Overlooked No More: Lizzie Magie, the Unknown Inventor Behind Monopoly

When we⁢ think of the classic board ‌game Monopoly, ⁣we ⁢often associate it with the⁢ Parker Brothers version that has become a household name.​ However,⁢ what many people may not know is that the original concept and design of ⁣Monopoly can be credited to a ⁣woman named Lizzie Magie. Despite​ her influential role in creating one of ‌the most popular ⁤board games ‌of all time, Lizzie Magie’s⁤ story has ​been largely overlooked in the annals of ⁤history.

The Story of Lizzie Magie

Lizzie Magie,​ born ‍Elizabeth J. ‍Phillips in 1866, was a writer, inventor, and feminist who lived in the United ‌States. In ⁣1904, she designed a board game called ⁤”The Landlord’s‌ Game” as a way to educate players about the economic principles of Henry ⁣George, a political economist and social ‍reformer.

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The Landlord’s Game

The Landlord’s ⁤Game featured a square board divided into spaces that players could buy, rent, and sell. This game had two sets⁣ of rules ‌- one where the goal was to create ​monopolies and​ accumulate wealth, and another where wealth was distributed more equally among players ⁣to ​demonstrate the effects ⁢of George’s economic theories. ⁣Magie patented her game in 1904 under ⁤the title “The ⁢Landlord’s⁢ Game.”

Evolution into Monopoly

Over time, The Landlord’s Game evolved into ‌what we now know ‍as‌ Monopoly. In the‌ 1930s, Charles Darrow created his own version of the game and sold it‍ to Parker Brothers, leading to the immense popularity of Monopoly as we know it today. Darrow’s version of the ⁣game ​omitted many of the original⁢ rules and ⁣messages that Magie had intended, leading ‌to ⁤her ‍role in the creation of Monopoly being overshadowed.

The Legacy of​ Lizzie Magie

Despite ⁢being overshadowed by Charles Darrow, Lizzie Magie’s contributions to ‌the board game industry cannot ‌be understated. Her original game, The ⁢Landlord’s Game, laid the foundation for what would‍ eventually ‌become Monopoly, one of the ‍best-selling ⁣board games of all time. Magie’s game also introduced the concept of game⁢ design as a form of social commentary, a‍ practice that continues to influence ‍modern board game creators.

Key Takeaways:
Lizzie Magie⁤ invented The Landlord’s Game in 1904.
Her ‍game ⁤laid the foundation ⁤for Monopoly.
Magie’s game was designed to educate‌ players about economic principles.

Recognition and Honors

In ⁣recent years, efforts have been ⁤made to recognize Lizzie Magie’s contributions to the creation of Monopoly. In 2015, Hasbro, the current owner of the Monopoly brand, included a short blurb about Magie on the game’s packaging,​ acknowledging her​ as an inventor of an early version of the game. While this recognition is a step in the right direction, many believe ​that Magie’s legacy should be more widely celebrated in the gaming community.


Lizzie Magie may have been overlooked⁢ for many ​years, but her impact on⁢ the world of board games is undeniable. Her​ creation⁢ of ‌The Landlord’s Game paved the​ way for the iconic game of Monopoly, and her pioneering⁢ spirit as a female ⁢inventor deserves to be celebrated. As we continue to⁣ enjoy the‌ timeless fun ⁣of Monopoly, let us remember the woman behind the game ⁢and the⁣ mark⁢ she‍ left on the world of gaming.

For those ​interested‍ in learning more ⁤about ​Lizzie Magie⁣ and her contributions to the ​gaming industry, there are resources available online and in libraries that delve ‌deeper into her fascinating story.⁤ Let us not forget the‌ unknown ⁤inventor⁣ behind Monopoly, a⁤ woman ahead of her time who deserves to be remembered and honored.

Remember, Lizzie Magie ⁤is‍ more than just⁣ an overlooked figure⁣ in history⁤ – she is a trailblazer whose legacy lives on in the games we play today.

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