King of the Turf Board Game, 1939


This game includes a box measuring 19.54 by 11.74 inches with a long playing board, 4 of the 6 original horse pieces, dice, and a dice cup.


In 1992, Wilmington's Solomon sister, members of a prominent local Jewish family, gave a large donation of family items to the Museum. This board 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 to 1940) and his brother Bernhard (1854 to 1943) founded a successful dry goods business. The girls' father, Harry Myer Solomon (1890 to 1962) was active in the family business and was a veteran of World War I. Harry married Mary Louise Fick (1883 to 1976) and the couple had three girls: Marie (1925 to unknown), Jean (1926 to 2010), and Catherine (1931 to unknown). Catherine received this board game in 1939. In 2012, Catherine recalled that her older sisters went to the 1939 New York World's Fair and she stayed home because she was deemed too young to attend. She received this game at that time. King of the Turf is a classic type of racing game. This edition was marketed as "modern" by naming it after a 1939 movie called King of the Turf. To play the game, each player throws a die to select horses. Then, three dice are thrown at once. Horses move forward based on how the dice fall. The first horse over the finish line wins.

Games with board, 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.

King of the Turf Board Game

CFM 1992.031.0405 (detail)

Gift of Catherine A. Solomon, Jean Solomon Turner, Marie Solomon Kahn