Musical Alphabet. [Board game prototype.]
[Beverly, Massachusetts: Kathryn Connolly, 1958]. A unique prototype for a board game that uses quick matching to teach children letters, numbers, and colors. The title might refer to the fast-moving party game musical chairs, as the game does not appear to have a musical component aside from a couple lines of verse written in manuscript on the game boards (“now I know my ABCs / I’m as happy as can be”). Paper-covered box (10 x 15 ”) enclosing two game boards, two smaller decorated boxes containing game pieces, an instruction sheet, and a metal bell. Plus, a typewritten instruction sheet. All other text in manuscript. Foxing and toning to box. Materials inside are quite clean and well-preserved. Very good. Paper-covered box with color illustrated onlays and the title spelled out on cardboard discs. Item #17462
According to the dealer who originally sold this item, Kathryn Connolly was a Milton Bradley employee, though the Musical Alphabet game was never produced by the company. Nevertheless, Kathryn Connolly has a place in the storied tradition of women game developers, the most notable of whom is probably Lizzie Magie, who originally patented the game that would become Monopoly. Magie, a leftist and feminist, developed the “Landlord’s Game” as a microcosm and satire of capitalism. She filed a patent for the game in 1903 and published it two years later through the Economic Game Company that she co-owned. It was Charles Darrow and Parker Brothers that would take the credit for the game, though, buying up the rights to Magie’s successful Landlord’s Game in the 1930s and reissuing it as Monopoly.
The full instructions for the Musical Alphabet game are as follows: “Two, three, or four players may take part in this game. (This sample is assigned for two players). One person is chosen to start the game. One card is given to each person participating in the game, and one box containing three sets of alphabet letters. The letters are tossed on the table in front of each player. (Pink, yellow, green discs.) When the players have the cards and letters placed on the table, the person chosen to start the game rings the bell, and the game starts. Place the discs on the card on the corresponding letters and colors. The player who completes an alphabet first all yellow disks/all pink discs/all green discs rings the bell and becomes the winner.”.