The search for S.W. Erdnase has and is being conducted by a small but very dedicated group of investigators, historians, magicians, and gamblers. I am part of this group of investigators. While we often champion entirely different candidates and disagree on many points there is something to be learned from each point of view. The list below is a chronologically sorted list of books and articles which I consider important reading on the subject:
This book is the primary evidence we have of Erdnase. A close study and multiple readings of the book is therefore a necessary requirement to contribute anything meaningful to the search for Erdnase. The writing is very good and several at that time new moves and concepts are taught.
Foreign translations are not required reading, but for those not sufficiently fluent in English they provide an easier entry into the moves and concepts Erdnase teaches.
In 2015 I discovered these bankruptcy files in the National Archives. Since Erdnase's book was printed at James McKinney's print shop they are very important documents that tell us a lot about the printer, his suppliers, customers and employees. The contents of these files unlocked a crucial doorway in my own research and thinking about Erdnase.
This book is all about the case for Milton Franklin Andrews, which has essentially been disproved. But it also has very good general information about Erdnase's book and its contents, such as likely sources for Erdnase's knowledge, etc. It therefore remains an indispensable reference.
Giorgio was the first gambling expert to point out that Erdnase was not this consummate cardshark, but that he lacked some knowledge and experience, and therefore he looks to Giorgio more like a magician than a cheat.
Hatch offers a number of candidates, all conforming to the 'Andrews' or 'E.S. Andrews' assumption, and in particular he introduces for the first time a certain Edwin Sumner Andrews, who remains his favorite candidate.
This is the case for Wilbur Edgerton Sanders. This article substantially rocked the Erdnase boat, because it was the first substantial new candidate that did not conform to the "his name was Andrews" assumption.
The sleight-of-hand expert James carefully analyses the various techniques Erdnase describes in his book. It includes interesting speculation and analysis of who Erdnase may have been and why the material in the book is described and included and why other material may have been left out.
Demarest continues where David Alexander, due to an untimely early death, had to stop his research on W. E. Sanders.
This is by far the best and most objective introduction to the various theories and Erdnase candidates. I consider it required reading. In fact, ideal would be to read this book first before any other work on Erdnase is consulted.
Sawyer is a clear and independent thinker. He has offered new ways to think about the available evidence, and he has uncovered new pieces of information which shed new light on interesting parts of the search of Erdnase.
I am convinced Edward Gallaway is Erdnase. This work includes a description how I unraveled the mystery, and everything I found out about Gallaway's life.
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