Comments on an obituary notice that mentions Professor Hoffmann as an “inventor of card games,” and which mentions almost nothing else!

When Professor Hoffmann is mentioned, it is often noted that he was a writer on magic.  That is his main “claim to fame.”  There are exceptions to that, for instance in this blog, where that is rarely mentioned.  Also, Professor Hoffmann seems to have developed reputations in the chess world and in the puzzle world that are not related to his magic reputation.

But, apart from posts in this blog, Hoffmann is almost never considered solely as a man involved with card games.  Yes, I suppose that there are expected exceptions to this, for instance in old advertisements for works such as The Modern Hoyle or Hoyle’s Games Modernized.

Still, in any kind of obituary notice relating to Hoffmann, one would expect a reference different from the one pictured below.

Hoff obit 2 5 13ab adj

The item was pasted into a copy of one of the separate parts (published separately) of the larger work Modern Magic.   Now, you might say, “Wow, Tom, that’s an unusual item  How did you happen to come into possession of that?”

Well, first of all, it is a photocopy.  (Sown above is actually a segment of the photocopy.)  J.B Findlay sent it to me back in 1972, when we were working on Professor Hoffmann:  A Study, a little book which I published in 1977, a few years after Findlay’s death.  The photocopy was made by a friend of Findlay’s.  The friend owned the book into which the item was pasted.

Findlay didn’t mention the collector’s name, but since Leslie R. Cole was the only collector Findlay specified in the book’s acknowledgments, I suspect it was in Leslie’s collection.

I had the pleasure of visiting Leslie at his home in I think 1975.  In magic-collecting circles, Leslie is a fairly well-known collector.  He passed away some years ago.  I wrote a little article about him after he passed away, which I published in Aphelion — a magic-collecting (and magic-history) periodical that I published back in the 1990s.  Eddie Dawes followed-up with some other insights into Leslie’s activities as a collector.  I believe that Leslie’s collection ultimately landed in the hands of a well-known professional magician now based in las Vegas.

Leslie sort of took me under his wing when I visited The Magic Circle back in 1973.  I’m getting so that I have forgotten a lot of what happened that long ago, but I remember semi-vividly several things about that day I visited The Circle.  First, earlier that day I visited George A. Jenness (a well-known authority on the Maskelyne family, and the possessor of a great collection on that subject).  I had taken a cab out to George’s place in Enfield (which I gather is about ten miles from the center of London).  George placed me onto a train for the trip back, and I remember him patting me on the back in our farewell.  I also met his wife, Mary, I believe her name was.

I got back to the area of London in which I wanted to be, and I took a cab to The Circle, and I got there late, and Francis White, the President, was pacing around outside, in the darkness, waiting for . . . ME!

Then, as I said, Leslie more or less stayed with me.  I met Peter Warlock there that night.  He mentioned to me something along the lines of his understanding that Hoffmann had married a member of the Routledge family.  (Peter elaborated on this idea somewhat in The Linking Ring, July 1984.  Other than that, I have never seen any intimation of that, and in fact what I have seen — including information published by Hoffmann — appears somewhat inconsistent with part of Peter’s published comments on that.)

Peter was greatly interested in Hoffmann and in Hoffmann’s role in magic history.  And Peter conducted some research into Hoffmann’s life that I think was unique to Peter, so he may have come up with some solid relationship between Hoffmann’s wife and the Routledge family.

Hoffmann’s wife, Mary Ann Avery, was the daughter of Joseph Avery, who operated a window-blind manufacturing operation.  The following paragraph and the accompanying quotation is from another one of my blogs:

In the June 1864 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, the wedding of Angelo J. Lewis and Mary Ann Avery was reported (page 792), under the heading of “Marriages,” for May 12.  I have preserved the capitalization and abbreviations:

At St. Mark’s, Regent’s-park, Angelo J. Lewis, esq., M.A., of Wadham College, Oxford, and of Lincoln’s Inn, barrister-at-law, to Mary Ann, eldest dau. of Joseph Avery, esq., of St Mark’s-crescent, Regent’s-park, and of Tintagel, Cornwall.

Well, I guess that’s enough on that topic, at least for now.

—Tom Sawyer

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

About 773 words.

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