How Did Abe Lincoln Growing a Beard Kick Start Milton Bradley’s Gaming Career?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to board games and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of all board game urban legends so far.

BOARD GAME URBAN LEGEND: Milton Bradley got into board games because Abraham Lincoln grew a beard.

Milton Bradley (1836-1911) was a Massachusetts draftsman who turned to lithography to make a living in 1860.

In 1860, Bradley lucked into one of the hottest selling lithographs of the day, a popular portrait of the man who would become President of the United States that year, Abraham Lincoln.

Massachusetts was almost universally Republican at the time, so Bradley was selling the prints constantly, and with Lincoln headed for the White House, Bradley figured he’d have a cash cow for at least the next four years.

Then, something happened that would change Bradley’s life forever.

Abraham Lincoln grew a beard.
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