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Published August 14, 2014 Updated July 17, 2022

Happy Families

Happy Families designed by A.E. Kennedy, 1930s.

United Kingdom Faulkner Kennedy Childhood Card Games Happy Families Add to Collection

Happy Families designed by A.E. Kennedy,  1930s

Described as “a source of innocent merriment”, Faulkner's “Happy Families” designed in the 1930s by Albert Ernest Kennedy (1883–1963) shows family entertainment from a different era. The pack is made of 12 families (father, mother, son and daughter) illustrated in full colour with the tools and dress of their trades, which in those days would have been seen in the High Street shops. Family likeness can be seen between the members of each family, and each family’s surname commences with the same letter as their trade and makes a pun on the name. This makes a total of 48 cards.

Click here to see the rules

Albert Ernest Kennedy (1883–1963) was an Illustrator of children’s books mostly about animals. His clever and expressive illustrations, slightly cute, are still collected today. He was the elder brother of noted flower painter Cecil Kennedy and was one of the few illustrators of whom Alison Uttley approved both for his work and his personality. Among many other books he illustrated most of the Alison Uttley “Sam Pig” and “Tim Rabbit stories”.  (From “The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators”).

Also by A. E. Kennedy: Farmyard SnapThree Bears SnapOur Pets SnapFairyland Snap

Above: Faulkner's “Happy Families” designed in the 1930s by Albert Ernest Kennedy (1883–1963), 48 cards + rules in box. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Faulkner Happy Families has different box title cards on various packs. I suspect that they overprinted complete packs to get the box title cards and then logically there will be 48 different box covers out there somewhere. How about a collecting challenge here. Collect the 48 different boxes and try to play a game to end all games using the packs as individual cards? I don’t think it would be very easy to hold a fan of cards (boxes) in one hand. Fun to try though!

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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