Is there a box of chocolates in your Valentine’s Day plans? If you’re going to give (or are expecting to receive) candy as a token of love, you’re part of a romantic tradition that began more than a century ago. In the 1890s, candy makers finally glommed onto Valentine’s Day as an occasion to promote their products, even though they’d already managed to integrate confectionery into other holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Since that time, we’ve definitely taken their […]
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What does Valentine’s Day make you think of? Boxes of chocolates? Bouquets of roses? Pledges of undying love? Sure, those are all part of the most romantic holiday on the calendar. On the other hand, from the 1840s into the early twentieth century, Valentine’s Day was also THE occasion to send insulting and downright nasty cards to your circle of acquaintances.
Somehow those proper Victorians took the tradition of sending sweet, heartfelt Valentine cards and turned it on its head. […]
Strong National Museum of Play has many historical artifacts that help to tell the story of play in the wider context of American history. One of my favorite posters in the museum’s collection shows how baseball intersected with American history in the early twentieth century.
Baseball was widely recognized as America’s national sport by the late 1800s, and it continued to grow in popularity in the early twentieth century. Two separate major leagues were in place in 1901, and by 1903 […]
Although the electronic games of my youth have since evolved into something different, one thing has remained the same: savvy marketers continue to cash in on the popularity of electronic games through non-electronic merchandise. In addition, Internet storefronts allow innovative individuals to create and market their own electronic game-related products. The breadth of available items (and the oddity of said items) has grown exponentially.
As a tween in the 1980s, I owned various Pac-Man themed objects. I had the Pac-Man bed sheets and […]
Whenever I read those five simple words, I feel as if a curtain has been deftly drawn aside, revealing the very essence of Christmas with its joyous blending of color and sound, memories and feelings. Under the spell of this poem, I always find myself responding to the magic and wonder of Christmas.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The poem’s author is Clement Clarke Moore, a theological scholar and professor […]
Just how popular are comic book superheroes today?
Judging by recent domestic box office receipts, electronic game and toy sales, and the robust memorabilia market, superheroes have as much appeal as ever. More than 70 years after Superman burst onto the scene,
In June 1938, a new comic book hit newsstands and dime stores, capturing the imagination of American children nearly instantaneously. What merited such attention? The first issue of Action Comics established the superhero genre with the creation of Superman—an […]
Now that Election Day has come and gone, it’s time to think about the fun side of politics. Yes, there is a fun side to politics, at least when you look at the dozens of politically-themed games in the collection here at Strong National Museum of Play. Throughout American history, games of all sorts have often reflected current politics and events on the national scene.
Beginning with mass-produced games in the late 19th century, card games and board games appeared that take patriotism and the […]