After well over 60 years of knowing about, playing and honoring the legendary Game of Monopoly, I learn today everything I thought I knew is lies, lies and damned lies!
Charles Darrow did not invent Monopoly. He stole it from Lizzie Magie. And then to add insult to injury, he changed the soul of the game! I have to tell yam Life's Myths die hard and learning all of this today has been a genuine revelation. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The whole story is after all SO monopolistic!
This is the original patent for what would become known as Monopoly. It all started with thisTweet from the US National Archives for #ArchivesGameNight
Here is Lizzie Magie's signature on the patent paper. This NPS story brought my whole Monopoly Myth crashing down around my Get Out Of Jail Free cards:
http://www.npr.org/2015/03/03/382662772/ever-cheat-at-monopoly-so-did-its-creator-he-stole-the-idea-from-a-woman Below is the abstract of the book written about the whole story.The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins. Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily--and richly--ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord's Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game--underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today--was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust. A fascinating social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly's real-life winners and losers.
Ah, well, maybe it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
After all, Monopoly has a Life of its own these days.