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1903-1904 - Elizabeth J. Magie, 1904 Patent
1903 - Arden, Delaware (Read commentary under rules.)
Called Landlords, this game was also monopoly, duplicated from a Magie cloth design.
1906 - Elizabeth J. Magie
Economic Game Company, New York
1913 - Brer Fox an' Brer Rabbit - London, England.
Original named Landlord's Game - Annan, Scotland.
1916 - Paul Sherk, Wyomissing, PA
1916 - John Ormard Heap - Altoona, PA streets
1920 - Haverford College, Philadelphia, PA
1924 - Elizabeth Magie Phillips
1927 - Roy Stryker, Columbia University, NY
1932 - Adgame Co., Elizabeth Magie Phillips
1932 - Electronic Laboratories, Incorporated
1932 - Knapp Electric, Incorporated
1933 - Atlantic City Quaker monopoly - Todd Oilcloth and rules
as taught by Todd and Raiford to Darrow
1936 - Rudy Copeland, Thomas Sales Co.,
Fort Worth Texas.
1939 - Parker Brothers
Guest authors are invited to submit articles for posting
Thomas Forsyth: Magie's summer 1903 version Landlord's Game as played in Arden, DE, lends insight into her invention of the game monopoly.
I know from hearing from you that this site is due for some updates and I agree. I am working on updates and as I can make time I will do so. Feel free to make recommendations (including telling me about typos and broken links) or submit items to contribute.
in no particular order
- (The following book description is a reprint from Amazon.com website - link to via book name) With its origins rooted in one of the Wall Street Journal’s most emailed stories, The Monopolists is the inside story of how the game of Monopoly came into existence, the heavy embellishment of its provenance by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man’s lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game’s questionable origins. Most Americans who play Monopoly think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvania man who sold his game to Parker Brothers in 1935 and lived happily ever after on royalties. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, an economist and refugee of Hitler’s Danzig, unearthed the real story and it traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and to a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie. The Monopolists is in part Anspach’s David-versus-Goliath tale of his 1970s battle against Parker Brothers, one of the most beloved companies of all time. Anspach was a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game, which hailed those who busted up trusts and monopolies instead of those who took control of all the properties. While he and his lawyers researched previous Parker Brothers lawsuits, he accidentally discovered the true history of the game, which began with Magie’s Landlord’s Game. That game was invented more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly and she waged her own war with Parker Brothers to be credited as the real originator of the game. Ironically, the Landlord’s Game, like Anti-Monopoly, was underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today. It isn't surprising that Magie's game was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt’s famed Brain Trust. More than just a book about board games, The Monopolists illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century--a social history of American corporate greed that reads like the best detective fiction, told through the real-life winners and losers in the Monopoly wars.
Articles by Mary Pilon*
Monopoly Goes Corporate - by Mary Pilon
How a Fight Over a Board Game Monopolized an Economist's Life - by Mary Pilon
Can’t Play by the Rules? It’s Fine by Mr. Monopoly - by Mary Pilon
* Mary Pilon is an award-winning staff reporter at The New York Times where she currently covers sports. She previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, where she wrote about various aspects of economics and the financial crisis. She has worked at Gawker, USA Today, and New York Magazine and is an honors graduate of New York University. Her work has garnered awards from the Freedom Forum, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and she was part of the Journal’s team that won Gerald Loeb and New York Press Club Awards in 2011 for covering the “Flash Crash” of 2010. She made the Forbes magazine's first-ever 30 Under 30 list for media. A native Oregonian, she currently lives in New York City. Visit her web site at marypilon.com and find her on Twitter @marypilon.
More about Mary....
The Landlord's Game - by Lizze J. Magie
THE SINGLE TAX REVIEW - Autumn 1902
- The first known mention of The Landlord's Game is in this article authored by Lizzie Magie four to six months prior to her first game patent application made in March of 1903 and granted January 1904.
Monopoly Is Theft - by Christopher Ketcham
From Berks to Boardwalk - by Charles J. Adams III
Early Monopoly - Elyse Luray, Commentator
What happened behind the scenes of this episode of "History Detectives" may have been as interesting as the story itself. It was ironic that we were working from the same PBS station where Ralph Anspach's book begins his own journey into the history that would be the foundation for telling this story. When I watched the show air I was surprised at some of the final edits. Missing was some discussion I believe both the director and me thought very relevant to telling the story. Content that got left out, in my opinion that might lead to some wrong conclusions about the history itself, something I feel strongly about. Okay, that happens, but I was really taken aback when the credits rolled and one name was clearly missing, Ralph Anspach's! The story never would have been told without his research as a background to build the story upon. Was this simply an error? My understanding is that the director did include Ralph's name in his edit, but the final cut came after it went back East to PBS headquarters for approval. So why the post edit and removal of his name?
PBS depends on corporate sponsors, but do they have some influence in content that gets aired so as to be in their best interest? Did PBS corporate make final content edits of this episode to appease interest of a PBS sponsor? These are questions not statements. I love PBS, I love BIG BIRD too, I support PBS and I encourage you to become a member of your local PBS station. I'm just commenting from an insider’s point of view having watched the development of this story and knowing what the final edit left out. I've been around TV production my whole life having directed my first show for cable in 1975. So I am not unfamiliar with editing and how a lot ends up getting cut with absolutely no malice or conspiracy. One has to tell an interesting story in a specific amount of time. That means choices must be made about content. But for me, this particular "WHY" of this particular content will remain an interesting mystery. Not to leave on a negative... this really was a big break through when the crew got to Arden and I felt the focus on that story line was well deserved and very important to the history.
Letter by Eugene Raiford, 1964.
Sotheby's recently auctioned both the Darrow boards and the Todd game. Just prior to auction bidding they made a statement that implied the Todd game may date to 1937, based on a Todd deposition. They failed to mention that later in court testimony by Todd, accepted by the court as truthful evidence, that Todd did teach monopoly to Darrow, and that clearly placed the Todd game prior to any of Darrow's in 1933. It is still unclear where Sotheby's got their information since Ralph Anspach, who was quoted in the Sotheby's pre-bid announcement, was never contacted for accurate and/or verifying information. They even stated Ralph's Book was unpublished, even though quoted from it?! I hope to post more about this occurrence on the web site, including the testimony that was accepted evidence that Darrow did learn monopoly from the Todds, and did copy the rules of monopoly, having never written them at all, rather plagiarized when he claimed copyright to them. The purchased Todd game has not been in public shared since the auction. Do you know where it has gone? If so, I'd love to hear from you.
The Anspach Archives - Collection Listing
- by Mary Pilon, More than just a book about board games, The Monopolists illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century--a social history of American corporate greed that reads like the best detective fiction, told through the real-life winners and losers in the Monopoly® wars. The book weaves through the lives of Lizzie Magie Phillips, the Atlantic City Quakers, Charles Darrow, George Parker and his step son Richard Barton, Ralph Anspach, and others in a personal way delving into the their motivations, pain, and victories with the insightful journalist edge Mary Pilon brings to all of her work.
You can read other articles about game history by Mary in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal (see links above).
MONOPOLYGATE - The True Story behind the game of Monopoly®. (Earlier editions named 'The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle')
THE PLAYMAKERS - A beautiful coffee table book by Tim Walsh. It has a great chapter on the history of the Landlord's Game and Monopoly®.
MONOPOLY - The world's most famous game & how it got that way
THANKS & CONTRIBUTIONS
This site is not possible without the generous contributions of many people who have shown me their trust, shared both their knowledge and their research. A few names I'd like to mention; Ralph Anspach, Richard Biddle, Chris Williamson, Phil Orbanse, Becky Hoskins, Albert Veldhuis (rip), Ronald Jarrell, Tim Walsh, David Sadowski, Dan Glimne, Kristian Berg, Malcolm Holcombe, Geo. M. Meiser, Charles J. Adams III; the Magie, Sherk, Thun, and Nearing families, my loving parents, my sister Ann, my good friends, and any others I haven't yet named but I am very grateful for their insight, contributions, and endless assistance.
If you have something to contribute, let me know. This is a site to share.
Copyrights and Trademarks