Monday, April 16, 2012

The Hoyle Copyright in Hoyle's lifetime

It is straightforward to trace the ownership of the Hoyle copyright during his lifetime. The imprint in the various books tells us the copyright owner or owners and evidence survives of transactions in the copyright to support what is seen on the imprints. Well, there is one mystery, but I am going to postpone its discussion until the next essay—here I'll focus on what is clear.  I focus on Hoyle's lifetime because of his unusual relationship with his publishers: not only was he frequently adding to the text of his whist treatise, but he was under contract with his publishers to autograph every copy of his work. (see my "Pirates, Autographs and a Bankruptcy" 144)

I've discussed some of the early history in other essays and in more detail in the my "Pirates" article: Hoyle self-published the first edition of the treatise on whist, registering the copyright in his name at Stationers Hall on November 17, 1742. In February 1743, he sold the copyright for 100 guineas to Francis Cogan. Hoyle wrote and Cogan published additional treatises on backgammon (registered June 28, 1743 in the names of Hoyle and Cogan), piquet (also registered in both names on January 11, 1744), and quadrille (not registered, though first advertised October 13, 1744). The financial arrangement between Hoyle and Cogan for the treatises other than Whist is unknown. 

"Sixth" edition of Whist
click to enlarge

In October 1745, bookseller Thomas Osborne bought the Hoyle copyright from the financially troubled Cogan. From 1745 to 1747 Osborne published the treatises both individually and bound together as collections. As shown from the imprint pictured to the right, he distributed the books outside of London through J. Hildyard in York, M. Bryson in Newcastle and J. Leake in Bath. As I discussed here, Osborne and the book trade thought of the collection of Hoyle as being protected by a single copyright, rather than separate copyrights for the individual works. 

"Eighth" collected edition
(click to enlarge)

Beginning in March 1748, Osborne published only an "eighth" collected edition, pictured at left, no longer offering the treatises individually. The collected edition was reissued many times as "ninth" and "tenth' editions with various imprints through 1755, sometimes by Osborne and sometimes by William Reeve who was a distributor, not an owner of the copyright. For a discussion of the reissues and a picture of a Reeve imprint, see this essay. The provincial distributors no longer appeared on the imprint (with the exception of the section title for Quadrilleanomalies in that book are discussed here), perhaps because of the relationship with Reeve. 

Before publishing the "eleventh" edition, advertised December 21, 1756 in the London Evening Post, Osborne had apparently sold off part of the copyright. The advertisement reads:
printed for Messrs. Osborne and Shipton, in Gray's Inn; J. Hodges, on London Bridge; and R. Baldwin, in Paternoster Row; and sold by all Booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland. 

"Eleventh" edition
(click to enlarge)
As we shall see from subsequent sales, Osborne Hodges, and Baldwin each owned a one-third share of the copyright. While the imprint of the "eleventh" edition, pictured at right, does not mention Shipton, it is apparent that Osborne had taken him on as a partner. A search of ESTC shows their names appear together on 46 imprints from 1755-7.

We have had a number of occasions to talk about the booksellers trade sales. When a bookseller left the trade, his property, both copyrights and physical books, might be auctioned to other booksellers. There was such a sale of the property of James Hodges on July 14, 1757. His one-third share of the Hoyle copyright did was not listed in the sale catalogue, but his 350 copies of "Hoyle's Games" were listed and went unsold. If Hodges had a one-third interest, he would have had one-third of the books printed some seven months earlier, suggesting a print run of perhaps 1250 or 1500 copies.

"Twelfth" edition
(click to enlarge)
With the "twelfth" edition, advertised December 23, 1760, we can infer what happened to Hodge's share of the copyright. The imprint, pictured at left, is "Printed for T. Osborne, in Gray's Inn; S. Crowder and Co. at the Looking-Glass, and R. Baldwin, at the Rose in Paternoster Row." Evidently, Stanley Crowder had obtained Hodges share. The same imprint appears on the Scotch edition of Hoyle, printed by Mundell & Son, discussed in detail here and here.

Crowder did not long own a piece of the Hoyle copyright. At another trade sale on April 21, 1763, lots 312 and 313 each offered a one-sixth share of "Hoyle's Games, Whist, &c." As seen in the extract of the annotated catalogue below, bookseller Henry Woodfall bought both lots, the first for £30, the second for £32 10s., making the full copyright worth £187 10s.

1763 auction of Hoyle copyright
(click to enlarge)

This transaction further brackets the date of the Mundell edition—it must have been printed before the copyright changed hands in April 1763.

"Thirteenth" edition
(click to enlarge)

The effect of this transaction is seen in the imprint of the "thirteenth" edition, advertised on December 13, 1763. As shown at right, the copyright owners are Osborne, Woodfall, and Baldwin.

At an unusually large trade sale, Thomas Osborne sold both copyrights and books on July 28, 1767.  He died a month later, suggesting that he left the trade as a result of poor health. His one-third share of the Hoyle copyright was broken into four one-twelfth shares and appeared as lots 132 through 135. The purchasers and proceeds were as follows:
  • Lot 132: Wilkie for £21
  • Lot 133: Woodfall for £22
  • Lot 134: Crowder for £22
  • Lot 135: Crowder for £22
In all, Osborne's one-third share sold for £87, making the value of the copyright £261. Given that Woodfall and Baldwin previously owned one-third shares, we expect the ownership to be Woodfall 5/12, Baldwin 4/12, Crowder 2/12, and Wilkie 1/12. The Osborne sale also offered copies of some of the individual treatises—310 copies of the obsolete Piquet, 200 copies of the Doctrine of Chances (discussed here) and 325 copies of The Laws of Whist (discussed here). These lots went unsold and the books were likely scrapped.

Later that year, a "fourteenth" edition appeared, first advertised in St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post of December 12, 1767. The imprint in the book is unchanged from the "thirteenth" edition, but the advertisement is more revealing:
"Printed by assignment from T. Osborne, for H. Woodfall, R. Baldwin, and S. Crowder, in Patern-noster-row, and J Wilkie, No 71, in St. Paul's Church Yard."  
The "assignment" of the copyright was the result of the July sale, listing the booksellers in order of their shares of ownership.

The "fourteenth" edition was the last published in Hoyle's lifetime, as he died in 1769.After Hoyle's death, the traded shares become smaller and much harder to trace. The table below summarizes the ownership of the Hoyle copyright through the "fourteenth" edition:
  • 1742 Whist first edition. Hoyle 100%
  • 1743-5 Whist "second" through "fifth" editions and other individual treatises. Cogan 100%
  • 1745-7 Whist "sixth" and "seventh" editions and other individual treatises. Osborne 100% with Hildyard, Bryson, and Leake as distributors
  • 1748-1755 Games "eighth" through "tenth" editions. Osborne 100% with Reeve as a distributor
  • 1756 Games "eleventh" edition. Osborne (with his partner Shipton) 1/3, Hodges 1/3, Baldwin 1/3
  • 1760 Games "twelfth" edition. Osborne 1/3, Crowder 1/3, Baldwin 1/3
  • 1763 Games "thirteenth" edition. Osborne 1/3, Woodfall 1/3, Baldwin 1/3
  • 1767 Games "fourteenth" edition. Woodfall 5/12, Baldwin 4/12, Crowder 2/12, Wilkie 1/12

We are fortunate that so much documentation of transactions in the Hoyle copyright survives. The transactions explain the imprints we see on the books themselves, or sometimes the statements of ownership appearing in contemporary advertisements. It is also interesting to see some data on the value of the copyright. Cogan paid (overpaid, I argued in "Pirates") £110 for Whist alone, while the full copyright was worth £187 10s. in 1763 and £288 in 1767. Hoyle was clearly a valuable property for the London booksellers trade.

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