Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Eames House of Cards

At some point early in my life I came into possession of this House of Cards set. My parents gave them to me, I assume, and of course, Crazy Lady still has them. The House of Cards, if you're not familiar, was designed in 1952 by Charles and Ray Eames for children. Like me! A deck of cards, a series of images, that celebrated what they called "the good stuff...familiar and nostalgic objects from the animal, mineral and vegetable kingdoms." I loved my cards to tatters, as you can see from the box.

The cards have small notches on the sides so you can build all manner of structures, but I was never a builder—more of a gazer—so I think I mostly just gawped at mine. A lot. Because those images—the snail shell! the pills! the technicolor veggies! the buttons!—all of them are absolutely etched in my brain, the way the Eameses meant them to be. And every time I see them, I get that Proustian chill of recognition and remembrance (excuse me for being one of those assholes who references Proust without actually having read Proust—I need to learn French! I don't trust translations! You already know that about me!).

So here are just a few of my favorite images from the cards. I've been thinking about them lately because I've discovered that they are also used on a couple different vintage editions of the Memory game, which I plan to share this week if I get my act together.

On a practical note, you can still buy these cards—I believe they're published by the Museum of Modern Art and come in a variety of sizes and styles. They're a bit pricey, but I think this is one of best gifts you can give a kid who has advanced beyond the stage of gnawing on cards or ripping them up just for ha-ha's.


  1. Very cool - I would put those in a frame. The image of the pretty pills?
    That wouldn't make it's way into a deck of cards for kids today. That and piling 10 kids into the back of a station wagon without seat belts.

  2. if i ever score another box, i will frame them-love the pills.


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