Friday, July 15, 2011

Every Cancel Tells a Story, Don't It (part 3)

In 1743 and 1744, Francis Cogan published five books by Hoyle: "second" through "fifth" editions of Whist, An Artificial Memory for Whist (see my earlier post),  Backgammon, Piquet, and Quadrille. In 1745, Thomas Osborne bought the Hoyle copyright from Francis Cogan. For the story, see my article "Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy." It turns out that Osborne must also have bought some unsold copies from Cogan as well. Every cancel tells a story...

The publication history of Piquet is rather odd. It was first published by Cogan in 1744. There is a 1745 edition "printed for Thomas Osborne" with no statement of edition, followed by a "second" edition printed for Osborne in 1746. Quadrille follows the identical pattern. Osborne followed Cogan's "fifth" edition of Whist with "sixth" and "seventh" editions. Osborne incremented the edition number for Whist, but not Piquet or Quadrille. Why?

A bibliographer would say that Osborne's edition statements were all correct. His "sixth" edition of Whist was a later setting of type from Cogan's "fifth". On the other hand, the 1745 versions of Piquet and Quadrille were from the same setting of type as the Cogan's-- reissues with cancelled title pages (one of which is pictured at left). We can infer, then, that Osborne bought unsold copies of Piquet and Quadrille from Cogan. Osborne's "second" editions were reset and therefore new editions.

There was an additional oddity in Osborne's reissue of Quadrille. Look at the image below of page 44 and the facing page. There is the catchword "To" at the bottom of the left hand page, so one would expect "To" to be the first word on the next page.

(click to enlarge)
Circled in red is the stub of a cut out page. Reference to Cogan's edition of Quadrille provides an answer. Page 44 concludes the text, but after it was an unnumbered page with a  note "To the Reader," explaining the catchword. On the verso of that page was an advertisement for Cogan's "fourth" edition of Whist. At the time, Osborne was selling a "sixth" edition of Whist and would not want to confuse the public about what was available. Osborne instructed the binder not only to cancel the title page, but to delete the leaf after page 44. The deletion is another fact about the physical book that a bibliographer must observe, record, and, one hopes, explain.

Osborne was not always precise about his edition statements. Cogan published Backgammon in 1743 and I've never seen any hint of a reissue by Osborne. In fact Osborne published an edition in 1745 with a new setting of type. A bibliographer would call that a second edition. Osborne did not.

It is certainly possible that Cogan sold Osborne copies of Whist, Artificial Memory, and Backgammon as well and that Osborne reissued those with his own title page. If so, none have survived, but the reissues of Piquet and Quadrille let us infer that Osborne bought more than just the Hoyle copyright from Cogan.

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