This game is not licensed nor produced by Hasbro, Inc., producers of MONOPOLY® game equipment & related marketing efforts.
THE OLDEST KNOWN FORMAL MONOPOLY GAME - 97 Years Old
THE 1920 PHILADELPHIA FOLK MONOPOLY GAME is an original nearly 100 year old MONOPOLY game created in the fall of 1920. It reflects the 1920 Philadelphia, PA area, especially the Main Line western suburbs near Haverford College. The game set was created by two sons of an old Main Line Quaker family who were members of Haverford College classes 1922 & 1924. The game was played with classmates at Haverford College and their nearby family home in Haverford, PA.
The two brothers, Edward (Ted) Allinson Taylor and Lawrence (Larry) Newbold Taylor, learned about the folk MONOPOLY game during the late summer of 1920 while they were staying at their family's cabin in the Poconos. Larry and Ted were taught the game by Rexford Guy Tugwell who, along with his wife, spent two weeks as guests of Henry Woolman at his nearby cabin within the same private Poconos preserve.
Rexford Tugwell, aka "Rex", became acquainted with Woolman when Tugwell was working as a special investigator for the Tri‐State Milk Commission circa 1916 while working on his M.A. in Economics at Wharton. Shortly thereafter, he left Wharton for an academic position in the state of Washington. Rex subsequently returned to Wharton to pursue his doctorate.
At the end of summer 1920 Rex Tugwell headed to Columbia University to work as an instructor while finishing his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, which was awarded in 1922. In a later career change, Tugwell joined Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential campaign and subsequently became a member of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Brain Trust.
Coincidently, there is at least one more direct link between The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game and the Roosevelt administration. The game board artist was Edwin (Edward) Bernard Rosskam, who painted The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY game board during his freshman, and only, year at Haverford College before he went left to study art at the University of Pennsylvania towards the fall of 1921. Edwin went on to become a famous photographer within the Roosevelt Administration and at one time associated with Roy Emerson Stryker, another familiar name in the history of the folk landlord's game.
In 1928, Larry and Ted closed the old family home after the death of their mother. During the process The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set was misplaced and never recovered.
25 years later in 1973, Larry Taylor responded to a newspaper article regarding the fictional Charles Darrow monopoly creation story. He wrote a letter-to-the-editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune titled "Missed A Monopoly Chance" and signed "Lawrence N. Taylor, Venice" that was published on Sunday, August 12, 1973. The letter centered around the hand crafted monopoly game that he and his brother Ted created in the fall of 1920. Larry wrote about their game's history and attributes that clearly identifies The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game. To see the article, go to the "Missed A Monopoly Chance" tab.
In 1975, Larry was deposed as part of the Anspach - Parker Bros. litigation. In his deposition, Larry identifies additional attributes of their game that definitively links back to The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY game set. In addition, the game set itself exhibits attributes specifically referencing Ted, and referencing back to Ted's and Larry's extended family. This provides capstone and undisputable evidence of the direct linkage between The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game and its' creators Ted & Larry Taylor.
One critically unique characteristic of The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set is that it is clearly and undisputably a formal MONOPOLY real estate board game. The game board center prominently exhibits the word "MONOPOLY" and is the only known folk monopoly game to date that does so. And, did so approximately 15 years prior to the issuance of Charles Darrow's errant Monopoly patent & prior to the issuance of Parker Brother's Monopoly Trade Mark.
Consequently, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game is tangible evidence of a MONOPOLY real estate trading game extant in the public domain in 1920. It reinforces the voluminous circumstantial evidence gathered by Ralph Anspach of numerous folk monopoly players who stated they played a real estate game called "monopoly" within the 24 year era between 1909 and 1933.
However, current research indicates this date range should be shortened by 5 years to 1914-1933 due to facts that support later dating for two documented folk monopoly games - the Joseph A. Buckwalter game from 1910 to circa 1914, and the Roy Ormerod Heap game from 1909 to circa 1916-17.
Regardless, this period represents the genesis of folk monopoly game play at Wharton and subsequent expansion from there into the north-eastern, eastern, south-eastern and mid-western regions of the USA well before 1935 when questionable circumstances resulted in a Monopoly patent issued to Charles Darrow and a Monopoly trade mark issued to Parker Brothers.
Fast forwarding 65 years to the summer of 2014, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game resurfaced on eBay as part of an unrelated Philadelphia family estate sale. Based upon limited information provided after the end of the eBay auction, the game was owned by the heir's grandfather. This was the extent of what the heir knew of the game. The famliy's name remains confidential in respect for their privacy.
Based upon extensive in-depth research of the family and the game board properties, it was determined that the heir's grandfather did not create the game. This was later confirmed in 2017 when Larry's 1973 letter to the editor was discovered. As a result, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game's origin history has been re-established and is back in public view. As a nearly 100 year old MONOPOLY game, it is set to become an antique MONOPOLY game in 2020.
Lastly, The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game is the oldest known formal MONOPOLY game set. It includes 11 custom made-for-the-game hand carved (by Larry) wood movers/ markers/ tokens which are literally “men” as they represent former US Presidents. And, it is the oldest known folk monopoly game set to use both paper and poker chip money. This game set exhibits several folk monopoly firsts - it is the total package. The quality of materials and construction speak for themselves.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game set provides a tour of Philadelphia locales during a time when playing folk monopoly was just beginning to become a popular pastime at north-eastern, eastern and south-eastern seaboard colleges, after first being played at Wharton, Haverford & Swarthmore. Eventually, folk monopoly game play also extended to the mid-west to Michigan and Indiana.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game board is a well-engineered, hand-crafted, and finely finished wood game board constructed for generations of game play.
The 1920 Philadelphia Folk MONOPOLY Game utensils box contains:
- Leather Dice Cup w/ Cellulose Dice
- Manual Typewritten Property Deeds
- Large & Small Haverford College Card Stock Paper Money
- Hand carved Mahogany Wood Houses with open Windows
- Hand carved Mahogany Presidential Men/ Movers/ Tokens
A separate caddy holds smaller denomination poker chip money.