Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just the Thing to Send to Soldiers at Christmas - More on Milton Bradley

Well, I tried to take advantage of Halloween with a "seasonal" post on some "creepy" aspects of Civil War medicine including "phantom limbs" and "glowing wounds." I thought I'd do the same for the holiday season with some posts that relate to Christmas and the Civil War.

The first is a short update on some additional research I've done relating to an earlier post on the role that gamemaker Milton Bradley played in the Civil War.
I've started with the illustration above of a typical wartime advertisement for Milton Bradley's games. This particular adertisement appeared in the "Classified" section of the December 10, 1864 issue of the Scientific American (another favorite subject of mine) and is specifically geared to the Christmas season. I think it's pretty cool and provides a wonderful link between the present and the past.
As for additional research, since I first posted on Milton Bradley I came across two other great resources: one a 50th anniversary booklet - Milton Bradley: A Successful Man (Springfield, MA: Milton Bradley Co., 1910) - and the other a centennial history: It's All in the Game (New York: Putnam's, 1960).
Between the two I got some great ne winformation, including:
a) A wonderful quote from Milton Bradley himself regarding one of his printing press men who left the firm to enlist in the Union Army: "When he left, he said he would come back with shoulder straps,” Bradley remembered years later, adding, “and so he did, but minus one arm.”
b) What's more, Bradley – inspired by past generations who had taken up arms - even intended to volunteer himself. Captain A. B. Dyer, Superintendent of the Springfield Armory, persuaded the aspiring soldier that his talents would be better used as a draftsman at the armory than as a private in the ranks. Bradley complied, and did late night work at the arsenal as his part to assist in the national crisis.
c) It's All in the Game also included a letter to Bradley from a customer regarding the "Myriopticon" game of panoramic battle scenes from the war.
I incorporated a couple more paragraphs into a piece that will appear in the "Knapsack" section of North & South magazine within the coming months.
I am going to follow up today and tomorrow with another "holiday-themed" post - this one about the role of express companies in the Civil War.

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