So, what was this “Hoyle’s Games Modernized” that Ernest Bergholt edited? Well, I’ll tell you in this post . . .

The title pages of Ernest Bergholt’s card-game booklets for Goodall are among the most wordy in the field, in part because they tend to list many other works in which Bergholt was involved.  All four basic card-game booklets written by Bergholt for Goodall mention Bergholt as “Editor of Hoyle’s Games Modernized” — or words to that effect.  And, of course, that refers to certain editions of Hoyle’s Games Modernized beginning with the 1909 edition (which, by the way, was actually undated, though the title page says “Thoroughly Revised to 1909”).

However, the first edition, published in 1898, shows “Edited by Professor Hoffmann.”  That language is preserved in the 1909 edition, but the 1909 title page shows much more.

I should probably note that the 1898 Hoyle’s Games Modernized was not the first book to be published by Routledge under that title.  Beginning in (apparently) 1863, Routledge issued several printings of another book with that title.  The Bodleian Library catalog shows six printings in the 1860s and 1870s, beginning in 1863.  I do not know whether any of them were revised editions.  The Preface bears the initials “G.F.P,” and the work is  universally attributed to our George Frederick Pardon.  Here is what the title page (cropped) of one looks like (from Google Books):

Anyway, based on a glance at the introductory material, that appears to be a completely different book from the 1898 edition.

The Hoffmann version of Hoyle’s Games Modernized, as mentioned above, was a book which was first published by Routledge in 1898.  The book was dated 1898 on the title page, and it was discussed a little in The Bookseller, July 7, 1898, page 674, so it seems to me likely that 1898 was indeed the year of publication.

As far as I know, Bergholt’s name does not appear in the 1898 edition.  In his Preface, Hoffmann refers to “the present volume, which is based on articles of skilled writers in the Book of Card and Table Games [. . .].”

Now, to call Bergholt the “editor” of the 1909 edition may be a little bit of an overstatement, when one considers the normal implications of the word “editor.”  The title page does not say he edited the work, and indeed it indicates that Hoffmann edited it!  I have a feeling that Bergholt’s role in the revised edition of 1909 was completely described by his “Preface to the Revised Edition of 1909”:

The articles on Whist and Bridge have been re-written and brought thoroughly up-to-date.  Those on Billiards, Pool, and Snooker Pool have been completely revised, and all the recent changes in Rules have been either incorporated or quoted.  Entirely new chapters have been added on Auction Bridge, Five Hundred, Quinto, and Poker Patience.

For the articles specially written for this New Edition on Roulette and Trente et Quarante, the able pen of Captain Browning is responsible.

The wording of the title page of the 1909 edition strikes me as a little ambiguous.  You can view it here.  Here is a segment from it, from Google Books (from a copy in the UC Berkeley library):

I can’t say that I know what all of that means.  However, it does appear (to me) that the “thoroughly revised” refers mainly to the addition of the Auction Bridge material and the material on the “Three other New Games.”  Those games, by the way, are Five Hundred, Quinto, and Poker Patience.  And I believe that material was written by Bergholt.  I also believe that Bergholt provided the changes to the material on Whist, Bridge, Billiards, Pool, and Snooker Pool.  I am basing that mainly on Bergholt’s preface, quoted above.

And then it is clear what Captain Browning wrote (see the title page or Bergholt’s preface).

Other than the relatively small portions specified, I suspect that all, or almost all, of the work remained unchanged from the first edition.

Indeed, despite the fact that the title page says “New Edition (Reset),” most people would consider that to be baloney, since it appears that the first 165 pages are identical to those of the 1898 edition, except maybe for adding a period after one of the chapter titles.  Then, too, I suspect that no resetting of type took place on the unaltered articles, which comprise the majority of the rest of the work — but I have not really looked into that seriously.

At least some of the preceding paragraph is based on a comparison of the 1898 edition to a circa-1913 edition, which appears to be almost the same as the 1909 edition.  (The circa-1913 edition does add a discussion of what the book calls “Lilly” Bridge.)

I have quite a few copies of Hoyle’s Games Modernized, up to and including the circa-1913 edition.  I think I also have one or two later editions — after a while, the book changed quite a bit.

Now it is possible that in some way I have missed the boat, and maybe there is some way that one could say, using a reasonable sense of the words, that Bergholt edited the book.  I am in no way trying to undermine Bergholt, or minimize his role.  I am just describing, objectively I hope, some of what I have observed.  (I don’t really care one way or another what the relative roles of Hoffmann and Bergholt were.  I mean, I have no interest in promoting the role of one over another.)

—Tom Sawyer

Saturday, November 24, 2012

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