May 22, 2022

Vanderbilt Libraries Acquires Premiere Collection of Books About Card Games, Games of Chance, Playing Cards and Chess

From Vanderbilt University:

The George Clulow and United States Playing Card Co. Gaming Collection—one of the world’s premiere collections of books about card games, games of chance, playing cards and chess—has been acquired by Vanderbilt Libraries.

The collection of approximately 1,000 volumes dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries was acquired from The United States Playing Card Co.; they bought the bulk of the collection from the English playing-card maker George Clulow in 1898 and have augmented and enhanced it during the past 100 years. Also included in the collection are archival records that document the development, design and manufacture of playing cards in America.


The Clulow–United States Playing Card Collection was described by Catherine Perry Hargrave in A History of Playing Cards as “one of the most complete and scholarly collections that has ever been gathered together.” Mike Slaughter, CEO of The United States Playing Card Co., is excited that Vanderbilt has become the home for the collection’s preservation. “We think of card games as entertainment—and they are—but this collection shows how games have shaped our world and influenced the way we think about so many things from mathematics to the arts,” Slaughter said. “We are grateful for the commitment and passion of Valerie Hotchkiss, who made the relocation of this hugely significant collection possible. Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, who invented bridge as we know it, would be proud.”

The Special Collections Library at Vanderbilt hopes to catalog the collection and make it fully accessible in the very near future.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.