Monday, April 30, 2012

More on the Hoyle Copyright

This essay will present some additional short topics about the Hoyle copyright:
  1. The mystery solved?
  2. An interesting note in another trade sale catalogue
  3. The "fifteenth" and "sixteenth" editions of Hoyle's Games
  4. The copyright after Hoyle entered the public domain
1. In the last essay, I presented the mystery of the Hoyle copyright. Pictured below is a snippet from a booksellers' trade sale catalogue dated January 13, 1747 which seemed to show that bookseller Charles Corbett purchased the rights to Hoyle's Games for 50 guineas. The transaction is mysterious because, as I discuss here, bookseller Thomas Osborne Jr. had sole ownership of the copyright from 1745 until 1755.

January 13, 1747 trade sale

I presented the mystery to the august members of two book history lists, EXLIBRIS-L and SHARP-L. Three people made the identical suggestion, noting a stray ink mark in the lot prior to Hoyle, between the words "Two-" and "ninths." Could the 1747 sale have been for a two-ninths share of Aesop's Fables in Greek and Latin? That question sent me to ESTC looking for Aesop.

The last edition published before the auction is Aesop's Fables. Latin and Greek. London: T. Osborne, E. Wicksteed, C. Bathurst, & J. Pote (1739). The T. Osborne here is Osborne Sr., the father of the Hoyle publisher Osborne Jr. The imprint is consistent with the fact that the 1747 sale was for property belong to Osborne Sr. and Wicksteed. If the next edition showed Corbett on the imprint the mystery would be solved!

Alas, the 1749 edition is Eton, printed only for J. Pote. Indeed Osborne and Wicksteed are off the imprint as expected—it was their share sold at auction. Also missing is Bathurst; Corbett is not to be found. It could be that Corbett resold the copyright between 1747 and 1749. I intend to look at contemporary newspaper advertisements to see if I can learn more about how the book was marketed. For now, it is possible, if not likely, that the annotation was for the Aesop translations and not for Hoyle.

2. In the same essay on the "mystery," I referred to a trade sale of October 14, 1746 in which Wicksteed sold stock formerly belonging to Thomas Osborne Sr. I did not include the interesting snippet pictured below. Lots 25-9 are individual Hoyle treatises and the Hoyle collection (books, not copyrights). As I note  in that essay, these items, unsold here, were later sold at the subsequent 1747 Wicksteed/Osborne Sr. sale. What is interesting is the note afterward that the books are returnable should a new edition with additional material be published.

October 14, 1746 trade sale
It's not completely certain that note in item 30 refers to the Hoyles, but it seems likely, particularly as Osborne Jr. continued to have Hoyle add to the text of Whist. It also confirms that Osborne Jr. was somehow involved in the sale of his father's stock at the 1746 and 1747 trade sales as only he could offer to "upgrade" the books in question.

3. My essay on the Hoyle copyright focused on Hoyle's lifetime, through the "fourteenth" edition of Hoyle's Games. When that book was published in late 1767, the copyright was worth £288 and owned in the following shares: Woodfall 5/12, Baldwin 4/12, Crowder 2/12, Wilkie 1/12.  Hoyle died in 1769 and two more editions were published with his autograph appearing as a woodblock.

It is quite difficult to trace the ownership of the copyright beyond the "fourteenth" edition. The largest owner, Henry Woodfall, died in 1768. The only additional transaction I have found is that on February 5, 1771, Lowndes bought a 1/12 share from Baldwin for £22 15s, likely equalizing each of their shares as 3/12. That sum would make the entire copyright worth £273, a bit less than the value a few years earlier when Hoyle was still alive and adding to the work. By the time of the "fifteenth" edition (advertised Nov 12, 1771) there were ten booksellers on the imprint:
Imprint for the "fifteenth" edition
of Hoyle's Games
The "sixteenth" edition, advertised June 9, 1775, had even more booksellers sharing the wealth:

Imprint for the "sixteenth" edition
of Hoyle's Games
4. After the end of perpetual copyright, discussed here, there were still transactions in the Hoyle copyright. Largely the same group of booksellers who published the "sixteenth" edition were responsible for Hoyle's Games Improved, edited by Charles Jones, first published in 1775:
Imprint for Hoyle's Games Improved, 1775

The Jones edition of Hoyle is hugely important in the market, and I have discussed it many times. I have found documentation of nowhere near enough transactions to trace the ownership shares, as the Jones edition stayed in print until 1826. I do know that Lowndes bought a 1/72 share of Hoyle's Games Improved in 1778 for £1 15, making the copyright worth £126. With Hoyle's text in the public domain, one sees a further diminution in value of the copyright.

Fortunately, beginning with the edition of 1800, we can identify the ownership shares from the Longman archive, as I discuss here.

The only other Hoyle I can find in the booksellers' trade sales is the New Pocket Hoyle, first published in 1802 by Wynne and Scholey, discussed here. In June 1803, James Wallis bought a one-third share of the New Pocket Hoyle 2nd and all subsequent editions for eight guineas. That transaction is a bit odd, as Wallis was on the imprint of the first edition, but perhaps his initial ownership was for that edition only.


Putting these four topics together with the previous essays on the Hoyle copyright, we see that there through the early 19th century were three distinct copyrights that were recognized by the London trade: the original copyright in Hoyle's Games, that for Jones's Hoyles Games Improved. The copyright was most valuable during Hoyle's lifetime when the possibility of additional text was still possible and when the common law perpetual copyright governed the trade.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mystery of the Hoyle Copyright

Updated April 30, 2011 with a link to a possible answer.

This essay is a plea for help. What does a researcher do when confronted with a piece of unexplainable data?

In my previous essay, I trace the Hoyle copyright throughout his lifetime and presented the following conclusions about ownership:
  • 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
In that essay, I noted a hint of mystery about the Hoyle copyright, which, as promised, I describe here. The mystery comes from a booksellers' trade sale of January 13, 1747. A single copy of the catalogue survives at the Bodleian Library, titled: 
A Catalogue of Books in Quires, and Copies, Which will be Sold to a Select Number of Booksellers, at the Queen's-Head Tavern in Pater-Noster-Row, on Tuesday the 13th of January, 1746-7, beginning at Twelve o"clock.
The catalogue contains annotations by a member of the Ward family of London booksellers made during the auction, recording purchasers and prices realized. The mystery is lot 47, the copyright for Hoyle's Games, with a manuscript annotation showing the purchase by bookseller Charles Corbett for 52£ 10s.:

January 13, 1747 catalogue, p4.
(click to enlarge)
It is clear that Thomas Osborne (actually, as we shall see below, Thomas Osborne Jr.) owned the copyright from 1745 and beyond, both before the sale and after. What can we make of the offer for sale and of the apparent purchase by Corbett?

I have written a number of essays mentioning the booksellers' trade sales; they have received a great deal of attention from book historians. Much of the foundational work was by Terry Belanger who concluded that while there can be occasional difficulties in interpreting the transactions in copyrights (Belanger 43-5), they are generally quite clear (64), and match what is found in the imprints of books. That has been my experience with Hoyle with the exception of the annotation showing the sale to Corbett. Is this annotation one of the "occasional difficulties" destined to remain unexplained, or does anyone have any suggestions for further research?

A secondary mystery is who was the seller of copyrights at the January 1747 sale and how did Hoyle come to be included? Generally, the trade sales were for the property of a single bookseller, perhaps bankrupt, retiring, or deceased. There is mixed evidence of the seller's identity for this sale.

One view is that the seller is bookseller Edward Wicksteed selling copyrights once belonging to Thomas Osborne Sr. In 1744, Osborne Sr. left the trade, selling many of his books and copyrights at a trade sale on February 9, 1744 (the catalogue is described here). Osborne Sr. died in 1744, leaving the rest of his stock to his son Thomas Jr. (Brack in the DNB). Belanger (232, 236-8) observes that Wicksteed purchased many of  the Osborne Sr. copyrights at the 1744 sale, subsequently reselling them at trade sales on October 14, 1746 and January 13, 1747.

A second view comes from an inscription in the Bodleian copy of the January 1747 trade sale catalogue. The Wards frequently noted the seller at the front of the catalogue and in this, one of the Wards wrote in ink "T. Osborne." It could be that Ward thinks of these as the Osborne copyrights, even though Osborne had died and they were being sold by Wicksteed. Perhaps the inscription refers to Osborne Jr. who was selling copyrights once belonging to his father, but included some of his own as well, including the Hoyle copyright.

I haven't done the work to identify the seller. It would consist of going carefully through the 99 lots of copyrights at the 1747 sale (many of which included many individual copyrights bundled as a lot), identifying the work from the short title, and looking at imprints and newspaper advertisements to identify the copyright holders before and after the sale, much as I did in the last essay.

[Aside: It must be considered that it was Thomas Osborne Sr. who purchased the Hoyle copyright from Francis Cogan and left it to his son Thomas Jr. This seems overwhelming unlikely. Osborne Sr. left the trade with his trade sale in February 1744. Cogan continued publish Hoyle through at least October 1744 and his advertisements continued until January 1745. There is a contract between Hoyle and Osborne Jr. dated November 20, 1745 in which Osborne Jr. agrees to pay Hoyle to autograph copies of his book. That contract recites "Whereas Mr. Thomas Osborne hath acquired all the right, title and interest of Francis Cogan" in the Hoyle copyright and later says that Hoyle has agreed to autograph the books "in consideration for Mr. Thomas Osborne's paying in hand..." the sum of L25. While the document never specifies Jr. or Sr., it is not credible that the first reference is to Osborne Sr. and the second to Osborne Jr.] 
Regardless of who was the primary seller, I suspect that Thomas Osborne Jr. included the Hoyle copyright in the sale with the agreement of Wicksteed. Either Corbett agreed to purchase it and the transaction was not consummated, or there was an error in annotation by the Wards. I'd be thrilled to hear other suggestions.

A final note of interest about from 1747 trade sale. In addition to offering the Hoyle copyright, some Hoyle books were listed for sale:

January 13, 1747 catalogue, p1.
(click to enlarge)

Whist would have been for the "sixth" edition published by Osborne in 1746, or perhaps the "seventh" of 1747. Piquet and Quadrille would have been either Osborne's reissues of Cogan's publications (1745) or his own new editions of 1746. Backgammon would have been Osborne's 1745 London edition. For a further discussion of these works see here. Lot 50, Hoyle's Pieces Compleat, would have been one of the Osborne collections, discussed here.

The quantities offered for sale are small compared to what must have been printed and would not have been Osborne Jr.'s entire stock. For example we know that 310 copies of Piquet were offered at his trade sale of July 28, 1767, and the book had not been reprinted after 1746. Only 25 copies are offered here. Likely, these books are from the stock of Osborne Sr. Interestingly, no copies of the separately-published Laws of Whist or the Artificial Memory are offered—perhaps Osborne Sr. did not purchase any from his son.

These annotations provide data about the retail markup for the books. Doing the division, we see that Whist sells for .62s., Piquet for .44, and Quadrille and Backgammon for .56. They each retailed for 1s. Similarly the collection realized 2.4s. per copy wholesale and retailed for 5s. Retail prices are roughly double the wholesale prices. Finally, it appears that Osborne Jr. bought three of the five lots himself. William Reeves, who was to reissue Hoyle from 1748 to 1755 as discussed here, is seeing buying copies of Piquet a year earlier.

Now, can anyone assist with my mystery?

  • Terry Bellanger. Booksellers' Sales of Copyright: Aspects of the London Book Trade 1718-1768, unpublished Columbia University dissertation (New York, 1970).
  • O. M. Brack, ‘Osborne, Thomas (bap. 1704?, d. 1767)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 15 April 2012]. 

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.

      Monday, April 2, 2012

      Hoyle in French

      Updated July 21, 2014. See this essay for a subsequent important discovery! 

      Hoyle was appeared in French more often than any other translation, yet interestingly, it was only one of his works, the whist treatise, that appeared in French. Backgammon was never popular in France—the national version of tables was trictrac. Piquet, Chess, and Quadrille had their own literature in France, dating back to the 17th century.  I have complied a list of 29 editions of Hoyle's whist treatise in French, plus another dozen appearance in French gaming anthologies. The first was printed for A. Wagner fils in 1761, well after Whist was translated into Portuguese (1753) or German (1754).

      These books are much less common in the American and British libraries I have visited, so I have seen very few of the books. This essay, then, will be a survey of some examples from my collection. For a fuller treatment, both of the Hoyles, and the literature on Piquet and Quadrille, see Les Loix des Jeux by Thierry Depaulis, described here. See also the article by Zollinger on whist rules in continental Europe. For the French literature on trictrac, see here.

      One would expect that nearly all of the French books were printed in Paris, but in fact the imprints are numerous: Amsterdam, Turin, The Hague, Vienna, Brussels, and Liege are all found. There is reason to believe that the Amsterdam editions were printed in Paris, but used a false imprint to avoid the requirement of a printing privilege.

      Three examples are shown below. In all cases the text was not as current as it might of been, coming from the 1748 London edition, rather than the 1760. Of the books printed below, I find the 1764 Alamanach particularly charming. It is an unusual format, a 24mo in eights and fours, producing a small pocket-sized book. The Turin example is particularly well printed. The later Belgium imprint contains text on other games, none of them by Hoyle.

      1764 Amsterdam
      1794 Liege
      1765 Turin

      Gaming anthologies have a much longer history in France than they do in England. A series called La Maison des Jeux appeared from 1654 until the early 18th century, incorporating separately published works on games such as piquet and trictrac, as well as providing original material. The approach continued with other anthologies such as the Académie Universelle des Jeux, appearing from 1718 throughout the 18th century, and with many changes, into the 19th and beyond. New texts, as they appeared, were incorporated into the anthologies. The experience is the opposite of England, where the anthologies began with Hoyle, who was "improved" with the addition of other games by other authors (see the discussion here).

      The Académie, below at left, is augmented by the game of chess by Philidor and by the game of whist, by Edmond Hoyle, translated from the English. Le Noveau Joueur, with a size much like the 1764 Almanach and its lovely title page in red and black, gives authorship to "Ed. H. & Th. K. Joueurs expérimentés." 

      1770 Académie
      1796 Le Noveau Joueur

      The conclusion is that Hoyle's whist treatise was extraordinarily popular in the French-speaking world and that the name of Hoyle had enough name recognition that it was included on title pages of works that were otherwise largely anonymous.