|A Letter to Bert (1/8)|
A Letter to Bert (1/8)
(A medley about chess libraries, dealers and collectors)
Bob Meadley 2001
THERE IS NO COPYRIGHT-ANYONE IS WELCOME TO USE THE CONTENTS
This letter to Bert Corneth was expanded to include the dealers and collectors I have met over the years and a chapter on how I acquired the Christmas Series and finally three pages on how chess gradually ensnared me throughout my life.
I apologise for the disjointed approach taken and don’t wish to rewrite it. As I am unable to use OCR scanning because of the poor quality of the manual typewriter the fact that I have to retype this ensures I won’t rewrite it. Most of the facts are there and all those interested in chess libraries & c can add more and correct mistakes.
I’m told a floppy disc holds 250 A4 size pages of text so I have hardly half filled this disc. One of my real future delights would be to receive a disc in return with additions and corrections to my material.
As for the disc it seemed to me that sharing information as cheaply as possible was simply done by sending a disc in the mail. Those of you who wish a hard copy should be able to get the disc printed out at a secretarial service.
The last 3 months have been quite enjoyable (including the 1996 period) and the hardest part was the chapter on the Christmas Series as it had to be dug out of files.
What makes a collector? Well, in my case, in rural NSW, I needed a library to keep me sane. I don’t drink nor am I a club person. I do like to research and find interesting facts that have been forgotten or need republication. As I near 60 I can say that I must like this as I still do it. Collecting costs money and one reaches a stage where one has to cease. Ken Whyld said I wasn’t a true collector nor was he; and that we are fact finders. He has a great library simply because it is convenient. But that said, it is enjoyable to research in great public libraries.
I like collectors who use their libraries and I also like public institutions that continue research into their holdings.
We owe a debt to the great collectors – even those who just collected. Niemeijer was the greatest collector and fact finder as judged by his writing. Van der Linde ran him close. J.G. White was a generous collector and a fact finder. So also was M.V. Anderson. But they gave their libraries for the greater public good and that makes me like them a lot. I would love to see The Hague and Cleveland libraries ‘one day’ and I continue to hope.
I would like to finish this with a 1999 short story on collectors by Richard Guillatt.
He writes so beautifully about us and wherever you see ‘record’ just change it to ‘chess book’ and you have us as a species. (Good Weekend March 20 l999 Herald):-
ONE TRACK MIND
(He has spent a lifetime of lunch-hours in musty, testosterone-filled second-hand record shops searching for rare John Lee Hooker masterpieces. So what’s wrong with that?)
An acquaintance of mine whom we’ll call Richard G – an otherwise normal and well-adjusted middle aged breadwinning father of two with no outward signs of mental illness – enacts an odd and obsessive ritual whenever he enters a hotel room in an unfamiliar city. Before he has even unpacked his bags and toothbrush, he hauls out the Yellow Pages from the dresser drawer, turns to the section marked “Records – second hand” and begins scribbling notes furiously onto the blank page of a small spiral notebook. What he’s doing is writing down the address and telephone number of every record store in town that might even remotely possess a copy of, let’s say, ‘On the Waterfront’ by John Lee Hooker (Wand Records, 1970) or ‘African Cookbook’ by Randy Weston (Atlantic Records, 1972) somewhere in its dust-choked shelves.
You see, this hapless individual ( who, of course, bears absolutely no resemblance to the author of the article you are now reading) is plagued by the thought that he could be driving around this unfamiliar city during his short visit and, without realising it, pass within metres of a pristine vinyl copy of the above mentioned artefacts or, for argument’s sake, the obscure Kenyon Hopkins album ‘The Sound of New York’ (ABC, 1959) which, as you’re no doubt aware, features an appearance by the alto sax great Phil Woods and a deluxe gatefold sleeve mocked up to resemble a coffee- table book.
You might think this sounds like pathological behaviour and, well, you’d be absolutely right. But on any given lunch-hour in any large Australian city you will find people like this hunched over the racks in shops like Ashwood’s of Sydney, a musty smelling second hand record store located at the flophouse end of Pitt Street which, coincidentally, I myself have wandered into about twice a week for the past five years just because I happened to be passing by. In silent communion, the customers in here comb through endless rows of discarded Jimmy Barnes and Uncanny X-Men albums, eyes flitting left and right whenever a fellow scrounger pulls something from the racks (please God, don’t let it be a mint-condition copy of “The Two Sides of Laura Lee’ (Hot Wax,1972). The truly committed are down on their knees with their heads buried inside the bottom cabinets, sifting through the effluvia for some pearl that they can bring back to the surface.
One thing you will notice immediately about this place, apart from the smell, is that there aren’t too many women around. The odd girlfriend might be idly staring at the walls, lured in here by some misguided notion that she will be able to participate in her companion’s quest, but you’re very much in an oestrogen-free environment because, by and large, collecting records is a Bloke Thing. Just why this is so was something I’d never really analysed until I came across ‘High Fidelity’, Nick Hornby’s best-selling 1995 novel about a London record shop owner who spends his life immersed in the insular milieu of the committed record collector, his brain a vast database of useless information from the history of Western pop music. ”High Fidelity’s’ protagonist, Rob Fleming, is the kind of guy who gets into long, passionate arguments with his girlfriend about why Art Garfunkel and Solomon Burke cannot possibly coexist on the same compilation tape. At moments of peak stress, he re-categorises his vast collection of albums. “Is it so wrong, wanting to be at home with your record collection?” asks Fleming plaintively. “It’s not like collecting records is like collecting stamps, or beer mats, or antique thimbles. There’s a whole world in there, a nicer, dirtier, more violent, more colourful, sleazier, more dangerous, more loving world than the world I live in……” Leaving aside the fact that Fleming is an emotionally retarded loser whose inability to communicate his feelings borders on the pathetic, I have to admit I identified with the guy. In fact, judging by the sales of ‘High Fidelity’-which made Nick Hornby a multimillionaire-there’s an entire global community of blokes out there who see Fleming’s obsessive immersion in the world of records as some kind of metaphor for the male condition, a symbol of some deeper primordial urge that several millenia of civilisation have apparently failed to ease. One shouldn’t generalise about these things, of course, but I’ll give it a go.
It has been my experience that women simply do not understand the point of record collecting. My own collection of 12-inch albums finally outgrew the lounge room a few years back and had to be transplanted to the children’s bedroom-where it now occupies the entire south-east wall from floor to ceiling, like the towering obelisk from ‘2001:A Space Odyssey’-and I was standing there one afternoon admiring the orange-and-black colour scheme of an Impulse! Album spine when my sister-in-law walked in. “When are you going to get rid of all these?” she asked with a sweep of the hand. A pretty stupefying question, I’m sure you’ll agree-particularly to a guy who’s still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from the day he lost his copy of ‘Funhouse’ by the Stooges (Elektra,1972).
Perhaps collecting records is the closest the contemporary male can get to the hunter-gatherer role of his forebears, some throwback to the Neanderthal retrieve-and-hoard instinct. Women collect stuff, of course-antique thimbles, dolls and other depressingly gender-specific items-but there’s a certain gigantism to the way men accumulate their possessions. Their collections become monuments to their own egos, domestic versions of Bruno Grollo’s towers. Sir Thomas Phillips, the British book and manuscript collector, was so hell-bent on possessing every book in the world that he canvassed his friends to find him a rich wife to finance his quest.
In his 1986 book ‘The Recording Angel’, Evan Eisenberg tracked down the modern-day equivalent of Sir Thomas – a New Yord record collector who filled virtually every square inch of his 14-room house from his parents, along with a large fortune which he spent almost entirely in pursuit of his dream of owning every jazz album, every pop album, every movie soundtrack, ethnological field recording and 101 Marimba LP ever foisted on an unsuspecting world. His collection became so vast and unwieldy that he ended up with records in his stove and refrigerator; rock stars such as David Bowie would drop over to borrow items of ultra-rare quality.
Freud explained this kind of mania as the by-product of some childhood trauma. And when you consider that Freud himself collected 4,000 Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Chinese antiquities of a generally phallic nature, this is one subject on which he was probably qualified to pontificate.
In his book ‘Collecting: An unruly passion’, the New York psychoanalyst Werner Muensterberger theorised that collecting was a way of overcoming childhood anxiety by creating a sense of order and completion.
Unfortunately, Werner Muensterberger didn’t answer his telephone when I called him recently for a free telephone consultation, so instead I rang Marcus Taft, an associate professor of psychology at the University of NSW. After reading countless case histories of people who had filled their oven with jazz albums or dreamed of amassing the ultimate stuffed-elephant collection, I was beginning to get uneasy. Was I the dysfunctional product of my mother’s incompetent potty-training back in 1959 or was it perfectly reasonable for a 40-year-old to think that one of the most important things in the world was locating a mint-condition copy of ‘The Battle’ by George Jones (Epic 1976)?
“I’m doing this column about record collecting,” I told Taft, when he picked up the phone. “You see, I collect vinyl albums, particularly rhythm n blues stuff and jazz albums from the 1950’s. Blue Note Records, that sort of thing………….”
“Really?” Taft replied. “I’ve got piles of those at home.”
“Just kidding,” he added, with a carefree psychologist’s kind of chuckle.
“Hah – very funny. You got me there. The thing is, I have this recurring dream: I’m in some unidentifiable city that I seem to have visited before and I have this vague recollection of finding an extraordinary record shop on my previous visit, a shop I’m determined to find again. I walk across town, down side streets and alleys, until I find the place, and I walk inside, and there inside the shop, stuffed into cardboard boxes and racks all around the interior are wrapped, the entire Kenyon Hopkins back catalogue, even ‘The Battle’ with its cover depicting the tragic break-up of George Jones and Tammy Wynette (symbolised by a photograph of George’s cowboy boots at the end of the empty marital bed)…I pick them up. I hold them in my hands, I’m exultant. Then I wake up”.
“Oh, that’s normal,” replied Taft. “I‘ve had dreams about my own collecting.”
“Really?” I asked. “What do you collect?”
“Old grocery items – tins, packets, supermarket packaging, that sort of stuff. Things that mark the era.”
Suddenly, Marcus Taft was waxing lyrical about his grocery items collection, about its significance as social history, the way the shapes and designs of consumer packaging evoke and preserve the past, about the colour-scheme of an old Vegemite logo. . . . .
by then my attention was wandering. I mean, come on – grocery items? What a loser!
And after that, there is little more to be said. Happy reading.
Bob Meadley 41/5th Avenue Narromine 2821 NSW Australia
18 April 1999
41/5th Avenue Narromine
2821 NSW Australia 1/2/1999
I actually completed most of the enclosed on libraries in early 1996 and never sent it to you. One of those many projects that sits and festers because of other goals. It started with John van Manen’s categorisation of chess historians and I projected that onto chess book collectors as follows:-
1.The Great Collectors;
6. Specialist Area Collectors and
7. General Collectors. I admit it is open to correction.
1. The Great Collectors:- Niemeijer/van Der Linde; J.G.White; M.V.Anderson and Lothar Schmid.
This group primarily collected and still collect for the greater public good and the first four collectors libraries are now deposited in Public/Special Collections libraries with access to most people. In my opinion Lothar Schmid’s collection will become part of a great German Public Library in the not too distant future.
Dr. Meindert Niemeijer (l902/1987) was a Dutch chess historian and problemist who wrote copiously on chess and acted as the dealer for the Royal Hague Library, buying and selling chess books over a period of 40+ years and greatly adding to the collection’s status. His chess book lists were a regular feature of my contact with him through the 70’s and 80’s. He was a kind man and worked in the insurance field. He gave his collection to the Royal Library in 1948.
Antonius van Der Linde (1833/97) was one of the greatest chess historians of all time. A Dutchman, his chess history books are classics and in 1876 he sold his library of 750 volumes to the Royal Library. At the time it must have contained the greatest chess books of the day and was a fine acquisition for f 3000. This library now contained in The Hague and called the van Der Linde/Niemeijer collection held 20,000 items in 1982. Recent years have seen a decline in books purchased.
John Griswold White (1845/1928) was the greatest chess book collector of his day. Being a bachelor, nature lover and successful lawyer he was all-powerful in gaining chess contacts world-wide and from the late 1860’s until his death – a period of 60 years, he was the ‘ever-seeking’ pursuer of all that was rare in chess. His collection was used by H.J.R.Murray and other authors for various books. A strong chess player, he gave his collection of 12,000 books on chess and checkers to the Cleveland Library. It’s value was appraised at $300,000. With other collections and cash he left the library assets over $1 million. By 1962 the chess component only had grown to 14,500 titles and was estimated to be “ about five to six hundred titles short of everything written on chess”. By 1982 it was about level with The Hague. In the later 80’s the generally held view was that it had fallen behind but with the stricture on The Hague lately it may well be back in front numbers-wise.
Magnus Victor Anderson (l884/1966) started collecting in 1918 and collected until his death in 1966 when he gave the collection to the State Library of Victoria. He was an accountant and a fine chess historian but tended to be in the ‘background’ publishing little apart from his forays into ‘Quotes & Queries’ in BCM and Chess World. He also collected art works and these were donated to the Ballarat Library. He left funds of $10,000 which enabled the purchase of the 1561 Alcala Lopez and a catalogue of the collection to 1900 compiled principally by Ken Fraser, the curator of the collection. This collection held 10,000 books in 1994.
(1928) said by Ken Whyld to now hold the largest collection
in the world. This being so it must number 30,000 items. Generous in
allowing research, the most recent user was the late Walter Goldman with his
book on Schlecter. An Australian, Joseph Reiff, was invited to inspect the
collection when he met Lothar Schmid but he declined! Mr. Schmid attends all the
great auctions and continues to add to the Bamberg Library. A chess grandmaster,
he has been in the forefront of the chess world and has travelled widely and
visited the Anderson Collection in 1971. He said of the periodicals in that
collection that they were “ particularly
fine”. A book publisher, his contacts there have helped with further
growth of his library.
John van Manen’s classification of chess historians in his 3/8/1982 letter follows:-
Group Characteristics Merits
1.Professional Historians Schooled from an early age in Most likely to find original
(including archivists & historical research. sources to or make
archaeologists) original discoveries.
2.Amateur historians Chess players who get deeply Most likely to produce
interested in the history of the reliable interpretation
game, becoming historians at of the discoveries.
3. Copyists Writers of historical articles on Most likely to get players
chess, using the writings of interested in the games’s
groups 1 & 2 but without history due to popular
adding original opinions etc. interest.
4. Plagiarists Writers superficially interested Most likely to distort the
in history, mainly picking up and introduce or repeat
sensational bits and pieces for outmoded theories.
1. The boundaries between the groups are not sharp. An occasional member of Group 1 could be a reasonable chess player, able to talk sensibly about chess history as such; or a member of Group 2 could get immersed so deeply in the history, that he can be classified as a professional, even although he started late (especially if he had some special skills say as a linguist). Etc.
2. Although Peter Blommers says: “Most literature on the history of early chess and its origin is of popular nature and can be dismissed at one stroke”, this would only apply to their scientific contributions to the subject. These ‘Group 3’ people play an important role in disseminating historical knowledge to the chess world in general, and might even in particular cases contribute something to our knowledge, when temporarily taking on the mantle of a Group 2 member.
3. Although I feel that real progress depends on the work of members of Group 1, results from that Group will probably only be achieved by accident, when working on quite a different line of research they stumble on something of importance for the history of chess. It is quite possible that the importance of such a discovery will only be fully realised by a member of Group 2 who happens to become acquainted with such a discovery i.e. the proper incorporation of new knowledge will most likely result from the combined efforts of Group 1 and Group 2 members.”
The “Peter Blommers’ mentioned above was writing in CHESSHISTORICAL RESEARCH, a survey compiled and edited by Egbert Meissenburg. One would expect that all those surveyed in that booklet were collectors of some strength as well.
These historians are a passionate group and meet regularly along with Chess Collectors International and they appear to have a ball.
Another public collection achieving prominence is the Max Euwe Centrum which holds over 10,000 chess books from a late start in the l980’s.
Other public or semi public collections include the late Carl Jaenisch (1813-1872) collection which in the 19th century was reputed to be the finest in the world and was acquired for the Helsinki Public Library in Finland.
The late Charles Gilberg (1835-1898) had a collection of over 2000 books which were sold to the Columbia University in New York. This library was resold privately on more than one occasion but eventually ended up in the library of Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Likewise the great library of Eugene B Cook (l830-1915) another problemist like Gilberg had 2500 volumes. Cecil Purdy in Chess World p.89 1964 stated that this collection had grown to be the third largest in the world and was now in Princeton University at New Jersey. Later information suggested that it had stagnated.
2. Dealer Collectors
Dale Brandreth (l931) Undoubtedly the finest collection held by a dealer and it must number near 10,000 today. In l977 it was at 8,000 and a fine article written by Dale appeared in ‘Bonus Socius’ 1977, the 75th anniversary book to Dr Niemiejer the great collector and problemist. In this article Dale gave his reasons for collecting and like Alain White (1880 –1951) the great problemist/book publisher, he likes making order out of chaos by buying odd lots of books and magazines and then linking up missing family members. Another reason given was to build a reference library for study due to the lack of public chess libraries. And the final reason for collecting was to fill gaps in the collection. Dale is a chess book publisher and conducts ‘Caissa Editions’ from which many fine volumes have appeared. In 1977 he broke up his collection into 6 categories:-tournaments (books and bulletins)-2500, general works-1500, openings –750, magazines (complete years or bound volumes)-1500, emphemera pictures pamphlets-1000, miscellaneous-500. One interesting comment made was that he did not have very many early works as the upkeep on such works was not comparable to holding 50 books of lesser value. To use early works one needed to almost be a mediaeval scholar. His strongest interest is the modern era from Morphy onwards, He made one very strong and valid criticism of all the great chess libraries in public ownership in that they did NOT collect game scores of all the national, state and local tournaments. As books did not appear, these games were lost. His most significant acquisition was the ‘Morphy’ Library of the late David Lawson (l886-l980) who wrote “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess-Paul Morphy” in 1976.
Kenneth Whyld (1926) Not as active in the dealing area as he once was, Ken holds a fine library of some thousands of volumes including H.J.R.Murray’s DSZ’s. One of the great chess historians of the day, his Oxford Companion to Chess with David Hooper (l9l5-1998) is the finest history of all facets of chess ever written. He published many limited edition books on tournaments. His most sought after work being “The Chess Reader” 1955-1963 which gave reviews and bibliographical news on the chess books of that era and earlier. He has had a varied love of chess books and sold an earlier collection proceeding years later to build up his present holdings. He is a retired computer programmer, worked for Boots chemists and others and his home in Caistor is a chess ‘castle’.
Clive Farmer (?) Another English dealer more oriented today to book binding from which he makes a good living. His collection must number in the thousands. A kind man and I recall one request of mine for a photocopy of a missing issue of the Westminster Papers which he sent though I had not ordered anything from his list. That was in 1989. He and his wife visited Australia and we had one long phone call when he was in Sydney.
Michael Ehn (?) The Austrian dealer and publisher who, judging by the photo in DSZ p.72 l996 has a very fine library. He is a chess historian of note. I swapped a Whyatt for Sacharov’s Chess Bibliography plus some cash in 1991. This was James E Gates copy and came from Fred Wilson. It is marked “Not for Sale’.
Other Dealer-Collectors It is difficult to imagine many of the other dealers not being collectors of certain type. I get the impression John Rather of Maryland USA holds a good library. Likewise Fred Wilson of New York, Michael Sheahan of England and perhaps Barrie Ellen. Recent dealings with a European dealer Jacob Feenstra now resident in New Zealand, reveal that he is selling his private collection which doubtless was gathered with love over many years. Jacob’s latest catalogues (1999) indicate he is now buying for resale. If I was a dealer I would gradually build up a good library by simply replacing poor copies in my library with better ones as collections were purchased.
Harry Golombek (1911-1995) Great English chess player, British champion twice and umpire at worlds championship matches had a library of over 5000 volumes and reputedly one of the finest chess libraries in Britain. The collection was donated to the British Chess Federation to form the nucleus of a national chess library along with the bequests of Sir Richard Clarke, R.J.Broadbent and G.H.Diggle (The Badmaster). He was also a prolific chess author. This bequest is a wonderful one as Britain does not have a semi-public chess library. Even the Bodleian at Oxford which is difficult to visit only has approximately 1500 volumes. I would assume the British Library has a fair holding but many of the rare volumes were lost in a fire during WW2.
Alexander Alekhine (l892-1946) In an interview with the Toronto “Daily Star” November 14th 1932 and given in full in ACR April 20 1933 p.106/7 Alekhine replied to the statement:-“He has a library of 1,600 books on chess. “Read them all?” we asked. “No”, he says off hand, “I know what’s in them”. He has written eight books on chess himself…..”
Frank Marshall (l877-l944) The American Grandmaster had a library of 6590 volumes and 185 pamphlets and this was later placed in the New York Public Library.
Ludwig Bledow (l795-1846) The great German master and member of the Berlin Pleiades had a magnificent library and after his death it was sold to the King’s Library in Berlin for $500. There were between 700 and 800 volumes and it must have been a superb collection 150 years ago.
Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1899) is considered by Divinsky to be the first Grandmaster before Anderssen. He too, was a member of the Pleiades and a diplomat and chess bibliophile. The catalogue of his library published for private distribution in 1896 contains a list of 3358 separate works. His travels to many parts of the world included Rio de Janeiro where in 1858/60 he was resident minister and located a Lucena in that city. He retired in 1865 and devoted the remainder of his long life to chess literature and the enlargement of his library It would seem that John Griswold White and der Lasa were great rivals in the building of their libraries. Again too, he stood alone against Paul Morphy for the title of world chess champion. They never played but a chess journalist in Europe coined the following:-
“One more remains; ere thou depart,
“At him thy dart be hurled,
“Der Lasa conquered, then thou art
“The Champion of the World”
In 1887 der Lasa travelled to Australia and New Zealand and whether he met the Australian Champion Frederick Karl Esling (l860-l955) is not stated but he did receive from der Lasa a copy of “Zur Geschichte und Literature des Schachspiels” with his bookplate and signature “v. Heydebrand”.
His library proved quite a quandary after his death. Von der Lasa’s son had no interest in chess and was prevented by law from selling it.(See Alain White-Chess Amateur p.38 Nov. 1907). In 1935 the collection was put up for sale by Munich antiquarian book dealers van Karl und Faber. Dr. A. Buschke may have got some but Heidenfeld says the library was lost after WW2 and ended up being found intact in a Polish castle in 1957. Where is it today??
Max Lange (1832-1899) The great German theorist and author had a library which was sold by auction through Gustav Fock of Leipzig in 1900 a year after his death.
To more modern days, many of the Russian chess elite hold libraries. In Karpov’s 1990 Chess Encyclopaedia are the bookplates of Paul Keres, Nona Gaprindashvili, Anatoly Karpov, Tigran Petrosian and Maia Chiburdanidze.
Alain White (1880-1951) who was briefly mentioned earlier in the Brandreth article was probably the greatest chess author the world has seen. Every Christmas from 1905 until 1936 at his own expense he sent out as gifts one problem book, sometimes two, to his various chess friends. And then in 1941 with Frank Altschul they brought out the Overbrook series of problem works. These are choice volumes with fine printing and bindings and there were eight of them until the end in 1945. His work with the Good Companions ‘Our Folder’ magazines with James Magee junior was another highlight from 1913 – 1924.
He wrote of his own library in the Chess Amateur 1907 p.38:-“ My own library numbers somewhat less than 2000 volumes. I have largely confined myself to works containing problems or dealing with the history of the game, only getting works on the play of the game incidentally. My collection embraces nearly all the collections of problems from Lucena and Damiano to the present day, and most of the magazines. I have found the collecting of magazine files great fun – and it is a pursuit I can warmly recommend. It is less expensive than the promiscuous purchase of books, and the long hunt that must be made for some refractory numbers appeals to the collecting spirit and keeps the interest awake. Further most magazines contain more varied reading matter than the average book, with a few important exceptions. I have also collected upwards of 200 large scrapbooks of chess columns, and my collection includes many volumes of problems sent by their composers – either bound up when sent me or arranged by myself. I hope to have in the course of time the problems of all leading composers in practically complete form for ready reference.”
In 1911 a ‘List of desiderata’ was published by White in 11 pages giving an alphabetical list of books and periodicals required to complete the library of J.G.White. Whether the reference which this item is taken from has mistakenly put the name of J.G.White instead of A.C.White is unclear (Betts p.5) but either way Alain White’s interest in libraries continued.
A truly amazing man with varied interests, he wrote books on history and botany. He also founded at Litchfield Connecticut ‘The White Memorial Foundation’ where many acres of land including Kent Falls, Macedonia Brook and Mohawk Mountain were purchased by the Foundation and donated back to the State of Connecticut for park and wildlife sanctuary purposes.
I have been unable to locate where his library is today.
Eugene B Cook (1830 – 1915) an earlier reference has been made to his library now in Princeton University Library. Here is a description of the library and the man by Alain White:- “ Another large chess library, besides that of Mr Gilberg, which I have had the privilege of visiting, is that of Mr Eugene B Cook, of Hoboken, N.J. In a quiet street overlooking the Hudson River where it begins to form New York Bay, has been Mr Cook’s home for years, and no suggestion does it offer from outside of the wealth of books within. Mr Cook does not collect only on chess. There are thousands of books in every room of the house, thousands of pamphlets in boxes in every corner. Books on history, books on cats, books on music, books on every subject; and then upstairs the books on chess! These include a Lucena and other great rarities – but the favorites are the splendid series of Philidor’s, for Philidor combined Mr Cook’s two particular hobbies, chess and music. To chess visitors he is very fond of showing a large portfolio, saying it contains something of Philidor’s the visitor has not seen; and so it does, a full set of his operas and his violin compositions, many of them extremely rare. Among his books Mr Cook lives very quietly, for years have dulled the energies which in the past were a proverb. There were few more enthusiastic mountain climbers in the state at one time, and as for chess one has but to remember the large number of problems he has published in every quarter and his monumental collection of American Chess Nuts to appreciate in some manner his activity. Other signs of it appear on every shelf of his library, in his voluminous card catalogue, and his volumes and volumes of hand-written extracts from books and manuscripts of every kind.”
Inspirational, breathtaking, what other words are there to describe this great collector. And he was a problemist too.
Charles A Gilberg (1835-1898) has also been mentioned before. Alain White had this to say:-“…In the same way, perfect orderliness of his library made the visitor approach Mr Gilberg in a spirit predisposed to an agreeable interview – nor again was he disappointed – for Mr Gilberg was of all men a good host, kindly, patient, and always ready to show his books. It was the first large library on chess I had seen – and the queer old Italian treatises in parchment, the Japanese volumes on rice paper, the Philidors with their bookplates, kindled my first taste also to build up a great library like this. Alas, Mr Gilberg has gone from us, and that noble collection, neglected and partly forgotten, awaits a purchaser to restore it to the position of prominence it so richly deserves.”
One might wonder why Alain White did not try and acquire it – perhaps he did try but the collection is now in Harvard.
There is a lovely description of Gilberg’s capture by chess in Brentano’s p.442+ 1882:-“ It was an early period of Mr Gilberg’s eventful chess life that it happened to him to observe at a bookstall as he was passing along Carmine Street in the City of New York, a broad, gilded Chess-board on the cover of a book there exposed for sale. Ignorant at the time that such a thing as a book on Chess existed, but knowing somewhat of the game, he stopped to see what was the subject-matter of a book so oddly embellished, and then discovering its nature, he bought it and took it home. It was Professor Agnel’s ‘Chess for Winter Evenings’ then, as now, the most fascinating and attractive of elementary works on the game. A perusal of that book fixed the young Chess student’s enthusiasms for the game, and made him forever a slave to Caissa’s charms; and more, it originated in his mind a passion for chess literature that has never slumbered since. Mr Gilberg began the collection of books on the game, and his accidental purchase was the foundation of a Chess library not excelled by any on this continent, except, perhaps, by that of the late Prof. George Allen, of Philadelphia. His collection contains upwards of 900 volumes of Chess books, and a large and valuable accumulation of rare MSS., and pictures relating to chess; these have been selected with great judgement, and without regard to expense. His Chess Museum – for such as it is – contains almost all the highly prized ancient editions of the rarest works, and it is replete with the most interesting and curious productions of art, illustrating the game in all its aspects, a sight to delight the soul of the Chess enthusiasts which Mr Gilberg takes pleasure in exhibiting at all times to those who desire to revel amid the treasures of Chess. In fact, we can truthfully say that,herein Mr Gilberg displays his only vanity; he is justly proud of his noble collection, concerning which many pages of description might be profitably filled.”
The Agnel book was first published in 1848 and was renamed ‘The Book of Chess’ in the first reprint in 1852. Perhaps Gilberg commenced his collection at age 13?
Dr Adriano Chicco (l907-l990) This wonderfully kind man, a lawyer by profession was a world-class problemist with 500 problems composed. In later years he became a learned chess historian and promoted the case of the Venafro chess pieces as being before the accepted birth of chess in the 6th century AD. He, like I, was proved wrong by radio carbon dating of the pieces in August 1994. The dating, carried out in Naples and Sydney proved the pieces were from the era 885AD to 1017AD with 68% probability. His most famous book ‘Dizionario Enciclopedico Degli Scacchi’ 1971 with Georgio Porreca is a chess classic and contains a brief extract on Italian chess libraries:-“..the library of Brera contained the small collection of E.Crespi and in 1965 the bequest of Dr Lanza was added with 500 books, 280 pamphlets and 30 periodicals. The Italian Chess Federation Library dedicated to Giovanni Tonetti published a catalogue in 1929. There are no private Italian collectors who possess a comparable collection to the great foreign collectors. In the last century the family of Count Salimbeni of Modena had a very fine chess library, the booksellers Vincenze and Nipoti, also of Modena published a catalogue in 1888. The collection was sold to Vansittart and after his death it was dispersed….”
Cyril Bexley Vansittart (1852-1887) born in London, established a bank in Rome called Vansittart and Co. He had a promising chess library by the early 1880’s of 300 volumes and in 1883 purchased for 3,700 francs the late Count Salimbeni’s library of 400 volumes. It had complete runs of The Chess Players Chronicle, Le Palamede and Deutsch Schachzeitung and some marvellous early books. It was considered the finest chess library in Italy. The entire collection was sold to the bookdealer A. Cohn of Berlin. Hoffer’s Chess Monthly of 1887 p.196 states that Vansittart died of heart disease aged but 35 with which he had suffered for some time. Chicco in Dizionario p.554 says that there was a triple suicide that shocked Rome. It was caused by a crime of great depth and brought disgrace to those who died.
Lanza is an interesting person. This collector could just be one and the same man written up in BCM p.338 of 1919:-“ Signor Anton Mario Lanza (Casella Postale 1124, Milan, Italy) is bringing out an ‘Encyclopaedia of Chess’ dealing with the history and bibliography of the game, players’ biographies, news of associations, leagues, clubs etc and would be glad to have from “all the notable chessists” particulars about themselves and their careers, scores of games played, published problems, and any other information of interest. Portraits would also be welcomed, as the book is to be illustrated”. A nice idea but one of the many nice ideas that remained just that.
I feel sure Adriano Chicco had a fair library. Perhaps it went to his colleague Alessandro Sanvito who proved the theory of the Venafran chess pieces which Chicco had promoted to be awry. Chicco’s bookplate “In Spicis Inspicior” is featured in the book “Gli Scacchi di Venafro” l994 by L’Italia Scacchistica.
Another problemist with a fair 19th century library was William Henry Russ (ca 1833-1866). He was called William Russ Henry and is one of the remarkable trio who published ‘American Chess Nuts’ the 1868 American tome on problems that typifies the wonderful enthusiasm of the problem lovers. Here is what Eugene B Cook wrote about his late co-editor WRH or as he really was WHR:-“ Notwithstanding the failure to obtain the requisite subscriptions, Mr Henry proceeded with having diagram electrotyped as far as problem No. 960. At that time the problems had swollen to about fifteen hundred……. In experimenting with chess type,in Chess type, in electrotyping, in portraits & c., Mr Henry expended over seven hundred dollars. At this juncture, the daily setting up of sixteen diagrams and ‘riding up and down in custody of two forms of Chess type”, in addition to his labours as chief clerk in a leading broker’s office, began to affect his health; so that June, 1861, found Mr Henry rusticating in Massachusetts, devoting himself to horticulture. Here he remained until September 1863. During this interval, Veit & Co., Publishers of the ‘Handbuch’ and ‘Schachzeitung’, were applied to without success. Mr.H., then, for the further increase of his strength, started for Madeira via England. In England he saw a number of the Chess celebrities, and added many problems to his manuscript collection. From England he was diverted to Brazil, where he remained only a fortnight, returning to the valley of the Connecticut in May, 1864. In the following December he made an excursion to Jamaica, chiefly in quest of rare seeds. At the beginning of the succeeding September, he was again established in the neighbourhood of Wall Street, New York. All the while the writer was in receipt of sparkling letters, most of which had a corner devoted to chess. My last letter from him was dated October, 1865. At the close of December one of the saddest of calamities befell him, and in January he was no more. Mr Henry was of very peculiar mind and temperament. He was possessed of one of the keenest intellects, which was highly and variously cultivated, and was very earnest and thorough in everything he undertook. He was unsurpassed as a letter writer. For a short time he edited the chess departments of the Saturday Press and Spirit of the Times, and wrote occasionally for other chess organs. Mr Henry, for a time was affected with bibliomania, seeking to obtain every edition of every chess work. Later, he selected the works of practical value, and the remainder, after being offered en bloc to the highest bidder, went into the hands of a collector in England.”
There were 350 items for sale in the catalogue published in 1865 with the highest bid to be received no later than 15th January 1866. And perhaps as Dr Niemeijer writes on p.41 of Schaakbibliotheken’ the earlier sale was that in 1855 via van Mercier in London. Niemeijer asks what became of these books in his final rhetorical question on p.42. I suspect Rimington Wilson got them.
Arthur Napoleao dos Santos (1843-1925) The great Brazilian chess problemist had a rather fine collection for the era. In 1898 it stood at 500 items including full runs of Westminster Papers, the International Chess Magazine, La Strategie (from 1876). He was a brilliant pianist and musical composer. In 1859 he played two games with Paul Morphy receiving Rook odds and lost in 34 moves in one. The other is not recorded.. He was 16 at the time. The game is, as Sergeant described it, “Of rather unusual character”. What happened to his library is unknown. His ‘English’ name was Arthur Napoleon.
Daniel Willard Fiske (1831-1904) Famous author, editor and philanthropist. His work in 1857 brought about the First American Chess Congress and the advent of Paul Morphy as well as the American Chess Monthly. This very fine magazine lasted for nearly 4.5 years and its end was hastened by the civil war. Fiske had extracts on collecting and libraries scattered in its pages. Here is one from February 1857:- “The Formation of a Chess Library- We confess ourselves to be among the number of book-loving chessmen…..we venture to say that the first necessity of an American or English chess player – his board and men of course excepted – is Staunton’s “Chess-Player’s Handbook”. In the clearness, and method of its arrangements it is unequalled in the literature of chess. In addition to the openings of the earlier masters it contains all the varied wealth of analyses heaped up by the later writers of Russia, Germany, France and England. The “Chess Player’s Companion”, by the same author, is valuable for its masterly specimens of play and its treatise on Odds. The best collection of games is Walker’s “Chess Studies” which comprises over one thousand games played by Philidor and his contemporaries, by McDonnell and Labourdonnais, by Staunton and Cochrane, by Lewis and Deschappelles and by many others. The finest collection of problems is the masterly work compiled by Alexandre and entitled “The Beauties of Chess”. The little book by Kling and Horwitz styled “Chess Studies or Endings of Games”, the translation of Jaenisch by Walker, and the volumes of the various chess magazines that have been published in England and this country will all prove useful to the man desirous to become an accomplished chess player. The collection of chess anecdotes and extracted by Twiss and published in the last century is an amusing and pleasant work. He who suffers the gentle disease of bibliomania will of course go beyond these and gather from the farthest book-marts the rare treatises of Ruy Lopez, Salvio, Cosio, Ponziani and the rest of the honoured dead. But those whose titles we have given above will suffice the generality of chess lovers.”
In the September 1857 issue he wrote an article called “Bibliothecal Chess” and as well as giving information on the great chess libraries of the world, had this to say on his own :-“…The Editor of the Chess Monthly has succeeded in bringing together, during the last eighteen months, a collection of chess books which in point of numbers and value is only excelled by one other in the country. He recalls, with a warm gratitude, the assistance which he has received from the only source, upon this side of the Atlantic, which could have rendered it so largely and so liberally.” The larger American library he wrote about was Professor George Allen’s which stood at 400 volumes. This had been gathered in less than four years. This article “Bibliothecal Chess” really needs to be read by anyone interested in the great chess libraries of the 19th century. It seems clear that Bledow’s library of between 700 and 800 volumes was the best and as Fiske wrote “…this library is now part of the vast and growing collection of the King’s Library in Berlin.
In 1861 Fiske was appointed as an Attache to the American Embassy in Vienna, one wonders whether he met der Lasa, and had a trip to Berlin whilst here. In 1864 he returned to America and in 1868 became a Professor of Northern European languages and University Librarian at Cornell. Later he married Jennie McGraw and there was a sensational lawsuit after her death in which Fiske reversed her will which left all her estate to Cornell.
Or did he reverse her will? Ken Whyld in OCC writes:-“Fiske’s wife Jennie McGraw, died two years after the wedding leaving, as one of her bequests, $2 million to Cornell University, whose charter made the gift unacceptable. A legal wrangle ensued. Fiske resigned his professorship (1883) and moved to Villa Landor in Florence….”
H.J.R.Murray writing in BCM 1904 p.428:-“ …in 1868 he became Professor of Northern European languages and University Librarian at Cornell University, Ithaca N.Y. With the romance of his marriage with Miss McGraw, the heiress to the fortune of John McGraw a millionaire lumberman, and with the sensational lawsuit after his wife’s death by which he succeeded in overthrowing her will leaving the whole of her fortune to Cornell, we have nothing to do here, except to say that the lawsuit left no permanent bitterness between him and Cornell. Indeed in later years he was a generous benefactor of the University, and it is believed that he has left the whole of his fortune to it. After the lawsuit he took up his residence at Florence…”
Alain White in “Our Folder’ Vol XI No. 6 p.126/7 :_” The central epoch in his life was between the years 1868 and 1883; during which he was librarian at Cornell University; the first date being also that of the establishment of that great institution of learning. During these fifteen years he was absorbed in his work, not taking a vacation of more than two weeks in the first ten of these years. Cornell was not then in a position to give him the support he needed. He had no skilled assistants, no corps of cataloguers, no money for printing finding-lists or the like. In spite of this Fiske, who was incidentally also professor of northern languages, kept the library at the front among those of the rapidly developing American Universities by his unwearied effort, contributing of his salary as well as of his every spare moment to the task.
I indicate this central epoch of his life, which from our standpoint of chess is of minor interest, principally to show how it focussed all that had gone before and all that was to come after. All his young manhood, though he did not know it, was moulding him to occupy the position; and all the period of retirement, which followed was to react, in a sense from it. For this noble period of self-sacrificing labor ended in tragedy and disappointment. In 1878, or before, his devotion to the Library drew him into close personal association with Miss Jennie McGraw, who was I believe a relative of the founder of the University. The Professor and Librarian, poor and nearing the half-century mark, unwearied in his devotion to the cause of the Library, buoyantly believing in its future, won the support, the enthusiasm and the love of the great heiress, and together they planned the realisation of Fiske’s dream. The combination of technical skill and great wealth catches the attention as much as the romance of the courtship. They were married in 1880. The next year Mrs Fiske died, leaving a noble endowment to forward the Library, which was her dream as it had been Fiske’s. But a technicality in the charter of the University deprived the library of this splendid gift. Fiske fought for his wife’s dream, but he fought in vain, and when the law finally handed down its decree in favour of others , he withdrew from the University altogether and retired to Italy………… When Fiske died, he left half-a-million dollars to the Library of Cornell, to help in replacing the value of the endowment which his wife had intended. Meanwhile Dean Sage had provided the adequate new building which Mrs Fiske had dreamt and had added to its very generous endowment. With Fiske’s own gift of the half-million, and with his varied collections, the Dante, the Icelandic and the rest, Cornell was by way of realising the wish of Mrs Fiske to the full, though not through her own personal gifts as she had hoped. But here the Trustees stepped in, reducing the general income of the Library from regular funds, after Fiske’s own bequest was received, and so discontinuing the usefulness of the bequest altogether, at least until the former appropriations may at some future date be restored….”
A curious business and I can’t work out what White means by “ in favour of others”. Did Fiske benefit or did he not? He must have to make the bequest in his will. An interesting item for research.
He went to live in Florence Italy and established a private printing press from which one famous book ”Chess in Iceland” amongst many others appeared. He had a fascination with Iceland and his library was bequeathed to the National Library of Reykjavik. There were 1200 volumes. His biographer H.S.White produced a 3 volume “Life and Correspondence” in 1920-1922 and there was also “Chess Tales and Miscellanies” 1912 by White.
Fiske was the 19th century Twiss.
Harold James Ruthven Murray (1868-1955) one of the world’s greatest chess historians, his greatest work “A History of Chess” 1913 required scholarly research over a period of thirteen years prior to publication. His knowledge of languages, his friendship with the great collectors especially J.G.White and his writing skills produced a book of over 900 pages that is still considered today the authoritative work on the history of chess in the English language.
It would be unusual if Murray had not gathered a library around himself if for no other reason than Dale Brandreth gives:-“..that it is essential because of the lack of good public libraries near one’s home”.
In 1990 I visited the Bodleian Library and after paying the two pound entry fee and having my photo taken, was admitted into the hallowed library for one reason and that was to determine the number of chess books in the collection. I appeared before the chief librarian who was sitting in a raised pew with lectern overseeing the readers and he quickly solved the problem. Under the cataloguing system and number 38472 there were 243 books in section b; 193 in d; 991 in e; and 80 in f. These alphabetical listings b, d, e and f were to do with book sizes. Clearly e related to standard book size. This totalled 1509 chess books. There were 62 draughts books in category 38471. There was a special collection of Murray’s books and MS in the new Bodleian and the family bequeathed 240 items of 16th to 20th century vintage plus newspaper cuttings, book catalogues and prospectuses. That said, there are in fact 392 printed books with some fairly choice items:- Bertin, Cessolis (1829), Greco (1714), Hyde (1767), Lambe (1764), Lopez (Paris 1636) from the Preti sale, Lopez (1584), all Van Der Linde’s works, Lolli, all Morgan’s shilling library excluding Book 9, Philidor (1750), Salvio (1634), Selenus (1616), Stamma (1745), Twiss and Miscellanies, and quite a lot of problem works including most of the White Christmas Series.
There were real treasures in the Catalogue of his papers and the Manuscripts are broken up into 4 sections:-1-129 Material related to chess; 130-141 to draughts;142-157 to board games; 158-168 Correspondence.
The first section was further broken up into seven sub-sections:-1-53 Transcripts of MSS and printed books; 54-71 Collections of problems and games; 72-84 Original works and compilations by Murray; 85-97 Papers on chess by other modern writers collected by Murray; 98-100 Chess bibliography; 101-126 works by Murray on the knights tour; 127-129 Miscellaneous.
The correspondents were impressive and I give them as it may help fellow researchers. This is a direct copy of the MSS H.J.Murray File:-
“158-Miscellaneous correspondence relating to chess, bound into a note book. The correspondents are: W.G.Aston 1910 (fol.83); Rev.L.Clayton, Bishop of Leicester 1912 (fol.38); E.Colston 1910 (fol.56); J.Cresswell 1900 (fol.28); G.N.Davey, ed. BCM., 1901 (fol.40); R.K.Douglas to (E.M.)Thompson, 1902 (fol.37); G.Freckerville (3) ,1900-1905 (fol.30); John Keeble (14) 1920 (fol.58); J.A. Leon (15) 1902-1914 (fol.89); D.S.Margoliouth, 1912 (fol.26); A. van Millingen (4), 1902/3 (fol.42); Sir James Murray (18) 1900-1913 (fol.1); J.T.Platts (2), 1901-3 (fol.33); W.H.Thompson (4), 1902-8 (fol.51); A.R.Waller (Camb. Univ. Press re Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 (fol.82). 143 leaves.
159 Letters from various correspondents, relating to specific subjects:
a. (fol.1) Ten letters, 1888-1951, mainly arising from the History of Chess. The correspondents are: C.Brett (4) 1919; F.E.Chetwynd, 1951; L.H.Gergely, Cleveland Ohio 1947; H.H.Gibbs, 1888; Rev.F.M.Hodgess Roper (2), 1939; W.W.Skeat 1906.
b. (fol.26) Correspondence relating to board games, arranged alphabetically. The writers are : H.Braunholtz, (4), 1948-1952; C.A.Burland 1952; H.F.Cheshire 1911; Mrs M.Danielli (2), 1947,to Miss K.M.Murray (Malagasi Games); I.E. Edwards (2) (for C.J.Gadd), 1951; W.Fagg (3) 1953; C.J.Gadd (4), 1950-1952 (Assyrian games);L.Grebe Nurnberg (2), (1954); Sir R. de Z. Hall (5), 1952-3 (African Games); Miss B.J.Kirkpatrick (2), 1951; F.R.Lewis (9), 1942-6 (Welsh games); H.Lockey, 1907 (merels); R.A.Macalister, 1947; E.Macwhite (6), 1953, with pages from Christian News from Israel, vol.IV, 1953, relating to mosaics; V.E.Nash-Williams, 1953, enclosing notes on Roman burial rites; H.T.H.Piaggio (5), 1939/40 (containing information on Arabic board games obtained from students); N.Teulon Porter (7), 1941-54, and notes by Sir R.de Z.Hall on mancala boards in the Pitt-Rivers Museum; J.M.Ross, 1952; A.G.Shirriff (6), 1950-2; A.F.Sieveking (4), 1926-7 (backgammon); J.E.Sturgess, 1952; W.A. Thorpe (7), 1953, with photostats of game boards in the Victoria and Albert Museum; H.Tompa (3), 1952-3.
c. (fol.201) Eight letters, 1922-35, regarding chess columns in newspapers. The writers are : B.Hayden, chess columnist, West Sussex Gazette (2), 1930, with one from the editor W.S.G.; A.J.Mackenzie, 1922; J.C.W. Osborn, Georgetown, British Guiana (4), 1935.
d. (fol.211) Fifteen letters, 1901-25, regarding books in the Rimington Wilson Library, Broomhead Hall, nr. Sheffield, with one letter from Murray.
e. (fol.242) Thirty-three letters from editors of the British Chess Magazine, 1925-52.
f. (fol.276) Seven letters on chessmen and boards, 1913-49. The writers are: Miss D.Campbell, 1913; R.F.Jones, 1932; Col.W.N.Lushington (2), 1937; F.Stevens (2), 1932; Lt. Col. T.Sutton, 1949.
g. (fol.289) Six letters relating to the lives of famous chess players. The writers are : A.Cox (2), 1916, concerning W.J.Wisker and W.R.Thomas (4), 1927, concerning Capt. Evans. 296 leaves.
Principal correspondents in alphabetical order
160 J.Alexander (117), 1915-28, with 16 letters from Murray, 2 from Alexander to W.S.Branch, 2 from Branch to Murray and 2 from Alexander to the editor of the Yorkshire Weekly Post (the last six all 1915) 300 leaves
161 E.Bergholt (14), 1917-20 (fol.1); Dr. A.Bernstein of Rochlitz (8), 1935-49 (fol.20) and 2 from John Keeble, 1936, about the use of the Rook in armorial bearings, with a list compiled by Dr. Bernstein from Ritestap, Armorial General of families with the rook included in their arms; B. Goulding Brown (31), 1913-44 (fol.47); J.M.Brown, Bradford (13), 1900-1919 (fol.104); Dr. A Buschke, New York (10), 1939-50, including a list of chess columns in European newspapers (fol.132). 174 leaves
162. W.S.Branch, Cheltenham (78), 1901-1932, with letters to Branch from Rev. W.Chinn (2), 1905; W.Gardner, 1915; A.Guest, 1915; G.Hume, 1929; J.F.Magee, 1911; H.E.McFarland (3), 1931; H.J.R.Murray (2), one dated 1919; E.W.Michelson,1927. 320 leaves
163. A. Chicco, Genoa (9), 1949-53 (fol.1), and one reply from Murray; A.Langdon Coburn (11, on Japanese and Chinese chess), 1917 (fol.16); T.R.Dawson, ed. Fairy Chess Review (12), 1929-47 (fol.41), with obituary notice, 16th Dec. 1951; G.L.Gortmans (31), 1924-1953 (fol.74); forty-two letters (1924-34) from J.Alexander to G.L.Gortmans (fol.133), and 10 letters, 1933-53, from Murray to Gortmans, with one from Gortmans to Murray, 1953. Given by A.Krueswijk, 1958; Alexander Hammond (24), 1935-51 (fol.249). 277 leaves.
164. J.Keeble, Norwich (155), 1906-38. 313 leaves.
165. J.Kohtz, Dresden (48), 1908-14, with 13 from W.Benary, Munich, 1908-13. For Murray’s typescript copy of these see MS. 97. 198 leaves .
166. A.C.Klahre, Brooklyn (33), 1932-4 (fol.1), with 2 from W.C.Green, curator of the J.G.White coll., Cleveland Publ. Lib., 1936, regarding Murray’s list of chess columns in Klahre’s possession; G.Norman Knight (9), 1947-51 (fol.57); C.J.S.Purdy, ed. Chess World, Sydney (8), 1945-51 (fol.69), and one reply from Murray; H.Rauneforth (10), 1910-13 (fol.81); L.P.Rees, secretary British Chess Federation (7), 1916-20 (fol.97); Dr. P.Seyferth (14), 1935-6 (fol.104) with photocopies of Murray’s replies (9), 1935-6 (fol.218); A.C.White (14), 1906-21 (fol.175), with circular regarding presentation to A.C.White, and letter (1914) to J.Keeble; letters from R.Addam Williams to Murray (8) and W.S.Branch (3), 1903-4 on the history of draughts (fol.197). Enclosed are extracts from the Tesoro de la lengua Castellana, Madrid 1611. 257 leaves
167/1,2 J.G.White (214) 1900-27. 396 and 344 leaves
168. Lesser correspondents arranged in alphabetical order:- Dr.B. Bassi, Upsala (5), 1948; H.D. O’Bernard (1), 1944; Prof. P. Bidev (2), 1953, with Murray’s replies; E,G,R, Cordingley (5), 1939-49; W.H.Cozens (3), 1941; F. Downey, bookseller (3), 1910, with priced list of chess books; J. Ernst (1), 1913; Prof. W. Fiske (3), 1902-12, with 2 letters concerning Fiske from W.P. Garrison and one from H.S. White, 1905; E. Gardiner (3), 1927; W.C. Green, curator White chess coll., Cleveland Public Library (5), 1930-4; F.J. Hamel (2), 1934; C.G. Higginson (1), 1922; India Office Library (1), 1902; H.O. Johnston (1), 1926; E. Lasker (4), 1950/1; A. Lassally (1), 1939; D.M. Liddell, New York (2), 1937; F. Madan (1), 1924; H.E. McFarland (1), 1931; G.L. Moore (5), 1918-23; Dr.M. Niemeijer, Wassenaar (5), 1946-8; Prof, C.T. Onions (5), 1940-7; F.M. Pareja (3), 1953; Ross Pinsent (1), 1914; Bernard Quaritch (2),1902; Prof. J. Robson (5), 1952-3; Mrs B.C.Skeat (1), 1912, with a MS. Booklet, ‘Rules of the London Chess Club’, written by W.W. Skeat while at Highgate School; A.J. Souweine (5), 1932; W.R. Thomas (1), 1927; E.N. Treleaven (1), 1913; Dr. E. Voellmy, Basel (1), 1948; F.J.Wallis, Sydney, 1917, letter to J.M. Brown, Leeds; W.H.Watts (3), 1936, and one to John Keeble. 167 leaves.
And so we must leave this great research source. Would that I had spent some time examining the letters. Those with J.G.White, John Keeble, Johannes Kohtz are particularly interesting but Kohtz may have written in German.
Jose Paluzie y Lucena (1860-1938) The great Spanish problem composer, author and chess historian. With seven books to his credit of which the most famous is “Manual de ajedrez” of over 1000 pages published in various mixes of two or three volumes. The first book called ‘Preliminares’ is a manual of chess, and includes a second book called ‘Estrategia’ totalling 423 pages. The third book named ‘Apertures’ and the fourth ‘Finales’ is 285 pages. The fifth, ‘Problemas’ and the sixth and last ‘Miscelanea’ over 347 pages. Each book appears to have been published separately. The final book is very unusual and contains chess anecdotes, a bibliography of Spanish chess, a bibliography of chess, chess in history, chess in literature, chess from a changed original position, the greatest number of moves in chess and other chapters such as chess and Esperanto. A truly varied fare.
His library was donated by his wife to the Central Library of Barcelona. 476 volumes very rich in Spanish works including an incomplete Lucena. A very generous gesture.
A catalogue was issued in 1943 by the Barcelona Library with a dedication to his wife Mercedes Borrell and it contains a photo of Paluzie late in life. There is a misprint under the photo giving his death year as 1935-Gaige gives 22 January 1938. A surprise not to see the 1561 Alcala Lopez but the 1584 Tarsia is there as item 45 next to the 114 page incomplete 1497 Lucena (item 46). The collection is very strong on problem books with 152 items and item 169 is quite interesting:-
LOYD SAMUEL – Chess Strategy. A treatise upon the Art of Problem Composition, by.… Elizabeth (N.J.) 1878-“Manuscrito. 172 folios s.n., los dos ultimos en blanco. En el fol. 3v., retrato del autor, dibujado a la pluma. Ex libris J Paluzie y Lucena.
Item 170 is “ Loyd. S: Chess Strategy. A treatise upon the art of Problem Composition “ by…. Elizabeth N.J.(sin imprenta), 1878-269 pages.
Hard to determine what Item 169 is-perhaps Paluzie copied some of the pages?
The catalogue has a few errors:- eg “ The Middle Game in Chess” (item 250) is in the problem section. But the catalogue is clear and easy to read. The periodicals section is weak but has a good cross-section of countries represented.