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.

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