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Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded

Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded
Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded
Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded
Title
Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded
Date 
1886
Medium 
Cardboard, wood, lead
Dimensions 
board: 16 1/4 x 16 7/8 in. ( 41.3 x 42.9 cm ) box: 1 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. ( 4.4 x 24.1 x 43.8 cm )
Description 
"Game of District Messenger Boy or Merit Rewarded" board game consisting of board, four lead game pieces (running messenger boys on round bases), in wooden box with cover illustration of boy in blue uniform and cap running with piece of paper in right hand in front of series of buildings and an elevated railroad; box cover inscribed, "GAME OF THE/ DISTRICT/ MESSENGER/ BOY/ OR/ MERIT/ Rewarded/ COPYRIGHT 1886 BY/ McLOUGHLIN BROTHERS NEW-YORK"; board is in the form of a maze, with almost every box marked with description or instruction, such as "Advance to BOX INSPECTOR," with illustration at each corner and spinner at lower right corner.
Credit Line 
The Liman Collection
Object Number 
2000.335
Marks 
lithographed: on the box cover: "GAME OF THE/ DISTRICT/ MESSENGER/ BOY/ OR/ MERIT/ Rewarded/ COPYRIGHT 1886 BY/ McLOUGHLIN BROTHERS NEW-YORK"
Gallery Label 
One of many games produced in the 1880s with a "rags to riches" theme, The District Messenger Boy reflects the contemporary belief that the American capitalist system would reward merit and enterprise regardless of one's background, privileged or humble. Players start the game as messenger boys and attempt to work their way up through the ranks to become president of the firm.
Bibliography 
Hofer, Margaret K. "The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games." New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group