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The Great American Marble Book: 09/10/09

Growing up my grandmother was a marbles player. When I was a child she taught me the games she knew and I would sometimes play them with my friends. I would also play against myself in my room imagining great triumphant playground battles in times long past. So when a copy of The Great American Marble Book by Fred Ferretti surfaced at a BookCrossing meeting, I had to snatch it up.

The Great American Marble Book was published the year I was born and it shows a fascinating snapshot of early 1970s culture as seen through the game. On the back cover the author exclaims: "This book is for all former marbles players... for present marbles players... and for future marbles players. Let their tribe increase." My grandmother would have loved this book as a former player; I feel like the "present" player being the same age as the book; I plan to hold onto the book at least long enough to teach the games to my children or the "future" players.

Ferretti used children and teen players from Yonkers in his book. The last page of the book has a group portrait with their names. From the looks of things, the photographs for the book were shot in one day's worth of playing in a sand lot. Besides the black and white photographs of different marbles games and techniques, the book has a lengthy and fascinating section on different marble types in the chapter called "A Lexicon of Mibology." I've read this chapter about a dozen times and it's by far my favorite. It brings back so many memories of my grandmother reliving her best marbles games.

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Comment #1: Thursday, September, 10, 2009 at 16:59:40


I never really played marbles, but when I was a kid I used to collect different kinds, just because I thought they were pretty. I had no idea people studied marbles- mibology? what an interesting hobby!

Comment #2: Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 20:14:15


"Mibology" is a new word for me too. I was more of a collector than a player too. Not many of my friends played marbles so when I did play I was typically playing against myself.

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