Tag Archive | Toys

Object: Card game

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FIC2013.160
Trivia Card Game
American
Galveston, TX
1907/1908
Material: paper

This object is a trivia card game called “Texas Heroes: An Instructive Game,” created by Sally Trueheart Williams in 1908. The cards have three to five questions listed with a picture of the answer above. The people on the cards are those widely known by Texans, such as James Bowie, Sam Houston, David Crockett and many others. There are also historic places included that also have an important role in the history of Texas such as San Antonio, Nacogdoches, and Austin.  A pamphlet is included with testimonials from Texas educators promoting the game as a useful educational tool.

Sally Trueheart Williams

Sally Trueheart Williams. Image via the Rosenberg Library Museum of Galveston.

Sally T. Williams (1871-1951) daughter of Henry M. Trueheart and Annie Vanmeter Cunningham, was an active member of the Galveston, Texas community. She had a passion for history, education, and charity. She was member of the Equal Suffrage Club, the Wednesday Club, First Presbyterian Church, American Red Cross, Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Colonial Dames.

In 1900, a hurricane devastated much of Texas, in Galveston over 3,000 buildings were destroyed and around 6,000 people were killed. In the wake of the storm the American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, played a large role in the relief efforts. Women’s clubs and associations in the area also volunteered, thus women had more visible public roles in the community. The efforts of these women’s civics clubs evolved to a suffrage movement. As a member of the Equal Suffrage Club, Sally T. Williams stood for the right of women to vote and argued that municipal maintenance can be compared to public ‘housekeeping.’ The argument was an attempt to convince other women that participating in women’s suffrage was not violating the traditional roles of women in the home.

Women’s clubs in the late 1800s to early 1900s gave way to the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs (TFWC) which encouraged progressive movements and activism. The TFWC has accomplished and influenced numerous developments in Texas such as children’s health laws, traffic and highway safety, food purity standards, and historical preservation, to name a few. In its infancy, the TFWC consisted of mainly wealthy women and teachers, though today the membership is much more diverse. Many of the projects and activities of the federation have become the responsibility of the government in modern times, however the TFWC is still active and takes on projects involving aid to abused women and cancer patients and their families. [Sara Countryman, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources

Jones, Marian Moser. 2013;2012;. The american red cross from clara barton to the new deal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

Goldfield, David. 2013. Still fighting the civil war LSU Press.

McArthur, Judith N., and Harold L. Smith. 2010. Texas through women’s eyes: The twentieth-century experience. 1st ed. Vol. bk. 24. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Megan Seaholm, “Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs,” Handbook of Texas Online, June 15, 2010. Texas State Historical Association

Turner, Elizabeth Hayes, and Inc NetLibrary. 1997. Women, culture, and community: Religion and reform in galveston, 1880-1920. New York: Oxford University Press.

Object: Doll

I-0503a (2)

I-0503
Limberjack or Jig Doll
European
20th Century
Materials: Wood

This object is a limberjack doll, sometimes called a jig doll because it is designed to “dance a jig.” A limberjack doll is similar to a puppet. It is made of wood and is usually modeled after a human or animal figure. A limberjack doll features sectioned joints at the shoulder and elbows and at the hips and knees allowing the figure to move.

A limberjack doll is operated much like a rhythm instrument. First, you must sit with one end of a thin board under you, with the opposite end out in front or out to one side. While holding on to a wooden stick that is inserted in a small hole in the back of the doll, the doll is held above the board with its feet barely touching the board. Next, you lightly tap the board just behind the doll’s feet. The board will bounce gently causing the Limberjack Doll to move at the joints. These dolls provided hours of entertainment throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Pullman advertisement poster, 1894 via Wikipedia.

Pullman advertisement poster, 1894 via Wikipedia.

The limberjack doll featured here is modeled after a train porter. A porter is a person who assists passengers board trains. A porter is responsible for everything from loading a passenger’s luggage onto the train to making up the beds for passengers in the sleeper cars. In the United States the Pullman Company was responsible for creating the first sleeper cars in the 1860s. As the American Civil War came to an end, the company began hiring former slaves as porters. Since many middle class people had never had any type of assistance, the Pullman Company advertised trips in their sleeper cars as an upper class experience.

The Pullman Company became one of the largest employers of African-Americans. Although having a job as a porter was considered one of the best jobs African Americans could obtain, it was also a job where African Americans had to tolerate being stereotyped and many forms of abuse. The porters were paid incredibly low wages  and had to rely on tips. In addition to being paid low wages, porters were required to pay for their own uniforms, the shoe shine they used on their customers shoes, food, overnight stays on the trains, as well as having to pay for items that were stolen by passengers. Often these costs added up to almost half of the Porter’s wages. Porters worked about 400 hours a month and worked shifts were sometimes 20 consecutive hours.

Pullman Porter helping a woman via Wikipedia.

Pullman Porter helping a woman via Wikipedia.

Although the Porters were not involved, there was an employee strike against the Pullman Company in 1894 over reductions in pay. The strike began in Chicago where the factory was located, and affected railroads across the United States when the strike stopped all trains using Pullman cars from moving. The President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, had to step in to end the strike. He ordered the Army to stop the striking employees. The strike left an unfavorable outcome for the employees as well as the Pullman Company. The strike was also a defeat for the American Railway Union that lead to the downfall of industrial unions.

In 1918 the Order of the Sleeping Car Conductors was created however, African Americans were not allowed. As a result Asa Philip Randolph created an organization called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. In which porters demanded better working conditions and decent wages. It wouldn’t be until 1925 that Pullman porters saw any improvements. Today many credit Pullman porters as a significant contribution to the creation of the African American middle class. In 1995 the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum was founded. One of their projects included forming a registry of African American Railroad Employees. In 2008 Amtrak became aware of this and partnered with museum to locate and honor surviving porters. [Kim Grosset edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Bates, Beth Tompkins. Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Harris, W. H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, Milton P. Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,1925-37. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.

McKissack, Pat, and Fredrick McKissack. 1989. A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter. New York: Walker, 1989.

Pack, Linda Hager, and Pat Banks. Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013.

Pickles, Rennie, and Pat Pickles. Jig Dolls: “The Brightest of Entertainers”. Pontefract, Yorkshire: P. Pickles, 1988.

Tye, Larry. Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class. New York: Henry Holt, 2004.

Object: Marbles

I-0295h (1)
I-0295h
Marbles
American (likely)
Unknown date, likely 20th century
Materials: Glass

Marbles are one of the oldest games. It’s a game that has taken on various names and rules across the globe, but one thing remained the same, their shape and sizes. This object is a set of eleven glass marbles, ranging in color from brown to green through orange and purple. Marbles can be used in a variety of games. Marble games teach patience, tactic and skill.

Rome, Italy has some of the earliest evidence of marbles. These early Roman marbles were made of clay or stone. One game the Roman children played with marbles involved building a castle or pyramid out of nuts to which they would then launch the marbles at it until it came tumbling down. Another game, more like what we see played today, was to create a triangle or a square on the ground and try to get as many of your marbles into it as possible. Other early evidence of marbles has been found in Egypt. Archaeologist unearthed similarly shaped clay spheres in Egyptian children’s tombs. These buried keepsakes were placed in the tomb for the children to have in the afterlife.

800px-Boys_playing_marbles

Boys playing marbles circa 1870s. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Marbles are played with across the globe and have been made of many materials: glass, porcelain, clay, stone, even wood. As glass and porcelain marbles started to be made they were collected and played by the wealthy. The time and skill needed to hand-make the glass and porcelain marbles was costly. It was not until the 1840s that Germany began to mass-produce glass marbles. It was several years later, in the 1880s that the United States started to mass-produce as well. So instead of a few skilled craftsmen making a handful of glass marbles, there were factories with machines producing thousands of marbles at a time. Samuel C. Dyke owned one of the United States first toy companies to begin mass-producing marbles, the American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company. This marble manufacturing company opened the door for many other companies, just after the peak of the industrial revolution, to a niche market in children’s toys. Marbles are now a game for anyone, of any age or class around the world.

The following video shows how marbles are manufactured and hand made:
Video –How it’s made

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Marbles has been enjoyed for generations. Image via BBC

Yet, marble games are not just for children. With time the rules and regulations became more extravagant and the avid players continued to play and perfect their skills at the game they loved even after childhood. The World Marbles Federation manages the international rules and regulations for the official game of marbles and hosts the world marble championship. There are three types of official marble games you can play: classical, short and extended. Each game needs at least ten marbles and they cannot be made of metal. The most common marble materials today are glass and porcelain.

Players must use different colors than one another to avoid confusion during the game. To decide who goes first, instead of flipping a coin, players have a ‘throw-up’. This is when players flick their marble toward the center hole of the playing ground and the one who comes closer to the hole wins the throw-up. The playing ground starts with a hole 3.5-4.5 inches in diameter and at least 2 inches deep. Then there is a circle around the hole called the throwing line, this line is at 3 feet away from the hole all the way around. The championship game uses a large playing space and is highly regulated, but for a friendly game at school or home check out some short fun games of marbles here. [Trisha Taylor, edited by Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Carlisle, Rodney P. 2009. Encyclopedia of play in today’s society. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Gartley, Richard, and Jeff Carskadden. 1900. Colonial period and early 19th century children’s toy marbles: history and identifications for the archaeologist and collector. Zanesville, Ohio: Muskingum Valley Archeological Survey.

Randall, Mark E. (1971). Early Marbles. Historical Archaeology
Published by: Society for Historical Archaeology. Vol. 5, (1971) , pp. 102-105.

Six, Dean, Susie Metzler, and Michael Johnson. 2006. American machine-made marbles: marble bags, boxes and history. Atglen, PA: Schiffer.

Wilson, J. (1990). Marbles Champions: A Report from the American South. New England Review (1990-) . Published by: Middlebury College Publications. Vol. 19, No. 1 (Winter, 1998) , pp. 166-186.

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