As I wrote last month, I started the online Hoyle bibliography in early September. I have drafted 99 book descriptions, with the hundredth likely to be uploaded today or tomorrow. This is not to say that the work is is 100% complete. There are aspects of style that I need to standardize among the descriptions. I need to proofread the quasi-facsimile transcriptions. Most importantly, there is a lot of text to be written discussing each book and how it fits into the canon. But I do have credible technical descriptions of many Hoyles. I expect the number to double by the time I am finished.
With all the work on book descriptions, I have been neglecting this blog. Some planned but unwritten essays include the first recorded hand at whist, discussed by Julian Laderman is his recent book Bumblepuppy Days: The Evolution from Whist to Bridge. I also want to write about a fantastic whist fan I saw at the Greenwich Fan Museum, a gem of a London destination. You may recall my earlier fan-related essays "The Fans of Hoyle" and "Unusual Bibliographical Evidence." And that is just the top of my long list...
So what is new in 2014? I'll discuss the best of the newcomers in the order they were published.
The next two books were published just a week apart, judging from newspaper advertisements. The rare reissue of Hoyle's Doctrine of Chances (see the essay "The Yorkshire Hoyles and the Doctrine of Chances") was advertised on December 24, 1760. I won't discuss it further here, but the book gets top honors among the 2014 acquisitions.
|1761 Essay on Chess|
In a charming coincidence, the day after, a copy of the chess essay appeared on eBay with a "buy-it-now" option. Of course I bought it! What is intriguing about this copy is that it is autographed not only by Edmond Hoyle and Thomas Osborne, but apparently by Richard Baldwin as well. You can see the ascenders in his signature, sadly trimmed in the course of binding. For a clear example of his signature, see the essay "The Doctrine of Chances." This book was first advertised on December 30, 1760, just six days after the reissue of Chances. Some copies of Chess have a final leaf with an advertisement for Chances; in mine, the leaf was removed prior to binding.
I tried to repeat the describe-it-then-buy-it experience the next day, but of course without success.
|1811 Pigott's New Hoyle|
The best "non-Hoyle" of the year is another example of a work published by Bob Short (a pseudonym of Robert Withy), or here, Bob Short Junior. I describe a number of these "Short Rules" here. This work, on draughts or checkers, was not written by Hoyle who never wrote about the game. Yet it carries the phrase Hoyle Abridged on the title page. I discuss another example of this phenomenon in the essay "A Research Trip to Cleveland." I like the fact that the book is in entirely original condition including the paper label on the cover.
|1828 Draughts (title)|
|1828 Draughts (cover)|
I've skipped a handful of other acquisitions: an early American edition of Hoyle, a French translation dated 1770 that has enough mystery about it to warrant its own essay, a 1796 Charles Jones Hoyle (discussed briefly here), and some duplicates that I snagged at auction for half the low estimate.
Having mentioned "A Research Trip to Cleveland", I note in passing that it is the most visited page on the blog, the only page with more than 500 visits. Overall, the blog has had 41,000 page visits and should reach the 50,000 milestone this summer.
Best wishes, all, for the holidays and the new year. What will 2015 add to the Hoyle collection?