Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Milton Bradley Program

Vienna Historical Society


Milton Bradley and the Checkered Game of Life



David Richards
Interim Director

Margaret Chase Smith Library

Saturday, June 2, 3:00p.m.
Mill Stream Grange Hall

       The audience anticipates an interesting afternoon . . .

David Richards fascinates with his knowledge of Milton Bradley

          Some of the Milton Bradley games on display , , ,

                              David Richards

We are fortunate to have David Richards presenting this program, as he is arguably the leading authority on the life and times of Milton Bradley. 

Mr. Richards joined the Margaret Chase Smith Library staff as assistant director in 1996 and became interim director in 2012. Prior to his appointment at the library, he served as executive secretary of the Androscoggin Historical Society in Auburn, Maine, and curator of collections at the United Society of Shakers in New Gloucester, Maine.  Richards earned his B.A. in History from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, his M.A. in New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine, and his Ph.D. in History from the University of New Hampshire.  He is the author of Poland Spring: A Tale of the Gilded Age, and has spent a great deal of time and resources investigating and documenting the life of Milton Bradley.

             . . . while waiting for the program to begin. 
        David answers questions after the program.

                       . . . more games

                                                           A Special Message to Program Attendees

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my appreciation of Milton Bradley to those attending your meeting today.  101 years before I was born, Milton Bradley was born in Vienna.  The only son of Lewis and “Fanny” Bradley, he certainly would have been a very unlikely candidate to become founder of the company that would dominate the games, puzzles, and young children’s school business for a century.  Milton had a love of printing which came from his roots in England, in fact “The Checkered Game of Life” was patterned after a similar game played in England.  However, that is all history, and you will have ample opportunity to learn about this.  What you might not have known was how his legacy influenced all of us who would follow.  Time doesn’t permit a lot of details, however, I will give you a little insight.

            As a young boy, I remember waiting for my parents to return home from Springfield.  I didn’t know why they went there every year to see Milton Bradley, but I sure enjoyed playing all the games they brought home.  Only many years later would I understand that Dad was on the Board of Directors, and we were sort of the “product testing center” for games which might be considered by Milton Bradley.

            In 1944, one of the games Dad brought home was “Go to the Head of the Class.”  I can’t even remember if it became a Milton Bradley product, but I do know the lesson I learned.  You see, I discovered if I [accidentally] picked up two cards, you could choose the one that was easiest to answer.  My Dad let me do that for the entire game not acknowledging he knew what I was doing.  When I won . . . he asked me if I wanted to play again.  I replied, “Yes.”  My Dad said, “Fine, then you will play the game fair and square like Milton Bradley wanted you to play, and when you win you will feel good.  Right now he would be very disappointed.”  I didn’t win again for a long time, but I knew what he meant.  All of us “Bradley descendants” have “fair play” indelibly planted in our genes, and we know only one way to play . . . the Milton Bradley way.

            Milton Bradley was a fascinating person who enjoyed many successes, and I feel it is safe to say that he is surely one of Vienna’s most talented citizens.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your meeting.  Enjoy your time here.




Bradley L. Curtis
Great-Grandson of Milton Bradley


Website Builder