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The Game of Tight Rope

Object Name: Game board
Date: 1870
Related People:
Medium: Cardboard, paper
Dimensions: Overall: 9 1/4 x 11 1/8 in. (23.5 x 28.3 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: "The Game of Tight Rope" bi-fold, paper covered cardboard game board; board chromolithographed with an image of four clowns crossing a tightrope above a river with a waterfall in the background, one man is falling into the river and two men are swimming out to a boat in the lower right corner, below tight rope is a numbered grid; board printed with text: "Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1870, by McLOUGHLIN BROS., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington./ GAME OF TIGHT ROPE."; label on the reverse of the board with a man walking on a tight rope and text: "GAME OF/ TIGHT/ ROPE/ McLOUGHLIN BROS. NEW YORK."
Credit Line: The Liman Collection
Object Number: 2000.723
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The Game of Tight Rope carries subtle references to America's post-Civil War Reconstruction (1865-1877). Players travel across a precarious rope bridge, trying to avoid plunging into the swift waters below. A nearby rescue boat, piloted by Uncle Sam, carries an African-American child representing the Freedmen's Bureau, an agency formed in 1865 to aid and protect newly freed blacks.


"The Games We Played: Victorian Games from the Liman Collection," New-York Historical Society, December 4, 2001-March 24, 2002.