Bridge Whist in Brooklyn Eagle (1894) & Elwell murder; Dunderbeck

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Sat Jul 8 19:25:44 UTC 2006

DUNDERBECK (continued)
Newspaperarchive has it that Gus Williams performed as Dunderbeck in Tony
Pastor's in 1872, so that Bowery institution might be the origin of the  song.
Some "bridge whist" cites from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The sensational  New
York City murder of J. B. Elwell, the bridge expert who popularized the  game
in the 1890s onward, intrigues my curiosity. He's as forgotten today  as NYC
model Audrey Munson was.

27 October 1894, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pg. 2:
For more than a hundred years the Portland club of London was the home of
whist. A feeling of respect and reverence comes to every American when its name
is mentioned, and the spirit of James Clay is supposed lovingly and
protectingly  to hover over it. Tempora mutantur. There is no whist at the Portland
club.  Bridge whist has invaded its card room and the greatest, grandest and most
 scientific of all card games has been ignominiously abandoned. Bridge whist
broke up the New York Whist club. Its effect upon the Portland club remains
to  be seen.
25 April 1897, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pg. 11:
Mr. (Clarence A. -- ed.) Henriques believes that his long service as a
trustee of the New York and Brooklyn bridge has made "Bridge" a necessity, and  so
he is now going into "Bridge" whist. He has written a book called "The Laws
of Bridge and the Etiquette of the Game," together with hints for playing,
which  the Eagle's job department has now in press and will shortly issue.
"So far as I know this is the first book published on 'Bridge' whist and
should prove of great value to lovers of that game. The laws have been approved
and adopted by the WHist club of New York and the innate honesty and integrity
 of the author are clearly shown in the book in what he says regarding the
etiquette of the game.
17 March 1901, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pg. 8:
The mania for bridge whist, or "bridge," as the game is known to its
votaries, is rapidly becoming epidemic in the Eastern states, and especially in  the
City of New York.

Published: October 10, 1982

The third stop for the time traveller would have to be the beginning of this
century, when a crucial and virtually undocumented mutation occurred: bridge,
 sometimes called bridge whist, became auction bridge. Everyone could now
take  part in the bidding, which continued in commercial fashion as it does
The authority in that period of transition was Joseph B. Elwell, later to be
the victim of a celebrated murder. In his 1902 book ''Elwell on Bridge'' he
described the diagramed deal. The bidding, of course, was much more
abbreviated  than the auction shown. The dealer, who was known as Z in those days
announced  ''I make it hearts,'' and that, in the absence of any doubles or
redoubles,  ended it. South chose hearts largely because of his honor holding in the
suit -  worth substantially more in the scoring of the period than the bonus
for a grand  slam.
_THE  BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BRIDGE; The Vogue of the Came, and the Many Books on
the Subject  in Both America and England _
WALTER GERMAIN  ROBINSON. Town and Country (1902-1913). New York:  Jan 5,
1907. p. 28 (1 page)
Elwell, the famous teacher, has written some six books on the subject,
illustrated with problem hands and with keys of how to play them.
In February, 1895, Messrs. T. De La Rue & Co. published "The Laws of  Bridge,
with a Guide to the Game," by "Boaz."
_$30,000  AT BRIDGE IN ONE NIGHT'S PLAY; In Separation Suit Mrs. J.B. Elwell
Says Husband  Made $500,000 Out of Whist. AN AUTHORITY ON THE GAME Earned
$18,000 One Year  Just by Teaching It -- Court Rules for Her and Settlement Is
Made. _
New York Times (1857-Current. Jan 20, 1916. p. 6 (1 page)
Housekeeper  After Being Mysteriously Shot While Reading Letter. VALUABLES NOT
TOUCHED  Tragedy Follows Theatre Party at Which Victim Was Guest of Walter
Lewisohn.  WOMEN HAD KEYS TO HOME Police Obtain List of His Visitors but Fail to Find
 Them--Suicide Theory Is Exploded. Robbery Not Motive for Crime. Chauffeur
Supplies a Clue. J.B. ELWELL, WHIST EXPERT, SLAIN Elwell Kept No Servants. Mrs.
 Larson Gets Policeman. Money and Jewelry on Bed. Lewisohns Are Questioned.
Eiwell Separated from Wife. _ (
New York Times  (1857. Jun 12, 1920. p. 1 (2 pages)
_Slaying  of America's Leading Bridge Whist Authority Baffles Police; Joseph
B. Elwell,  Who Was Mysteriously Murdered in New York, His Residence and Women
Mentioned in  Case. _
Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963).  Chicago, Ill.: Jun 15, 1920. p. 2 (1
Turfman,  Bon Vivant and Authority on Cards Reveals the Jekyll and Hyde
Existence of a  Masquerader Whose Cleverness Completely Hoodwinked All-Wise Gotham A
Social  Lion. Don Juan of High Crowd. Always a Climber. A Gorgeous Den.
Visited  Lexington. One of Gay Party. A Hairless, Toothless Fraud. _
The Washington Post (1877. Jul 11, 1920. p. 51 (1 page)
_$287,404  LEFT BY ELWELL.; Mystery of Murder of Sportsman Unsolved After
Year and a Half. _
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington,  D.C.: Oct 12, 1921. p. 11 (1

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