Appealing board game celebrating Admiral Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition

ADMIRAL BYRD’S SOUTH POLE GAME [:] “LITTLE AMERICA”. Salem, New York & London: Parker Brothers, Inc., [ca. 1934].
13”h x 17”w game board printed in colors with hole for die-cut holes for playing pieces; 4 wooden game pieces; 4 spinners mounted to sticks simulating radio microphones, each with colored cord attached to a wooden peg; and 4pp of instructions printed on one sheet, folded. Housed in original box with portrait of Byrd printed in color halftone. Some wear to box, contents excellent.

A most appealing spin-and-move board game celebrating Richard Byrd’s 1928-30 Antarctic expedition, which culminated in the first overflight of the South Pole.

Already famous for his 1927 overflight of the North Pole, Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957) aimed to replicate this feat in Antarctica. His expedition sailed from New York in 1928 with two ships and three airplanes. After stopping in New Zealand, the expedition established the “Little America” base camp on Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. From there, on November 28, 1929, he and three others took off in a Ford Trimotor named the Floyd Bennett and after some difficulty reached the South Pole before returning safely to Little America. For the achievement Byrd was promoted to Rear Admiral, making him the youngest ever to achieve that rank in the U.S. Navy.

The expedition returned to the United States in 1930 to a storm of publicity. Any number of publishers sought to cash in on Byrd’s fame, Salem, Massachusetts-based Parker Brothers among them. In 1933 it reacAdd New Itemhed a deal with Byrd to produce Admiral Byrd’s South Pole Game “Little America.” This is a classic spin-and-move game, with players attempting to travel from Dunedin to the South Pole while avoiding icebergs, crevasses and other hazards. In a nice twist, the playing pieces are attached to simulated “microphones”, which players are to use to announce their arrivals at Little America and the South Pole itself.

References #68788. Background from Laura Kissel and Lynn Lay, “Who Wanted to Play a Board Game About Antarctic Expeditions?” on the web site of The Ohio State University (accessed Sept. 2022).