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Created: 01/21/2021
Updated: 12/12/2023

Erdnase Resources

by Chris Wasshuber

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:
The Expert at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase The Expert at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase (1902)
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.
The James McKinney & Co, and the Jamieson-Higgins Bankruptcy Files (1905)
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.
The Man Who Was Erdnase by Barton Whaley with Martin Gardner and Jeff Busby (1991)
This book is all about the case for Milton Franklin Andrews, which has essentially been disproved (see for example Searching For Erdnase by Richard Hatch). 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. The Man Who Was Erdnase by Barton Whaley with Martin Gardner and Jeff Busby
The Giorgio Letters by Tony Giorgio (May 1991 - Apr 1994, Genii)
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.
Searching for Erdnase by Richard Hatch (Dec 1999, Magic)
After Hatch takes apart Martin Gardner's case for M.F. Andrews, he 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 to this date.
The Magician as Detective: New Light on Erdnase by David Alexander (Jan 2000, Genii)
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 Man Who Knows Erdnase by Wesley James (2007)
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.
Unshuffling Erdnase by Marty Demarest (Sep 2011, Genii)
Demarest continues where David Alexander, due to an untimely early death, had to stop his research on W. E. Sanders.
Artifice, Ruse & Erdnase by Hurt McDermott (2012)
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.
Rethinking S.W. Erdnase by Thomas A. Sawyer (2015)
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.
The Cardsharp and his Book by Chris Wasshuber The Cardsharp and his Book by Chris Wasshuber (2015 - )
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.
I have been blogging and writing on Erdnase for years. Here are some of my earlier articles on various topics and aspects of my research:


Gregg Webb (12/12/2023)

The hunt is actually over and Chris Wasshuber found his man. Still, more proof exists in the books from his library with his bookplates inside, which his wife sold off. See Looking for Books with EG bookplate.