The 400s, Johannes Buno, Idea Universae historiae (Leipzig, 1700). Like many educational games, Twain’s game doesn’t scream fun. The cartoons of 1899 were raffish and funny. If one had few historical facts at one’s disposal, the game was impossible to play. Mark Twain born WHEN and WHERE and WHO and WHAT HAPPENED. “How to Make History Dates Stick,” brimmed with Twain’s characteristic humor. For the chronology of English kings, he created pictographs based on alliteration: the Henrys are hens, the Stephens are steer, the Williams are whales, and the Edwards—feet tipped up on their chairs, pens in hand, and malice in their eyes—are editors. Twain wrote, “We have ground the manhood out of them, & the shame is ours, not theirs, & we should pay for it.”). . Robot racers simulate military supply missions in city traffic. Twain’s late reflections on memorization stake out a very different direction from his earlier thought which tended toward visual structures, repetitive practice, competition, imagination, and toward iconology and narrative. In it, he bemoaned his own difficulties remembering things, dates above all. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage had become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. And for Twain, as for his contemporaries, knowing history meant memorizing historical facts—lots of historical facts. On good days, Twain was sure that he was onto something grand and lucrative. In essence, game play proceeds by turns as each player names a historical event and its date, which are then checked by an umpire or by a competitor. It was about a child who grows up in a world in which no one—including that child—questions the God-given legitimacy of a society in which people who think of themselves as supremely civilized endorse a system that is uncivilized, illegitimate and inhumane. And find them wanting. Paige Compositor, Scientific American, March 9, 1901, In 1885, Twain got the patent he sought for his game, but it wasn’t until 1891 that he came back to the history game. Or what if the final exam required students to respond to a comment Twain made in the North American Review five years before his death—“the modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the government when it deserves it”? Twain doesn’t appear to have lost money on the game, but in the market, the game was a failure. . If you are lucky, in a dusty used book store or flea market, you may someday happen upon a copy of Mark Twain's Memory Builder, a history game developed by Samuel L. Clemens in the mid-1880s and debuted in 1892, an obscure treasure by one of America’s great writers, an old game of memory almost entirely forgotten today. How might recent American history be different if Twain’s posthumously published “The War-Prayer”—a piece that unmasks the euphemism, hypocrisy and willful blindness that are part and parcel of the patriotic fervor stirred when a nation goes to war—had been required reading in U.S. classrooms for the last hundred years? Twain first worked up rules for play with a cribbage board and deck of cards; then he began to design his own game boards. On May 19, 1885, in his response to a patent examiner who compared Twain’s game to Klobassa’s, Twain made his case. Diagram of Mark Twain’s driveway arranged for the outdoor history game, from Mark Twain, “How to Make History Dates Stick,” Harper’s. Mark Twain’s Memory Builder is designed for players who have a lot of chronological information at their fingertips already. Twain and his publisher wrestled over details. In a sense, rather than a “memory builder,” Twain’s game was a “memory exerciser.” And if the game was fun, that’s where the fun could be found. With Internet search engines at our fingertips on computers and smart phones, we live in a world of ready reference. 4.13 avg rating — 8,355 ratings. Alternatively, players may allow events from any century, in which case, 11 would stand for 1511, 1611, 1711, and every other year ending in 11. But it’s not just the content of historiography that is foreign to us, it is also the very notion of what studying history is about. Many history textbooks and mnemonic systems from the period encouraged students to imagine history in terms of century units. Patent no. Then she or he could copy out that same image repeatedly, one cartoon per year of a reign, and pin them up in order, zigzagging at each point of regime change. Recall his 1885 letter to the dean of the Yale Law School explaining his decision to pay for one of the first black law students there. Moreover, in Klobassa’s game, one moved tokens on a game board. Any number of difficult, show-off trivia games have succeeded over the years. Twitter - share an article. Twain writes, Cartoon mnemonic for Edward I from “How to Make History Dates Stick”. Early Prototype Game Board for Mark Twain’s history game. He shared his insights with us in a rich body of work as thought-provoking today as it was when he wrote it. Mark Twain thought this was a shame. The player with the most points wins. Score boxes are subdivided into rows for different categories of events: accessions, battles, and minor events. Twain’s was a game of knowledge. Twain suggested that to remember a monarch’s reign, a student might draw a cartoon of the Edward the Editor variety. Twain was so disappointed by the flimsiness of the board that he briefly threatened to remove his name from the product. Others had historical subjects; but according to Twain they did not challenge the faculty of memory. The player with the most points wins. Twain really wanted readers to see how the image of an editor propped up in a chair might remind them that Edward I was “the first really English king that had yet occupied the throne.” The same goes for Edward II. .”, What if more people had read this passage from “Outlines of History (suppressed),” in Mark Twain’s Fables of Man (UC Press, 1972) as the warning Twain probably intended it to be: “. Twain’s earlier games emphasized abstraction and numbers. It’s just that Twain thought that a little more enjoyment might be breathed into the whole affair. Facts for Mark Twain’s Memory Builder—interior. Consider this: what if the following comment from Twain’s notebook appeared as a boxed quote in history textbooks?