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Profile of the Day: Alfred Mosher Butts

Happy National Scrabble Day! Scrabble Day is observed each year on the birthday of Scrabble inventor Alfred Mosher Butts, who was born on April 13, 1899 in Poughkeepsi, New York.

During the Great Depression, Butts lost his job as an architect and struggled to support himself. He found some work writing for magazines and even tried his hand at art, but had little success. During this time, Butts decided to try developing a board game that he hoped he could sell. A fan of puzzles and crosswords, Butts set out to design a game that would utilize chance and skill by combining the elements of anagrams and crossword puzzles. He initially called the game “Lexiko” and then later changed the name to “Criss Cross Word.”

In the beginning, Butts had difficulty selling his idea to game makers. Eventually, James Brunot, an entrepreneur and game-lover, purchased the rights and gave the game a new name, “Scrabble.” Once Macy’s department stores began selling it in 1952, the game took off and ignited a national craze. Today, over 150 million sets have been sold worldwide.

Do you enjoy playing a game of Scrabble with your family?

Explore Alfred Mosher Butts’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the Scrabble inventor!

View Alfred Mosher Butts’s Geni Profile

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