The answer to this question: “How many card-game rule-booklets did Professor Hoffmann write for Charles Goodall & Son?”

There are some problems in determining exactly how many different card-game rule-booklets Professor Hoffmann (Angelo J. Lewis, 1839-1919) wrote.  According to the evidence I have seen so far, in my opinion that number is “sixteen.”

A purist might contend that he wrote as few as fourteen, and a liberal inclusionist might extend the number to nineteen.

But to me, it is pretty clear that if the question is, “Hey, how many different card-game rule-booklets did Professor Hoffmann write,” the answer is “sixteen,” but I would not say that “fourteen” or “fifteen” would be wrong.

To say that there were more than sixteen, well, that would require a very liberal attitude.

You may ask, “Tom, how can there possibly be such a wide range?”  I will explain my view.

First of all, there is the question of whether Bridge Whist is a different book from Bridge.  One could persuasively argue that the editions titled Bridge Whist and the editions titled Bridge are simply the same book under different titles.  After all, I think it is pretty clear that the “Ninth Edition” of Bridge includes in its edition-numbering the early editions of Bridge Whist.  That is, the first version titled Bridge did not begin a new numbering-sequence of editions — I have mentioned this a number of times in this blog.

Nonetheless, I consider the two books (Bridge Whist and Bridge) to be separate books.  If you decide to treat them as “one book,” that’s fine with me, and I could not say that you were demonstrably wrong.  But to me, they are different works.  I have a copy of Bridge Whist dated 1901.  It has 15 pages of text (same number as the 1899 first edition, per Jessel, though Jessel did not call that the first).  [And, as it turns out, it was not the first; as discussed elsewhere in this blog, David Levy has a copy dated 1895.]  In 1903, the “Ninth Edition” of Bridge appeared.  (Actually, as I have discussed elsewhere, it appears that this was the ninth edition of Bridge Whist, which had now changed its title.)  It had 41 pages.  To me, it is the first edition of Bridge.

I do not know what kind of transition there was (if any) between the 15-page work and the 41-page work, as far as the text goes.  I know that copies of the Ninth Edition, with the title Bridge on the title page, exist with covers showing the title as Bridge Whist.  If I learn (for example) that the eighth edition also had 41 pages, I would have to revise the forgoing view.

Anyway, Bridge Whist and Bridge count as two books (for me).

Or consider Hoffmann’s Rubicon Bezique.  A number of printings were combined with Camden’s Bezique.  Yes, it is an interesting fact of book production that the two books were ultimately issued as one.  But that does not make the Hoffmann text a different book.  If you say, “Hoffmann wrote such and such a quantity of books,” the appearance of a combined edition of one of those books with another book does not mean that Hoffmann wrote one more book.  For that very clear reason, I do not consider it a separate book.  On the other hand, if you are putting together a representative collection of Hoffmann’s card-game rule-booklets, you are definitely going to want at least one copy of the combined edition.  (Likewise, by the way, even if you consider Bridge to be the same work as Bridge Whist, your collection would be highly deficient without an early copy of Bridge, preferably the “Ninth Edition.”)

Anyway, Rubicon Bezique and Rubicon Bezique and Bezique count as one book by Hoffmann.  To me, this is not subjective.

As for Original Round Games, I don’t have any proof that it appeared other than as the cover title of Hoffmann’s Schnapps, and Other Original Round Games.  Unless I see something to the contrary, I am concluding that Original Round Games, and Schnapps, and Other Original Round Games are the same book.  So, Original Round Games, and Schnapps and Other Original Round Games count as only one book.  Again, this is not subjective.

Selected Patience Games could be considered as basically a repetition of material in two of Hoffmann’s other booklets, but still I count it as a separate title.  As in the situation with Bridge Whist and Bridge, this is a subjective call.  If someone wants to exclude Selected Patience Games from his or her list of works by Hoffmann, that is fine.  As a matter of fact, that makes a lot of sense.  But it is hard to argue against the existence of so many copies of a booklet that appeared in a format that was so similar to the others.  Moreover, the selection of the games was probably done by Hoffmann, and he did write a new introduction for the work.

Also, I would include all of Hoffmann’s booklets on progressive card games as being different versions of the “same” book, even though there were three different titles, and somewhat different contents in each.  This is what I would call a semi-objective conclusion. But I can see that someone could easily say, “If you consider Bridge Whist and Bridge to be separate works, then you have to consider Progressive Whist, Hearts, & Euchre to be different from Progressive Whist, Bridge, Hearts, and Euchre.”  However, the argument for counting Progressive Card Games[:] Whist, Bridge, Hearts, Euchre, and Solo-Whist as a separate work rests on rather flimsy grounds.  (I doubt that Hoffmann wrote the Solo-Whist section, because the prefatory remarks dealing with the addition of Solo-Whist came from the publisher, and not Hoffmann.)

That would mean that, according to my reckoning, Professor Hoffmann wrote a total of sixteen different card-game rule-booklets for Goodall.

In the above analysis, I have pretty much ignored the concept of revisions of earlier editions, which could complicate matters, variations in titles on covers, various printings, and so on.

The following is “my list” of the sixteen card-game rule-booklets written by Professor Hoffmann and published by Goodall.

Auction Bridge

Bridge

Bridge Varieties

Bridge Whist

Ecarte

Five Hundred

Hearts, Heartsette and Ombre

Piquet

Progressive Whist, Hearts, and Euchre

Rubicon Bezique

Patience

Patience (Second Series)

Patience With the Joker

Progressive Whist, Hearts, & Euchre

Schnapps, and Other Original Round Games

Selected Patience Games

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