Description: This Anagrams game came in a square box. There were 163 black letter tiles when the set came to the Museum.
History: In 1992, Wilmington’s Solomon sisters – members of a prominent local Jewish family – gave a large donation of family items to the Museum. This Anagrams game was among the items they donated. Members of the Solomon family came to Wilmington from Germany in the 19th century. The Solomon sisters’ grandfather, Sigmund Solomon (1844-1940) and his brother Bernhard (1854-1943) founded a successful dry goods business. The girls’ father, Harry Myer Solomon (1890-1962) was active in the family business and was a veteran of World War I. Harry married Mary Louise Fick (1883-1976) and the couple had three girls: Marie (1925-), Jean (1926-2010), and Catherine (1931-). This version of Anagrams was produced by the Allfair Company. In 1900, Harry O. Alderman and Elmer E. Fairchild were in the box and novelty business in Rochester, New York. They began making games in the 1920s. They began using the Allfair logo in 1929.
Games with boards – like Mancala – have been played for thousands of years. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that commercially manufactured boxed games with boards began to be produced in mass quantities. The United States’ board game business took root in the 1840s. After the Civil War, improved color printing techniques helped board games proliferate. Companies like Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, and Selchow and Righter began making large quantities of board games such as Parcheesi and Life. Although we might think of them as “timeless,” many games such as Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Battleship were introduced during or after World War II.