Jerry Slocum bigraphy, stories - Puzzle collector, author

Jerry Slocum : biography

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Jerry Slocum is an American historian, collector and author specializing on the field of mechanical puzzles. Prior to retiring and dedicating his life to puzzles, he worked as an engineer at Hughes Aircraft. His personal puzzle collection, numbering over 40,000 mechanical puzzles and 4,500 books, is believed to be the world's largest.

Slocum's first book, Puzzles Old and New, published in 1986, was the first comprehensive book to include all types of mechanical puzzles with hundreds of color illustrations of antique puzzles. In the introduction Martin Gardner predicted that the book would "remain a classic for decades."

In 1993, Slocum founded the Slocum Puzzle Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on puzzles, through puzzle exhibitions, publications, communications, and collecting.

Slocum also founded the International Puzzle Party in 1978, an event dedicated to discussing, showing, and trading, mechanical puzzles. The first eight International Puzzle Parties were held in Slocum's Beverly Hills living room, and then evolved into an annual by-invitation-only event rotating between North America, Europe, and Asia.

Slocum has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Martha Stewart Living, and eight other nationwide TV shows.

In 2006, Slocum donated over 30,000 puzzles to the Lilly Library at Indiana University, marking the first time a major collection of puzzles was made available in an academic setting.


Slocum has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books on the topic of puzzles.

  • Puzzles Old and New, with Jack Botermans (1986)
  • The Puzzle Arcade (1996)
  • The Tangram Book, with Dieter Gebhardt, Jack Botermans, Monica Ma, Xiaohe Ma 2003 ISBN 1-4027-0413-5 Sterling Publishing Company (Comprehensive, illustrated history, 1,756 problem figures) beautiful photos of historic Tangrams from Asia, Europe and America
  • The 15 Puzzle, with Dic Sonneveld, 2006 ISBN 1-890980-15-3 Slocum Puzzle Foundation.
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