Games at cards for one player by W. Pole – 1874

  • Name Article: Games at Cards for One Player
  • Author: W. Pole
  • Year: 1874
  • Published in: Macmillan’s Magazine, November edition
  • Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Games at cards for one player by W. Pole - 1874 - article about solitaire in Macmillan's Magazine
Source: Google Books

Games at Cards for One Player by W. Pole, Macmillan’s Magazine, Volume 31 1874

W. Pole was, at the time he lived, a well-renowned writer of books about card games. He was most famous for his book “The Philosophy of Whist” In the November edition of the Macmillan’s Magazine he wrote a very interesting article about “Games of Patience”

It’s one of the first publications in England about Games of Patience and Solitaire (or Solitary games as W. Pole, the writer of the article prefers to name this card game category)

W. Pole really gives a good insight into the true nature of the game, and its characteristics, and he classifieds the games into certain groups.

Besides some descriptions of a variety of Patience games, he also gives a lot of information about the background of solitaire at that time.
For example, he divides Solitaire games into 2 different classes: Games of Chance and Games combining Chance and Skill.

Mr. Pole’s definition of Patience and why Solitary should be the name of the game

“A card game for one person is so to speak a match played with faith, the adversary being, in reality, the element of chance which enters into the game by shuffling the cards.
It has been the custom to call such games “Games of Patience” probably for the reason that if the player is at first unsuccessful, he must exercise that well-known virtue, and try over and over again till his perseverance is rewarded by a more favorable result.”

Already back in 1874, Mr. W. Pole argues the name “Games of Patience” and prefers the name Solitary Games instead. Another reference to the fact that late nineteen century there was a debate in England about what name was most suitable, Patience or Solitaire, can be read in the newspaper article “Solitary Games” (The Spectator, Volume 48, Deel 1 1875 London)

The origin of the name Patience according to Mr. Pole

About the origin of the name Patience W Pole wrote

“The name of Patience was no doubt derived from the almost hopeless attempts to win games of this nature”

W Pole gives in his article an extended historical view on the games of Patience and Solitaire. He confirms that the “Old Patience” game was the most popular at that time.

As resources he refers to 2 French- and 2 English solitaire books. He points out that the latest publication is the Illustrated book of Patience by Lady Cadogan.

It’s likely that the other English book was the book by Ednah Dow Cheney (Patience Games for the FireSide)