Question about 52 cards and 52 weeks

I got a question about "story of a soldier in a church reading the playing cards as a book of devotion, associating each card with some religious personages or events" ....
I remember a legend with a real "first source" (? I remember late 18th century , somehow connected to military with possibly a French scenario, it was a defence against an attack on playing card use). The 52 playing cards were related to a religious connection to the god-creation of 52 weeks in a year. There was a human name related to the story..
I attempted some search, but not successful. I saw it maybe 15 years ago. Any ideas?

Added ...
,,,, this is a modernized version of the story without a note of the real source
gives some details ....
Moreover, a broadsheet titled "The Soldier's Prayer-Book" which recounts the same story as the 1948 song "Deck of Cards" appears in an 1865 book about the history of playing cards. French versions of the tale were printed in 1778 and 1809.
The 1865 book should be ...
The History of Playing Cards: With Anecdotes of Their Use in Conjuring, Fortune-telling, and Card-sharping
by Edward Samuel Taylor
Hotten, 1865 - 530 pages ... er&f=false
at page 442 The name of the soldier is in this version Richard Middleton.

At page 444 ...

.... we find notes to the earlier French versions.

The 1778 version is (author is Louis Bras-de-Fer) ...
Explication morale du jeu de cartes: anecdote curieuse et intéressante, sous le nom de Louis Bras-de-Fer, engagé au service du roi
1778 - 24 pages ... &q&f=false

Re: Question about 52 cards and 52 weeks

The 1778 version is (author is Louis Bras-de-Fer) ...
Explication morale du jeu de cartes: anecdote curieuse et intéressante, sous le nom de Louis Bras-de-Fer, engagé au service du roi
1778 - 24 pages ... &q&f=false
I was fooled by google, which presented the text, as if it would have "24 pages" and was totally written in "1778".

The presented book has much more content and only the start of it was written in 1778 (and even that isn't sure) ... the whole is a chaotic composition, which looks, as if somebody has forced various parts together in one production without explanation, what is intended from his side. That all in French language, which is difficult on my side of the world. So I keep quiet about it ...


I stumbled in this context about Chatto ... ... oi&f=false
Facts and Speculations on the Origin and History of Playing Cards
William Andrew Chatto
J. R. Smith, 1848 - 343
... who at page 320 wrote about this book (.... possibly ?).
Last edited by Huck on 03 Apr 2024, 12:19, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Question about 52 cards and 52 weeks

Thanks, that's fine.

Page 24 reports about the later life and the death of Louis Bras-de-Fer. So one possibly might suspect, that the reported story happened possibly 1750 or earlier. Louis Bras-de-Fer is (if everything is a true story) the heroic author of the ideas in the article, but not the author of the 24-pages-article. He's dead in 1778 (according the article).

I followed Chatto a little bit and found, that the article was reported by Breitkopf in 1784.
I checked this ... ... as&f=false
... at page 33.
Breitkopf tells not much about Bras-de-Fer, but leads to another article about games in France in this book ...
Mélanges Tirés D'Une Grande Bibliotheque: Précis D'Une Histoire Générale De La Vie Privée Des François : Dans Tous Les Temps Et Dans Toutes Les Provinces De La Monarchie. 3
by René Louis de Voyer “d'” Argenson
Moutard, 1779 - 403 pages ... edir_esc=y
The article is at pages 377-395 ...
"Des différens Jeux pratiqués en France dans tous les temps de la Monarchie" ... &q&f=false

Re: Question about 52 cards and 52 weeks

The composition text (part 2)
1811 ... 11&f=false
The original ....
Histoire du jeu de cartes du grenadier Richard, ou, Explication du jeu de cinquante-deux cartes, en forme de livre de prières
Chez l'auteur, 1811 - 228 pages ... &q&f=false


Chatto mentions in this context a Peignot, who has published some recherches about playing cards , probably this man ... ... -1849.html
The work is ... ... edir_esc=y
Recherches historiques et littéraires sur les danses des morts et sur l'origine des cartes à jouer
by Gabriel Peignot
Lagier, 1826 - 367 Seiten

Chatto (Footnote):
page 324/325

Chatto gives as the date of the Grenadier text the year 1809, but the online text has a clear 1811.

Peignot writes to Le Normand, p. 282


Le Normand:
Les souvenirs prophétiques d'une sibylle: sur les causes secrètes de son arrestation, le 11 décembre 1809
Marie-Anne Adélaïde Le Normand
L'Auteur, 1814 (?) - 596 Seiten ... navlinks_s
Books/Google offers a version, which has a 1809 at the introduction page. The soldier text starts at page 340, as given by Peignot.
The start at p. 340 ...
Image ... 40&f=false .... pages 340 - 356

Re: Question about 52 cards and 52 weeks

In Work

It seems, that the confusing composition of ...

"A Versailles, de l'impprimerie de J.P. Jacob"
[ I - VI ] Avant Propos
[ VII - VIII ] Origine des Cartes
A single picture at two pages

(1) Du Jeu de Cartes du Grenadier Richard
[3 - 60] Start of a text block with 240 points
(61) Finish of the text block

[62-206] Notes, start of a text block with 264 points, the last point is "Hercules"
[206-211) 12 works of Hercules.
(211) - point 265: Vesta
(212) - point 266: Danaus .... Finish of Notes

(213) Table (alphabetical register)
(223) .... Livres de Fonds qui se trouvent (A. Pitou, Librarie de Paris etc. )
(228) .... end of book