1923 “Log Cabin to White House” Fireside Game Now on Display at President Lincoln’s Cottage
By Erin Carlson Mast
The success our current bicentennial special exhibition My Abraham Lincoln has prompted the extension of the exhibit through August 1, 2010. The collections will remain the same with the exception of the Dr. Stone medical school diploma of The Leo Pascal Collection. Due to its fragility, it was replaced this month with a new item from the Pascal family, a board game from 1923 inspired by Lincoln’s path to the presidency.
“Log Cabin to White House” was the third game featured by Fireside Games in the Chicago Tribune in 1923. The preceding games in the series were titled, “The Game of Movie Stars” and “The Game of Fortune Telling,” indicating that these games did not focus exclusively on history and politics, but rather popular subject matter of the day. The Lincoln-inspired game was published, appropriately, in February of 1923 and was followed by “The Game of Jungle,” “The Game of Bank Directors,” and “The Game of School.” “Log Cabin to White House” is unique in the series in that it focuses on one person, loosely following a single life story, but is similar to the rest of the series in that it follows a theme of advancement or improvement of one’s condition, with various pitfalls and bonuses along the path to success. In this case, a player in the “Log Cabin to White House” game can benefit greatly from landing on spaces such as “Good to Mother,” while landing on a square indicating a major move, such as moving from Kentucky to Indiana, sends the player back to start. More interesting, perhaps, are the losses of turns for landing on the “held back by slavery question” and “awkward personality” squares. While the game is just that, a simple game, it serves as a metaphor for the two steps forward one step back, winding path that Lincoln took from his humble beginnings in a log cabin in Kentucky, to the White House in Washington, D.C.“Log Cab in to White House” is part of the President Lincoln’s Cottage special bicentennial exhibit “My Abraham Lincoln.” It is on display courtesy of The Leo Pascal Collection. The game may be viewed in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center during regular visiting hours through August 1, 2010.