100 Years Ago: Poor loser was misidentified in this card game

History Matters

July 16, 2011|By Louise Vest

100 Years Ago

Suicide Bridge?

Reported In the Ellicott City Times was a story about a game and an English woman:

"Bridge Doomed? The Gambling Game Said to Be Losing Caste in England.

Not so long ago an inquest was held on a Stratham woman who committed suicide after losing some rubbers at bridge. It was stated that she as a rule, a first rate player but that on the evening of her death she played very badly and lost games which should have won easily.

This tragedy is another example of the unsuitability of card games to the feminine temperament. Many women are admirable bridge players as far as mere skill and knowledge are concerned, but they are nearly all bad losers. They are too emotional and too easily upset by the outrageous tricks that fortune so often plays. This is really the reason why bridge has lost its popularity and is so rapidly falling out of fashion. ... .

Husbands complained that their wives returned from their bridge clubs in state of nervous tension that made conversation impossible. The nagging that was merely exasperating at the card table became utterly intolerable when transferred to their homes. In a number of cases the domestic peace was irrevocably shattered, but the more usual ending was resignation from the club which caused all the mischief. The last couple of years have seen the closing of a dozen of the principal mixed card clubs in London and bridge as a social relaxation doomed."

Where to begin with this one, there's just so much fodder.

It seems that it didn't occur to the writer (there was no byline) that the Stratham woman played badly that evening because she was distraught over matters other than bridge.

To the "too easily upset": How dare she be in a bad mood! Unlike men, who after losing a golf game are just the epitome and sweetness and light. And through the ages, how many men have fought and sometimes died over card games?

Perhaps the wife's agitation and nagging after a game occurred because, in many cases, playing bridge was one of the few times she could exercise her brain, but was returning home to once again take up a much less cerebral role.

Sounds like the "poor loser" was misidentified in this one.

75 Years Ago

Grange gathering

"Grange Leaders To Hold Meeting At College Park: The Tenth Annual Grange Leaders Conference under the auspices of the Middle Atlantic Grange Lecturers Association will be held at College Park, Md. August 11th to 14th with the University. The Association is comprised of the State Grange Lectures of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. The delegates will be accommodated the University at the low cost of $8,50, which will include meals, lodging.

The opening program will include an address of Welcome by Dr. H.C. Byrd, Pres. of the University of Maryland and 'Greetings' by Dr. T. B. Symons. Director of Extension Work, Miss Venia M. Kellar,, State Home Demonstration Agent and T. Roy Brookes, Master, Maryland State Grange."

Maryland was a hub for agricultural education for another reason — John Stuart Skinner — a Maryland lawyer and author who wrote a very successful, nationally recognized journal published in the 19th century, the American Farmer, which, like the extension services, covered many aspects of agriculture.

If Skinner's name sounds familiar, he was the American officer in charge of a famous prisoner exchange during the War of 1812. He was aboard a British ship, along with Francis Scott Key, watching as Baltimore's Fort McHenry was bombarded by the Brits. He was the first to read the poem Key had written about his emotions while bearing witness to the bombardment and its aftermath.

50 Years Ago

Beautiful bridge

In the Lisbon social column:

"The Bridge Club was beautifully entertained last Wednesday afternoon by Mrs. Dorsey Warfield at her home here. Prize was won by Miss Eleanor W. Gaither."

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