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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Objects and Artifacts - Recreational Artifacts - Game - Deck, Card

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34-star American flag playing cards

34-star American flag playing cards
Date: between 1861 and 1863
This deck of thirty-five glossed paper cards depicts two 34 star American flags on the back. The reverse contains the suits with no numbers in the corners. Kansas is the 34th State admitted to the Union (in 1861), which dates these to the early Civil War between 1861 and 1863. Prior to 1880 playing cards typically did not have numbers in the corners.


Baseball card game

Baseball card game
Creator: Aydelott's Baseball Cards Company
Date: 1910
This game contains cards with various playing situations, games pieces to act as base runners, a score sheet and instruction sheet. The game was made by Aydelott's Baseball Cards Company. Jake Aydelott played professional baseball as a pitcher with the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1884 and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1886.


Deck of cards

Deck of cards
Date: between 1942 and 1945
Standard deck of playing cards. Colonel James C. Hughes acquired these cards, possibly in a Red Cross box, while being held as a Prisoner of War (POW) by the Japanese during World War II. Born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1888, Hughes served in the Mexican Border Conflict, World War I, and World War II. In 1942, he was captured by the Japanese on the Bataan peninsula and spent the next 41 months in various Japanese POW camps. He was liberated by Russian forces at Camp Hoten, Manchuria, in 1945. Hughes died in 1964 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Gavitt's Stock Exchange card game

Gavitt's Stock Exchange card game
Creator: W.W. Gavitt Printing and Publishing Co.
Date: 1904
Game of Gavitt's Stock Exchange with box, instructions, and two promotional leaflets. The deck of 33 cards includes four sets of railroad stocks, each consisting of eight identical cards, plus one Fatal Telegram card. Pubished by the Gavitt Printing and Publishing Company of Topeka in 1904. Harry Gavitt first developed the Gavitt's Stock Exchange game as a free promotional item to help advertise his family's patent medicine company. The game quickly gained popularity, however, and Gavitt soon began marketing the game as its own product. The game was first published by the Gavitt Printing and Publishing Company in 1903. By 1904, Gavitt had sold a partial interest in his game to Parker Brothers, allowing them to refine and publish the game of Pit while he retained the rights to Gavitt Stock Exchange.


Pit card game

Pit card game
Creator: Pit Publishing Company
Date: 1903
Game of Pit with box and instructions. The deck of 65 cards includes eight sets of stocks, each consisting of eight identical cards, plus one Panic card. Pit is a stock-trading card game very similar to Gavitt's Stock Exchange, a game developed by Harry Gavitt of Topeka and first published by the Gavitt Printing and Publishing Company in 1903. Newspapers advertisements for Pit begin appearing about the same time as Gavitt began heavily promoting his game, although the legal relationship between those early versions of Pit and Gavitt's game are unclear. This particular version of Pit was published in 1903 by the Pit Publishing Company of Topeka, which was chartered on July 8 of that year specifically to produce the game. By 1904, Gavitt had sold a partial interest in his game to Parker Brothers, allowing them to refine and publish Pit while he retained the rights to Gavitt Stock Exchange.


Squadron Scramble card game

Squadron Scramble card game
Creator: Whitman Publishing Company
Date: between 1942 and 1945
Rummy-style card game featuring American, British, German, and Japanese World War II military planes. It was produced by the Whitman Publishing Company in 1942. The donor, Carol Graham, recalled playing this game while growing up in Pratt, Kansas. It belonged to her mother, Florence Harkrader Hastings.


World War II playing cards

World War II playing cards
Creator: Arrco Playing Card Company
Date: between 1941 and 1945
This deck depicts Uncle Sam (King), Lady Liberty (Queen), and Army and Navy soldiers (Jack). Pictured on one of the joker cards are caricatures of Hitler and Mussolini.


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