Author Archives: mahjonggandme

About mahjonggandme

Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).



I just spoke with the very delightful Lynn Chorn, the new owner of the fantastic website, She only has FOUR copies left of this wonderful souvenir book from the Project Mah Jongg exhibit. Lynn told me that she has contacted the publisher, 2wice Arts Foundation, but they have no more copies to sell. So, if you are interested in this special book – and at a very reduced price – contact Lynn right away because these books are going, going…gone soon!


Today’s posting is about a book that is fairly new – it was first published in 2003 but then Tuttle Publishing translated it into English and published the book in 2007 for the American audience. The book is written by Jelte Rep, a Netherlands native who, when not playing Mah Jongg, makes documentary films and writes dramatic television shows. He is a great Mah Jongg enthusiast and his book is very thorough.

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No, I didn’t spell our beloved game the wrong way – this is how Viola L. Cecil spelled it in 1938 when she wrote her book, MAAJH – The American Version of an Ancient Chinese Game (the book was revised in 1939). In the foreword to her book, Viola signs her name with the title, “President National Mah Jongg League.” Since the National Mah Jongg League was founded in 1937, it would seem that Viola was one of the founding members and probably the very first president. IMG_2121 Continue reading


Today’s posting is about a book written by the man we all can thank for our fun times at the Mah Jongg table.

In 1912 an American by the name of Joseph P. Babcock was sent to China as a representative of the Standard Oil Company. Babcock and his wife became enamored with the Chinese tile game that was all the rage among the ex-pats living in Shanghai. An entrepreneur by nature, he created a simplified version of the game, called it Mah-Jongg, and brought it to the United States.  He then wrote what was at that time the definitive rule book for the game and called it Babcock’s Rules for Mah-Jongg, which quickly became known simply as The Red Book.

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Over the next few weeks I am going to post pictures from some of the rarer and more interesting books on Mah Jongg from my collection. Today’s posting will show you a few pages from a 1923 book entitled, “Mah Jong And How To Play It” by Chiang Lee and published by the London publisher, Thomas De La Rue & Co., Ltd. Incidentally, Thomas De La Rue & Co., Ltd. also created some very fanciful and delightful Mah Jongg card sets.

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Yesterday I posted about Crak Bam Dot Mah Jonggthe fabulous catalogue from the Project Mah Jongg exhibit currently on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Several readers of this column alerted me to the fact that the museum is all sold out of this great souvenir book but that it is currently available on the wonderful website, WhereThe WindsBlow, and being sold for a steal of a price at $39.75, including shipping!


Much thanks to Diane G and Katie A, two great friends to this blog, who alerted me to this great sale!