I was working on an 1895 Boston newspaper (Boston Evening Transcript) where there was an ongoing column used for public questions and answers; “The Message Board of the 1890’s”.
There is a very good history of the column in:
Access The Boston Transcript
One of the questions (queries) concerned the game “Break the Pope’s Neck”.
I went on line to see if there was any other mention of the game and I found the following entry in: Digital History
“…This high degree of ethnic solidarity reflected both the discrimination that Irish Catholics faced as well as their belief that their job security and economic well-being depended on ethnic unity in the face of hostility from the nation’s Protestant majority. From the early nineteenth century onward, Irish Catholics faced recurrent waves of anti-Catholic sentiment. The evangelical revivals of the early nineteenth century produced a “No Popery” movement. A popular children’s game was “Break the Pope’s Neck”. …”
Do you know how the game was played?
Let us know if you do.
Jose from Clarkston, Michigan