Vanderbilt Libraries Present: An Evening of Card Game History and Whist Playing

On Tuesday, March 27, the Friends of Vanderbilt’s Libraries will be hosting an evening exploration into the game of whist.

Led by collector and card game historian David Levy, the event will celebrate the Library’s recent acquisition of the George Clulow – United States Playing Card gaming collections, one of the world’s premiere collections of books about card games, games of chance, playing cards, and chess. The collection contains almost a thousand volumes that date from the 15th to the 20th centuries as well as archival records that document the development, design and manufacture of playing cards in America.

University librarian Valerie Hotchkiss notes that the collection’s chief attraction is its wealth of materials for students and faculty in a wide array of disciplines, such as history, law, economics, mathematics, and foreign languages. “It is also quite fitting that Vanderbilt should be home to this collection because one of its great leaders, Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, played a historical role in gaming as the inventor of contract bridge,” said Hotchkiss. Catherine Perry Hargrave in A History of Playing Cards described the Clulow-United States Playing Card Collection as “one of the most complete and scholarly collections that has ever been gathered together.”

The evening event will kick-off with a  lecture entitled, “You’ve Got Pirates!” featuring author Edmund Hoyle’s A Short Treaty on the Game of Whist, which Levy considers to be the “most important book ever written about a card game.” Immediately following Levy’s lecture, refreshments will be served and attendees will be invited to participate in a game of whist themselves. The game is easy to learn, and no experience is necessary to participate.

David Levy is a historian of playing card games. He actively participates in competitive backgammon tournaments and is so passionate about gaming that he has written software to play the game of trictrac.

The event will begin at 5:30pm and will be held in Vanderbilt University’s Central Library community room. For further inquiries or to RSVP, please contact Nancy Dwyer at 615.343.1222 or

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