Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Advertisements

It's been a four month hiatus. I continue to make excellent progress on longer projects, but don't want to neglect this blog entirely. I have been trolling through 18th century newspaper advertisements and wanted to present two brief findings that I found exciting.

An unrecorded Scottish Hoyle?

The Scottish Hoyle
In the essay "The Scottish Hoyles (part I)," I discuss the undated edition of Hoyle's Games printed by Mundell and Son in Edinburgh, pictured at left. It is the only recorded edition of Hoyle to be published in Edinburgh during Hoyle's lifetime. Textually, it has all the updates from the twelfth edition (1760), but not from the thirteenth (1763), which would seem to bracket the publication date.

I conclude the essay by saying:
As to the dating, I...would like to find contemporary advertisements in Edinburgh newspapers. As of yet, I have not, but I am persistent...
Well, sometimes persistence pays off. Or not. Please help me decide. I did find a contemporary advertisement for an Edinburgh publication of Hoyle, but the advertisement raises more questions than it answers:

Caledonian Mercury of June 20, 1767
(click to enlarge)

Three things are strange. First is the date, 1767, rather later than I expected for the Mundell printing. Second, the title of the book is Hoyle on Whist, not the expected Hoyle's Games. Finally, the price is given as 6d. while the title page for the Mundell printing is 3s. What is going on?

I tried to identify the other advertised books to get a sense of how accurate the descriptions were:
  • There is a 7 volume 1767 London edition of Voyages, Discoveries, and Travels. ESTC T113577.
  • Barrow's 10 volume History of England seems to be dated 1763 rather than 1764. ESTC T174499.
  • Various editions of The Dictionary of Arts and Sciences appear to be in three volumes rather than four. 
  • There was a ten volume Shakespeare published in Edinburgh in 1767. ESTC  T138600.
  • Buchanan's two volume History of Scotland was published in Edinburgh in 1766. ESTC T96149.
  • I would have to do a lot more digging to identify the book of Scots poems. 
  • Ajax's speech is ESTC T164824.
  • Solyman and Almena is ESTC T134591.
  • There is a London, not Edinburgh publication of Watts' Catechisms in 1764. ESTC N36519.
  • The work by Professor Meston is ESTC T91401.
All in all, the details in the advertisement appear to be rather accurate. The short titles are not always what is recorded in ESTC, but the dates are generally correct. I'd have to do a lot more work to verify prices.

So, perhaps this IS an advertisement for the Mundell Hoyle. It would not be an astonishing error if the title were advertised as Whist instead of Hoyle's Games. Further, if the Mundell Hoyle were published in the early 1760s, perhaps the price was lowered from 3s. to 6d. On the other hand, there is that 1767 date in the advertisement...

I'm left to wonder, is there a 1767 Scottish printing of Hoyle's Whist that is unrecorded?

Advertising a Piracy?

One would expect that pirates would not generally advertise their works. Sure, they'd like to inform the public about their book, but why alert the copyright holder? One interesting exception is the 1743 "Webster" piracy of Hoyle's Whist. At the time of the advertisement, the first edition had sold out and the second edition had yet to appear. In fact the printer advertised the book. You can read about it in "Pirates, Autographs, and a Bankruptcy."

I just discovered a second example. In "Hoyle in the Public Domain, Yet Pirates Persist" I dismiss the editions of Hoyle's Games Improved, edited by Thomas Jones as a piracy of the work edited by Charles Jones. Both the name Thomas Jones and that of the publisher, T. Wood or W. Wood are invented names to hide the identity of the pirates.

It is not surprising, then, that I have found more than 100 advertisements for the Charles Jones edition, but none for that of Thomas Jones. Until a few days ago...

The Ipswich Journal, April 11, 1778

I like this advertisement, because it shows the book was in print as early as April 1778 and because it shows a price of 2s., less than the 1775 Charles Jones edition which sold for 3s.

Why did Philip Deck advertise a piracy? The advertisement appeared in a paper published about 90 miles northeast of London, The Ipswich Journal. Deck's shop was in the town of Bury St. Edmunds, 30 miles northwest of Ipswich. It seems likely that being so far removed from London, he did not know it was a piracy, or simply did not care. It is fascinating to see evidence of the pirate's distribution network outside of London.