Rochester’s NFL Football Team and a Hometown Sports Hero

Rochester’s NFL Football Team and a Hometown Sports Hero

Few people today know that Rochester, New York, was once home to a football team that became part of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), eventually known as the National Football League. The story starts in the early years of the 20th century when the Rochester Jeffersons took their name from their practice field’s location…

Fantastic Fiscal Fun

Fantastic Fiscal Fun

Buzzwords and hot topics permeate the media as the 2012 election approaches. Watch almost any news report and you’ll likely hear phrases such as “fiscal responsibility” and “balance the budget.” As gloomy as the current political circumstances or economic conditions may seem though, history tells us that it’s nothing new. People have long persisted through…

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Monopoly and More: How The Strong Builds Collections

Monopoly and More: How The Strong Builds Collections

Do you marvel at the toys and dolls on display at The Strong? Ever wonder how they came to the National Museum of Play? As curator of games—board games, card games, and many more—I’m responsible for acquiring historic playthings and popular new examples. But how exactly do we do it? One way is through donation….

Hot Wheels: A 2011 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Hot Wheels: A 2011 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

I was eight years old in 1968 and, like many of my friends, I played with toy cars. That year, Mattel introduced toy autos called Hot Wheels. Unlike the toy cars before them, Hot Wheels rolled really fast either downhill or with a touch of a finger. Accessories such as track sets and collector cases…

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Play through the Centuries

Play through the Centuries

Recently, The Strong acquired a rare and important early printed book illustration. The image came to our attention when Gordon Burghardt used it to illustrate his article, “The Comparative Reach of Play and Brain: Perspective, Evidence, and Implications,” in the Winter 2010 issue of The Strong’s American Journal of Play. As professor of both psychology…

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Single Ladies: The History of Old Maid

Single Ladies: The History of Old Maid

Did you play card games as a child? If so, you probably played a version of Old Maid. The term “old maid” is English and means an unmarried childless woman or spinster. Used as early as 1761 for the title of a play by Irishman Arthur Murphy, it also means an unpopped kernel in a…

With a Song in my Heart: A Brief History of American Sheet Music; or, How to Search The Strong’s Database

With a Song in my Heart: A Brief History of American Sheet Music; or, How to Search The Strong’s Database

As I write this, Katy Perry’s “E.T.” featuring Kanye West ranks as the number one pop song. Country’s top pick is “Heart Like Mine” by Miranda Lambert, while R&B’s current number one is “Sure Thing” by Miguel. Although the star performers get all the attention, hit songs could never happen without the session musicians and…

The 2010 TAGIE Award Winners

The 2010 TAGIE Award Winners

Imagine the Oscars for toy and game inventors—with a glamorous gourmet meal. That provides a good picture of the Chicago Toy and Game Group’s annual Toy and Game Inventor Expo (TAGIE) awards presentation dinner in November. The Strong is a co-sponsor, along with many other significant contributors, of the event which coincides with the Chicago…

Arto Monaco Toys Donated to The Strong

Arto Monaco Toys Donated to The Strong

The year 2010 saw numerous important donations to the collections of the National Museum of Play at The Strong. I had the pleasure of examining and transporting one special collection—toys and toy prototypes made by toy and theme park designer Arto Monaco. Monaco (1913–2003) is most famous for his theme park designs, especially Santa’s Workshop…

The Game of Life: A 2010 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

The Game of Life: A 2010 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

In 1960, to celebrate the firm’s 100th anniversary, Milton Bradley Company hired designer Reuben Klamer to create a new game. Looking for inspiration, Klamer turned to the company archives where he encountered one of Milton Bradley’s first games, The Checkered Game of Life. It had been the company’s first best-selling success back in 1860 when…