The Acquisitions Table: How ’tis done

How ‘tis done; or The secret out. An exposure of the tricks and deceptions practiced by professional gamblers with cards and dice … 22nd ed. Carthage, IL: D. C. Cutler, [ca. 1869?]

From a small Illinois town 10 miles east of Keokuk and the mighty Mississippi, D. C. Cutler ran a mail-order business for cheap chapbooks, “splendid colored engravings,” and handy devices such as the “magic comb … [which] will color gray hair a permanent black or brown,” as listed in the 16-page catalog appended to this pamphlet. A few of these chapbooks Cutler published—or rather, reprinted—himself, complete with cheerfully disregarded copyright notice. The copyright for How ‘tis done, for example, was owned by Hunter & Co. of Hinsdale, NH, which published its own editions beginning in 1864. Only the first seven pages detail the card sharp’s tricks; the remaining pages discuss “cardiology” (i.e. “the science of foretelling events by cards”), and offer recipes for useful concoctions such as “imitation liquors.” The Cutler edition is unrecorded. Purchased from Ian Brabner. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.

Published by

David Whitesell

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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