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MS Am 2204

Whitney, James Edward, collector. James Edward Whitney collection of playing cards, ca. 1500-1920: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard College Library


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update on 2015 July 9.

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
Location: b
Call No.: MS Am 2204
Creator: Whitney, James Edward, collector.
Title: James Edward Whitney collection of playing cards,
Date(s): ca. 1500-1920.
Quantity: 15 boxes (16 linear ft.)
Abstract: Collection of packs of playing cards, dating from the early 16th to the early 20th century, from around the world.

Processing Information:

Processed by donor: James Edward Whitney, Jr.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of James Edward Whitney, (H.C. '89), Newburyport, Mass.; received 1925 December 11. Recataloged from: SG 3102.1* - SG 3102.100*. Collection was transferred from Widener Library to Houghton with items missing and/or incomplete. Missing items are noted in finding aid. Some items were added by different donors after the finding aid was compiled by James Whitney (see items 100-112).

Access Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

James Edward Whitney Collection of Playing Cards, ca 1500-1920 (MS Am 2204). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Scope and Content

Collection of packs of playing cards, both manuscript and printed, from early 16th century to early 20th century. Most packs incomplete. Includes cards from Austria, China, England, France, Germany, Hindustan, Hopi Tribe, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, United States, and others.


Note: Books referred to in this catalogue are: CHATTO. Facts and Speculations on the Origin and History of Playing Cards. By William Andrew Chatto. London: John Russell Smith, 1848. CULIN. Korean Games, with notes on the corresponding Games of China and Japan. Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania, 1895. By Stewart Culin. The Gambling Games of the Chinese in America. By Stewart Culin. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1891. MERLIN. Origine des Cartes a Jouer. Recherches nouvelles sur les naibis, les tarots, at sur les autres especes de cartes. Par R. Merlin. Paris, 1869. O'DONOGHUE. Catalogue of the Collection of Playing Cards bequeathed to the Trustees of the British Museum by Lady Charlotte Schreiber. By Freeman Marius O'Donoghue. London: Published by order of the Trustees of the British Museum, 1901. SINGER. Researches into the History of Playing Cards, etc. By Samuel Weller Singer. London: R. Triphook, 1816. TAYLOR. The History of Playing Cards, etc. By Rev. Edward S. Taylor. London: J. C. Hotten, 1865. WILKINSON. The Chinese Origin of Playing Cards. By William Henry Wilkinson. In The American Anthropologist for January, 1895. WILLSHIRE. A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and other Cards in the British Museum etc. By W. Hughes Willshire, M. D. London, Published by order of the Trustees of the Museum, 1876-1877.

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