A possible answer to this question: “How necessary is Jessel in today’s day and age?”

This post contains one answer to the question, “How necessary is Frederic Jessel’s A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming, 1905, in today’s day and age?”

I threw in the phrase “in today’s day and age” almost to suggest that the book may have become obsolescent or outdated.

But in fact, I suspect that for collectors of books on card games, Jessel’s book has experienced increasing relevance and increasing necessity.  I cannot really address the general sphere of card-game booklets, but I think that conclusion is true for card-game booklets — and the same may apply to the broader area.

I just did a quick count, and it looks as though I have mentioned Jessel, or his bibliography (or both) in moe than fifty of the posts on this blog.  It looks as though David Levy has mentioned Jessel in eleven of the posts on his Edmond Hoyle, Gent., blog.  David says, in one of his posts, “Jessel remains the first place to look for nineteenth century and earlier gaming literature in English.”

Those who have copies of Trevor H. Hall’s book entitled Old Conjuring Books, from the early 1970s, may recall that Hall discusses Jessel’s bibliography in some depth, in favorable terms.

It’s interesting to me that Jessel’s bibliography remains so important well over a century after its publication.  I think it is a testimony to the work’s relative completeness, as well as its high level of accuracy, that it is still a leading bibliography today.  Also, of course, it shows Jessel’s dedication in compiling the work.

If Jessel were transported to “the present,” it would be interesting to see what contributions he would be making to the world of “card-game bibliography.”

—Tom Sawyer

Monday, February 4, 2013

About 262 words.

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