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Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: 115.2075
The Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven papers are a collection of fliers, brochures, booklets, reviews, publicity clippings, and other ephemera related to several of DeKoven’s projects during his lengthy career as a play theorist. Projects include the Games Preserve, Computer-Enhanced Meetings, and the Institute for Better Meetings. Additional scope and content information can be found in the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

The Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven papers are arranged into four series. The materials are housed in one archival document box.


  • 1971-2011
  • Majority of material found in 1975-1990


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.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)


The Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven papers are a compilation of materials from various projects, including the Games Preserve, Computer-Enhanced Meetings, and the Institute for Better Meetings. The bulk of these materials are dated between 1975 and 1990.

Biographical Note

Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven is an American play theorist, game designer, and author.

DeKoven developed the Interplay Games Catalog for the School District of Philadelphia between 1968 and 1971; the Intensive Learning Center printed four volumes and two manuals for this curriculum in 1971. Soon after, DeKoven established The Game Preserve, a retreat center for the study of play and games, in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He produced content for Games magazine, and in 1978, published The Well-Played Game. In the 1980s, DeKoven moved to Silicon Valley, California. While working with computers, he created several projects to help businesses work together in more collaborative and fun ways.

DeKoven has devised games for toy and game manufacturers, written books on the importance of play, and consulted with independent game designers and inventors. He is a lifetime member of The Association for the Study of Play. (For more information, see also “Deep Fun and the Theater of Games: An Interview with Bernie DeKoven” in the American Journal of Play.)

System of Arrangement

Series I: The Games Preserve, c. 1971-1978

Series II: Computer-Enhanced Meetings, 1985-1988

Series III: Institute for Better Meetings, 1990-1993

Series IV: Other projects, 1977-2011

Custodial History

The Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven papers were donated to The Strong in August 2015 as a gift from Bernard DeKoven. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 115.2075 and were received from DeKoven along with 9 library volumes and several games.

Related Materials

The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play holds more than a dozen volumes authored by Bernie DeKoven in the library stacks, including the comprehensive Interplay Games Catalog, The Well-Played Game, and publications from Computer-Enhanced Meetings and the Institute for Better Meetings.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, September 2016
Finding Aid to the Bernard (“Bernie”) DeKoven Papers, 1971-2011
Julia Novakovic
14 September 2016
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)