Sumerian Game collection Edit


Finding Aid Author
Julia Novakovic
Finding Aid Date
29 January 2016
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


  • 1962-1967 (Creation)
  • 2015 (Creation)


  • 0.25 Linear Feet (Whole)
  • 2.5 Gigabytes (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Abstract

    The Sumerian Game collection contains three teletype printouts from the Sumerian Game (also called Sumer), one of the first educational computer games, along with photographic slides and a research report filed to the Office of Education at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The dated materials are from 1962-1967, though some items are undated. Scans of the slides were created and inventoried in 2015 and are included in this collection.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

  • Custodial History

    Much of the Sumerian Game collection was donated to The Strong in January 2015 as a gift from Devin Monnens and Alexandra Johnson. The printouts and slides were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 115.146 and were received from Devin Monnens in two envelopes. Library staff added the ERIC report to the collection in 2016.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    Sumerian Game collection, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Julia Novakovic, January 2016. (Devin Monnens also scanned and provided an inventory for the slides in this collection in January 2015.)

  • Historical Note

    The Sumerian Game was developed by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Northern Westchester County, New York, in the early 1960s. The game, designed to teach sixth graders basic principles of economics, had participants play as members of Ancient Mesopotamian society. Prior to game play, students listened to an introductory programmed lecture synced to a slide projector. During the introduction, students learned about the land of Sumer around 3500 BC. Then, brief instructions were typed out for the student at a typewriter terminal controlled by a computer. What followed were various agricultural dilemmas requiring action by the player (assuming the role of Luduga I, a priest-ruler of Lagash) and progress reports on harvest and population. Random disasters, such as floods, fires, and grain rot, could occur throughout the game. Further phases of the game added in the development of crafts, trade, and other economic factors.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    The Sumerian Game collection contains three “scrolls” of teletype printouts of sample gameplay, 39 Kodachrome slides utilized in introducing the game to students, and a research report filed to the Office of Education at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. (Digital scans of the slides are also part of this collection.) The materials are mainly dated between 1962 and 1965.

    The Sumerian Game collection is arranged into three series, one of which has been further divided into subseries. The physical materials are housed in one archival document box; digital files are located on the internal network of The Strong.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Teletype printouts, 1964 and n.d.

    Series II: Slides, 1962-1965, 2015

    Subseries A: Kodachrome slides
    Subseries B: Digital scans

    Series III: Reference, 1967

External Documents