New York: Charles S. Clark Company, circa 1926. Boxed set of twelve unused bridge tally cards, measuring 2.25 x 5 inches folded. Cards printed with twelve color pictorial designs, six for male players and six for female players, with color-coded silk tassels (white for men, yellow and orange for women). Housed in publisher's card box, lightly rubbed. Small smudge to interior of Edith Wharton card, not affecting image.
Colorful set of bridge tallies with a literary theme, featuring streamlined Art Deco caricatures of bookish types, and identifying each player as one of twelve bestselling modern authors. “Edith Wharton” and “Ring Lardner” carry their reading into the great outdoors; “Arnold Bennett” reads his book in an easy chair while “Kathleen Norris” reads hers in bed; “Edna Ferber” spills her coffee at the breakfast table, lost in her reading, while “Henry Van Dyke” and his book take refuge under an umbrella. Other writers featured include Zona Gale, John Galsworthy, Gene Stratton-Porter, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Joseph C. Lincoln, and Irvin Cobb. Aimed at the cheerful general reader, the set reflects a preference for entertaining realism over self-consciously “literary” experimentation, targeting the middlebrow audience captured by the newly founded Book-of-the-Month Club: no coincidence that Ernest Hemingway dismisses a would-be expatriate writer as “rather vain of his bridge game” in The Sun Also Rises. A fine complete set, a delightful literary artifact of the 1920s.