Monopoly

Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’

Linked by Paul Ciano

Mary Pilon:

The tale, repeated for decades and often tucked into the game’s box along with the Community Chest and Chance cards, was that an unemployed man named Charles Darrow dreamed up Monopoly in the 1930s. He sold it and became a millionaire, his inventiveness saving him — and Parker Brothers, the beloved New England board game maker — from the brink of destruction.

This month, fans of the game learned that Hasbro, which has owned the brand since 1991, would tuck real money into a handful of Monopoly sets as part of the game’s 80th “anniversary” celebration.

The trouble is, that origin story isn’t exactly true.

It turns out that Monopoly’s origins begin not with Darrow 80 years ago, but decades before with a bold, progressive woman named Elizabeth Magie, who until recently has largely been lost to history, and in some cases deliberately written out of it.