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Ely and Josephine Dillon Culbertson

Ely and Josephine Dillon Culbertson
Usage Conditions Apply
Nikol Schattenstein, 10 Aug 1877 - 7 Sep 1954
Ely Culbertson, 22 Jul 1891 - 27 Dec 1955
Josephine Dillon Murphy, 1898 - 23 Mar 1956
c. 1930
Oil on canvas
127cm x 102.3cm (50" x 40 1/4"), Accurate
Frame: 146.1 x 120.7 x 9.2cm (57 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 3 5/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
During the 1920s and 1930s, the glamorous husband-and-wife team of Ely and Josephine Culbertson succeeded in transforming bridge from a parlor game into an international phenomenon. Already accomplished players when they married in 1923, the duo enjoyed spectacular success on the tournament circuit with their unconventional bidding methods and playing strategies pioneered by Ely. When contract bridge was introduced in 1926, Ely seized the opportunity to establish himself as the new game's foremost expert and practitioner. After launching The Bridge World magazine in 1929 and publishing his bestselling Contract Bridge Blue Book the following year, Culbertson partnered with his wife to score victories in a series of high-profile matches at home and abroad. The unprecedented media coverage of these contests made the Culbertsons international celebrities and ignited a contract bridge craze that remained unabated for more than a decade.
(John Davison, Accessories, Mullica Hill, New Jersey); purchased 1990 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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