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Dimensions (inches): 37.5" x 29"
Women Are Trumps: an especially rare Woman’s Suffrage card game, produced by The Bailey, Banks & Biddle Company, Philadelphia in 1915. Played in the manner of Bridge, Hearts, or Spades, there are no men--no kings or jacks, and no aces -- just queens. These are represented by important women throughout world history, with dates beginning in the early 18th century.

There are also cards featuring various nations, with satirical statements about their treatment of women, i.e.: "England: “Where the men think “A dog, a woman, and a walnut tree, the more you beat them, the better they be,” and "Russia: Women enslaved and Unenlightened," and "Turkey: Shapeless in Body and Mind.” For America the designer of the game, Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer, chose the following text: “Femal completes the male you see; For what’s a he without a she; And what becomes of doughty man if not the half of wise woman?”

The Moora Herald and Midland Districts Advocate (Washington State) published the following on Friday, February 5th, of that year, p.7, under the headline “A New Card Game. ‘Women Are Trumps.’:

“The last word in card games is "Women Are Trumps" (says the "New York World). Have you tried it? No? Well, you will find it simple, absorbing, entertaining, instructive. It is played with fifty-two cards, the same number as in the ordinary pack, but there all similitude ceases. Spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds are done away with; into the discord with them go kings, knaves, and aces. Only the queens are left, and of these are a-plenty, for this is a suffrage game intended to advance the cause of votes for women; likewise the exchequer of the same—price, one dollar per pack. And who wants kings, to say nothing of idle knaves, with their well-known pernicious habit of stealing from queens, in a strictly feminine pack.

Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer has mothered the new game; Philadelphia is its birthplace. The lady is one of the foremost social leaders of the 'Quaker City'; also an ardent exponent of suffragism. Incidentally she owns the finest collection of playing cards in America, which includes the first pack made in this country. So, you see, her knowledge of cards is eminently erudite. It follows, too, that once she made up her mind to devise a pack symbolic of the women of the world and their common cause, the rest was easy. It was a mere matter of collecting the data and finding the artist of sympathy and skill who could best put the results in concrete form.

Men May Play! In the new order of things these are still four suits—bells, symbolizing the women of the United States; crowns, representing royal women of distinction almost from the beginning of time; serpents indicating noteworthy women and Maltese crosses for the oppressed women of all the world—the women without votes, naturally. Four or more players are required—yes, men may take a hand! The player first cutting a queen is the dealer, who distributes all the cards evenly among the players. The dealer is also the leader, and she starts by asking the player on the right for any card she wishes. If it is held it must be delivered face upward. Then the dealer asks for another card, continuing until the lead passes again to the next player. The game is won by the player who manages to collect all the cards in the one hand.”

Mounting: The cards have been mounted by way of mylar corners to a background of 100% cotton, black in color. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was placed in a ripple profile molding, black with gold highlights, to which a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: The deck is incomplete, with 31 out of 52 cards present, but the game is so rare that having a significant portion of it is a terrific find. The back of some of the cards were damaged from having been adhered at one time to a paper surface.
Primary Color:
Earliest Date: 1913
Latest Date: 1915
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
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