My first semester of graduate school, I wrote a paper on folk traditions performed during the game of Euchre, a game near and dear to my family that is played at every gathering. Euchre is extremely popular in Central New York where I grew up, although when I moved to college in New York City practically no one knew how to play. It turned out that game is also known in southern Indiana, where I attend graduate school, although they do things a bit differently here. I began wondering about the game’s history and transmission, but found no easy answers. I wrote a small paper on it for my first folklore seminar, but I was stymied by the dearth of information and the difficulty of finding some old sources. When I saw a call for entries for the Encyclopedia of Play in Society, I decided to try my hand again and this time, seasoned by a few years in graduate school, I had better results.
I found Euchre’s history to be fascinating, particularly its status as a game for the lower classes, loved for its easy and informal game play that allows for constant chatter and gossip–a characterization that certainly holds true for my family! You can read my entry on Euchre through Google Books Preview. Unfortunately, it looks like my entry on Ecarté is blocked at this time.