarge)
      These four books make me wonder about a book in my collection. I have a copy of Whist.4 bound with Memory and Backgammon, all treatises signed. It is a contemporary binding quite similar to those discussed above (see picture at left). All have six panels on the spine, a label, and similar tooling. Could this be a Cogan collection as well? If so, it likely predates the January 1744 publication of Piquet.

      There is one other candidate that may be even earlier. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has Whist.4 bound with Backgammon, shelf mark GV 1277 H98 1743c GTE. Both treatises are autographed by Hoyle. Interestingly, the book has a fore-edge painting showing playing cards, which may be the reason that the binding is not original. I don't think we'll ever know whether the treatises were originally sold in a Cogan publisher's binding, perhaps earlier in 1743 when only Whist.4 and Backgammon were available, or bound together later. 

      The similarity of the contemporary bindings convinces me that the at least five Cogan collections of Hoyle survive. With the evidence about the Harry Ransom copy equivocal, I like to think of mine as the earliest collection of Hoyle.

      1Col. Barzillai Lowsley was a minor author and serious collector of gaming books and books related to Berkshire, England. He wrote Whist of the Future, London: Sonnenschein (1898).

      My copy, presented by the author to Lord Sherborne, is pictured above.