Of the various roles that individuals can assume in different fields of endeavor, some stand out and are forever remembered while others, though equally important, are taken for granted and often neglected in later reckoning. The role of Chess Editor, those who researched and wrote weekly newspaper chess columns, was generally one of the latter. Yet, each of these columns was often the sole connection between the average chess player and the "chess world."
Below are three great American Chess editors of the late 19th century. I could find games played by two of the gentleman to demonstrate their own chess styles and inserted them beneath the biographies lifted from the periodical, American Chess Monthly, 1897.
JOHN A. GALBREATH.
Mr. Galbreath has been requested to play on the American team in the third match by cable for the Sir George Newnes Anglo-American Trophy, an evidence that his skill as a player is appreciated outside of the circle of strong New Orleans experts. The chess editor of the New Orleans Sunday States is well known to American chess players, his newsy, original style having made his department one of the best of the bright chess columns of the country.
John A. Galbreath was born in Jefferson County, Mississippi, not far from Natchez, October 6, 1846, and will be fifty-two years of age on his next birthday. In the busy years which have elapsed since he arrived at a discretionary age. Mr. Galbreath has found time to become an authority on shooting and its appliances, an angler of skill, a journalist, and has held positions of prominence in political life. He is a Mason, a Pythian, an Elk, an Odd Fellow, and a Republican, and is a total abstainer from tobacco and alcoholic beverages. He says he smelled powder, heard the whistle of bullets and the roar of artillery as a Confederate soldier at the age of fifteen years, when it was not a gala day salute.
In speaking of his chess life, Mr. Galbreath remarks : Mr. Galbreath is fond of open games and has a great liking for the Evans and Muzio ; the latter, he says, he would play against any one. He plays from intuition rather than from calculation, and prefers the beauties to the hard- drawn lines of conservative play.
MIRON J. HAZELTINE.
Miron James Hazeltine, of an old Teutonic family, was born in Rumney, N. H., November 13, 1824. He learned the elements of chess in 1850, and joined the New York C. C. in '54. Mr. Hazeltine met with a nearly fatal injury in the college (Amherst) gymnasium, from which he has always suffered ; was in a law office four years ; was principal of a select classical school in New York City for about ten years, and has since resided at "The Larches," Campton Village, N. H. Mr. H. opened his first chess column in the New York Saturday Courier, February 3, l855 - This handsome column was the American pioneer in the chess awakening which resulted in the advent of Morphy, Paulsen, and a better school of chess.
In August, 1856, "Miron" was installed in the chair of chess of the New York Clipper, and during all these years, from February 3, '55, to the present time, it is his pride to say that amid these days of change and unrest he has never been absent from his post for even a single week. He was co-editor with D. W.Fiske, A. M., of Vol. I. American Chess Monthly. In 1866-67 he wrote a series of sketches of American chess men, etc., for the Macon Telegraph, Ga., which commanded wide attention.
The series included Charles H. Stanley, Theo. M. Brown. James A. Leonard, the "Morphy Chess Rooms," etc. In books, under his own name, are: " Dime Chess Instructor," 1859-60; "Clipper Chess Problem Tournament," 1860-61; and 1866 that ad captandum work, "Brevity and Brilliancy in Chess." In 1860 "Miron" was honored by C. H. Stanley with a commission to re-edit the historical New Orleans match, Stanley vs. Rousseau in '45; but the forced suspension of the C. M. in '61, owing to the closing of the Southern mails by the Government, prevented its completion. He compiled the practical part of "Marache's Manual of Chess," and was employed by Mr. De Witt to complete "Morphy's Match Games," begun by Mr. Stanley.
The chess library at "The Larches" contains at least 650 volumes, including over 100 scrap-books. Many of these volumes are rare, curious and valuable, as are many of his 100 volumes of classical books. His chess collection is the finest in New England. "Miron's" literary recreations are mainly in poetry and the classics, culminating in 1892-97 in a new and complete metrical translation of the jolly old Greek, Anacreon. Politically, he is a Democrat ; in religious views, a Unitarian ; his college fraternity is Delta Upsilon, and he holds commissions as Justice of the Peace and Quorum, and Notary Public, both for the State of New Hampshire. It is no figure of speech to say that his correspondence and friendships are world-wide, and he signs himself, as always, yours, in Caissa's genial bonds, MIRON.