Unrecorded set of geographical playing cards

William Chauncy Langdon, The Game of American Story and Glory, New Orleans [and Boston?], 1846.
Set of 40 illustrated cards printed on either green or buff stock, each 3 ¾"h x 2 ¾"w, house in original maroon cloth box with gilt title stamped on one panel

A rare American history card game for children. The deck consists of an explanation card, 11 cards representing the Presidents, and 28 representing the states of the Union. The Presidential cards are illustrated with portraits and the state cards with state seals. Facts relating to the subject at hand are printed on each card.

The game begins after all the playing cards are dealt. Players call after cards not in their hands and obtain them from the other players after correctly answering questions based on the information provided on the cards sought. The object is to obtain all of the cards.

Stamped in gilt on the box is the title of the game, an eagle with the U.S. flag and Federal shield, an “William Chauncy Langdon New Orleans.” Langdon (1831-1895) was an Episcopal minister and founder of the YMCA born in Burlington, Vermont. Due to his mother’s poor health, the family moved to Washington, D.C., and then on to New Orleans. It was apparently while living there, at the tender age of 15, that Langdon published this game. Langdon’s dedication, which appears on the explanation card, reads: “Published, and dedicated to The Children’s Benefactor, Peter Parley, as a token of grateful and affectionate respect.”

Godey’s Lady’s Book provides more information about the circumstances of the game’s production:

“We have been presented by the author, W. Chancy Langdon, with two games; one-“The Game of English Blood Royal,” the other “The Game of American Story and Glory.” We have been much interested in these games, and think they will be instructive to children as well as interesting to those of a larger growth. They are the work of a youth of fifteen, one of the most interesting lads we ever met with. He was only fourteen when he completed the first work. He wrote the game, set the type, rolled the press (he was too weak to pull it), made the boxes, established his agents, and in fact did all that his youth would allow to put his works before the public. L. J. Cohen, of N. York, is the agent, but they will shortly be for sale at all the book establishments in this city. The profits of this work, and we hope they may be great, Master Langdon means to devote to the completion of his education.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, March 1847, p. 175)

Curiously, the copyright is registered in Massachusetts, though we have found no connection between Langdon and that state.

Not in OCLC or the database of the Cary Playing Card Collection at Yale’s Beinecke Library.