Donkey Parties and Cheeseheads –

Pinning under the Pointed background of“Pin the Tail ~ above the Donkey”


Pop-culture images of children’sbirthday parties frequently depict fresh-faced youngsters playing “Pin the Tail on theDonkey.” This Norman Rockwellesquepainting (1940s?):
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But the video game is lot older. This early (and decidedly politicallyincorrect) comic strip, for example, reflects a “Donkey Party” in 1906:
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Although it was most likely acoincidence (if not divine inspiration), the “cheesehead” ~ above the grandfather’shead in the first panel (perhaps the first cheesehead in tape-recorded history) ideas at the geographicorigins that the game:
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A “donkey party” heat sweptacross the United claims in 1887. Ns havenot been able to pin-the-tail on precisely when the heat started, but itreached the centers of culture and power, new York City and Washington DC, inlate 1886. The faster reports credit(or blame) Milwaukee for starting the fad:
Donkey parties space the latestthing in the way of a society gathering in Milwaukee. A large silhouette representing a taillessdonkey is cut out of file or cloth and fastened top top the wall. To each of the guests are provided a cambrictail and also a pin. Climate they areblindfolded, one by one, put in a edge opposite the donkey, are whirledthree times around, and then started on a blind find for the donkey, uponwhich, if they reach it, the tail is to it is in pinned. If the guest goes in another direction andstumbles versus a wall, door, chair, or anything else, there he need to leave thetail. The movements of the blindfoldedare apt to it is in ludicrous. The human being who makesthe ideal effort to place the tail upon the donkey whereby it belong receives apresent of some kind, when the guest who provides the many unsuccessful effortgets the booby prize.

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Donkey parties are the latestthing in a social way in Milwaukee. Itmay appear strange to the observant reader, however these parties might be successfulwithout the visibility of dudes.
The following weeks and also monthsbrought dozens of accounts and descriptions of the hilarious new game. Women’s clubs, society dinners, men’ssmokers, charity occasions – everyone that was anybody held a “Donkey Party”:
Editor Bazoo: The very latestsocial wrinkle the is convulsing capitol society, is the “Donkeyparties.” Everybody, “that is anybody,”is trying that dexterous feat that “tailing the donkey.” uneven one has actually triedthat adroit deed, you have no conception how much mental and physical strain isrequired. I have actually seen tomb dignitariesand wily to represent waltz confidently approximately the donkey and miss the by tenfeet. City council Jacobs came really nearattaching the caudal appendage to the neck, and Speaker agree tem Russell leftthe behind attachment ~ above the turn off hoof.Senator Gears the jolliest male in the senate, is contemplating providing a“Donkey party” in the basement of the capitol, to “donkeys” only of the twofoot tribe, and demonstrate almost that no blinded man have the right to successfullyaccomplish the plot in one trial, only.
A sports of the “donkey party” alsoincluded a challenge for producing the ideal donkey cut-out v manila files andscissors:
The competition is veryentertaining, if not, in ~ times, exciting, and the result most ludicrous. Any young dude who has studied increase the anatomyof the donkey over night and also given his totality mind come the undertaking canreadily capture the an initial prize.
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the magazine, i m sorry was devoted to the record industry, hyped the heat in hopes of marketing more record donkeys, and "an endless supply the tails":
Donkey parties space going to bestill more numerous during the comes season, and also besides the usualparticipants will require the faithful depiction of “Asinus” and, what isequally important, an unlimited supply that tails. Numerous crude and also ill developed resemblances that thedonkey have been made to offer the function of having some fun. That is much much better to procure a correctly drawndonkey and all of his needed appendages.The inventor that this video game is C. Zimmerling, of Philadelphia, and he haspublished a sheet on i m sorry the donkey and also numerous tails are depicted. All that is essential is to cut out thefigures and also they room then all set for use, complying with out the published directionswhich the manufacturer supplies. Thisgame is a very enjoyable at home pastime, and also for a jolly company is among thebest things preferred for a winter evening’s amusement.
Although the article says that Zimmerling to be the inventor the the game, the earliest reports place the game in Milwaukee in 1886. Charles Zimmerling stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, since the 1880 census lists an Augustus Zimmerling, life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, perhaps there is a Milwaukee connection, after all.Both Augustus and also Charles Zimmerling obtained utility patents throughout the 1880s. Augustus obtained a patent for a gas furnace, and Charles deserve patents because that soap, a cleaning link for floors, and stove polish. Both Zimmerlings to be born in Germany. Perhaps they to be brothers? maybe Charles had a jump on the competition by learning about the game from his brothers in Milwaukee? maybe Augustus introduced the video game to Milwaukee after his brother designed the game in Philadelphia? We might never know.Despite the hype, some world considered the “donkeyparty” old-fashioned, as at an early stage as November 1887:
Rev. Mr. And Mrs. Edwardspleasantly entertained the young people Tuesday evening with an old-fashioned“donkey party.”
The citizens of St. Luigi arethinking increase pleasant ways of amusing the delegates to the national democraticconvention following June. How would donkeyparties execute for one thing?
The Emporia Weekly News (Emporia, Kansas), April 19, 1888, web page 4.
(You can read around a later on parlor video game craze, the "White Elephant Party," here:)

The donkey Party


A political cartoon the appearedin Harper’s Weekly in 1874 is credited with first associating the democratic party with thedonkey, and the Republican party with the elephant:
. . . The autonomous party to be alsoassociated through the crowing Rooster, and hadbeen due to the fact that 1840 (you deserve to seen anexample that the autonomous rooster above one of the earliest-knownappearances that the idiom, “cut the mustard” from 1889). Back the crow has actually fallen by the wayside,the cheat is still through us.

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But long prior to the Democratswere donkeys, or asses (depending on your political persuasion), the fictitiouscandidate, “John Donkey,” introduced a tongue-in-cheek politics campaign, ascandidate the the “great cheat party,” in 1848, an ext than one-hundred years prior to Pat Paulsen first “ran”for president in 1968:
That stupid yet immortalindividual, john Donkey, of Yankeedom, complying with the instance of the GreatEmbodiment, is at length in the fieldfor the Presidency.
John Donkey’s “brother,” GeneralC. Donkey, ran for President top top the Whig Party ticket (at least as report inthe pages of the magazine, john Donkey– the yes, really Whig candidate was general Cass (C. Donkey/C. Ass – obtain it?)).
That is just a sample that the typeof humor that might be found in the pages of man Donkey, an early precursor of both The Onionand TheDaily Show, modeled on the british magazine, Punch. The magazinelaunched in January 1848, and also lasted for at least seven months, and also perhaps notmuch longer. The legal and also financialburdens of numerous lawsuits doomed the magazine. The publisher was sue by number of targets ofits satire, including the likes the Edgar Allen Poe and also Horace Greeley. Through today’s better-defined, and stronger,protections because that political and also satirical speech, the magazine might have lastedlonger.