The Jessel “errata slip” (based on help from David Levy) . . .

A while back, I saw a reference to a copy of the Jessel bibliography with an errata slip. I spent a moderate amount of time trying to find out exactly what this might be. In particular, I entertained the idea that Jessel might have published an extended list of errors in Notes and Queries (which might have been repeated on a slip), but I did not find anything along those lines.

But an inquiry to David Levy brought from him an image of a Jessel errata slip found in a copy of the book in his collection (cropped and lightened version shown here):

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I was a bit disappointed that the thing was so . . . brief, and also that it basically involved merely a couple of numbering errors.

Without getting into details here, from what David told me, the foregoing corrections were made at some time during the first printing, assuming that there was only one printing.

Much more tantalizing was David’s statement that the copies of Jessel at the Bodleian Library have “hundreds and hundreds of corrections.” David further states that the Hoyle section has “many dozens”! Now that was all quite surprising to me, and I suspect that few are aware of any of this.

In another communication, David states that the Bodleian possesses “a huge manuscript ledger volume that [Jessel] used to compile the bibliography, but continued to update throughout his life.”

This was complete news to me.

It all suddenly depicts a bibliography that could have been noticeably better than it already was. (It is no secret that I consider Jessel an outstanding bibliography.) I suspect that the updating of the ledger, and the corrections, were inspired to some extent by a desire to issue a corrected and enlarged edition, and I would speculate (but it is easy to be wrong when speculating on such things) that the bibliography didn’t sell like hotcakes when it was first issued.

Jessel does say, in part, in the Preface to his bibliography:

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(The above image is based on the digitized version (digitized by Google)
of a copy at Harvard University, via the Hathi Trust Digital Library.)


—Tom Sawyer

January 3, 2018

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1 Response to The Jessel “errata slip” (based on help from David Levy) . . .

  1. Bill Mullins says:

    When I was preparing a biography of Frederick Ritter (author of “Combined Treatise on Advantage Card Playing”), the staff of the Bodleian was most helpful, and sent me copies of a couple of things. It would be interesting to request copies of, for example, the page in Jessel that includes “The Expert at the Card Table.”

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