Frederic Jessel makes another appearance: “The Laws of Six-Pack Bezique or Chinese Bezique,” 1921, published by Goodall — also, a brief criticism of the Bodleian Library catalog . . .

I don’t usually like relying on library catalogs for much of anything, though they can definitely be helpful.  But one of the problems is exemplified by certain entries in the Bodleian Library catalog, as to Frederic Jessel.  It’s as though they go through all the trouble of fielding a football team, and of moving the ball to the one-inch line, but they don’t try to put the ball into the end zone.

If you search for Frederic Jessel, you find a list of sixteen items.  Two of the entries are for copies of Jessel’s bibliography.  None of the others were written by Jessel.  The others appear to be mainly books from Jessel’s collection.

If you are smart enough to search for F. Jessel, you will find six items — none of which have anything to do with our man.

However, if you are clever enough to search for Six-Pack Bezique, you will find five listings, three of which have to do with Jessel.  They show the name “Jessel, F.”  The listings are for The Laws of Six-Pack Bezique or Chinese Bezique — two are shown as 1921, and one as [1922].

From the listings, you might think that Jessel authored the items.  But when you click for more information, you find that the work was edited by Jessel.

One of the 1921 items is apparently a “proof” of the booklet.  That’s interesting!

So, here are a few problems with the Bodleian entries.  Some of these may or may not be imagined.  (Each entry has at least two links you can click for further information–so, in effect, there are at least nine entries.)  So, these are more like impressions.  But if they don’t apply exactly in the three Jessel entries under discussion, they do apply somewhere in the Bodleian Library catalog!

1.  The entries are inconsistent with respect to information shown.  For example, two have zero intimation of publisher.

2.  The entries abbreviate Jessel’s first name — I doubt that his first name is shown as “F.” on the actual title page.  If I am wrong on this, I am wrong.  But the entries don’t appear to show “Frederic” anywhere.

3.  The entries do not show the size of the booklets.

4.  The entries so not show the number of pages.

5.  The entries do not show the publisher, although as to the [1922] copy, a Goodall series is mentioned.

But is that where this post ends?  NO WAY!

Below are a couple of scans related to a copy of the booklet showing “1/38” at the lower-left corner of the inside front-cover, which very likely means January 1938.  The years 1932, 1935, and 1936 appear in advertisements shown.

The booklet is outside of the normal scope of this blog, because it is mainly a De La Rue item (though Goodall’s name also appears on the title page), and it is much later than the usual date range of this blog.


It is interesting to see the list of booklets on the inside back-cover.  One sees “Angelo Lewis,” but not Professor Hoffmann.  Also shown are two Ernest Bergholt booklets, though the titles may not be stated precisely.  Based on the listing, one would conclude that the glory days of card-game booklets had passed!  (Indeed, they had!)

The booklet accompanied a Bezique set.  The set has six packs of cards — including six Jokers and six cards headed “Contract Scoring.”  The set also includes two markers (with fold-up pegs).  The front and back covers of the booklet are a plain brown fabric, which matches part of the interior of the set.

—Tom Sawyer

November 7, 2012

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