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Mansion of Happiness

board game

The board game Mansion of Happiness, first published in 1843 by W. & S. B. Ives, was long thought to be the very first published game by an American manufacturer. Other games predate Mansion by about 20 years but take nothing away from the Ives game's importance in the history of games and the history of leisure. Mansion of Happiness was promoted as "An instructive and entertaining amusement," in which players advanced in a vice-versus-virtue game of the kind popular at midcentury. The tone of Mansion is revealed in the two basic principles of the game: "Whoever possesses Piety, Honesty, Temperance, Gratitude, Prudence, Truth, Chastity, Sincerity, Humility, Industry, Charity, Humanity, or Generosity is entitled to advance . . . toward the Mansion of Happiness" and "Whoever posesses Audacity, Cruelty, Immodesty, or Ingratitude, must return to his former situation . . . and not even think of Happiness, much less partake of it." The game continued in popularity through the rest of the 1800s. Parker Brothers offered an edition in 1894, and McLoughlin Brothers's edition of 1895 explained exactly how the game had been modernized for the 20th century. Instructions pointed out that the stocks and pillory spaces had been removed, but "The only out-of-date punishment . . . retained is the Whipping Post [because] it has some eminent advocates at the present day. . . ." The harsh message of the game became out-of-date as the 20th century--the century of the child--wore on. This particular board dates from after 1864, when W. Ives left the game business, but D.P., H.P., and Edward Ives, as well as S.B. Ives, continued in the family tradition. This particular board is marked for all of these family members.

  • Manufacturer: S.B. Ives & Co.
  • Material: cardboard
  • Origin: Salem, MA
  • Style: race | morality
  • Object ID: 104.282
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