23 September 2014

A Pulitzer Poem

Before I leave Endless Discovery, I have one more post related to Chess Books in the Internet Archive. Another Flickr entry, Image from page 1434 of "Men and women of America; a biographical dictionary of contemporaries" (1910), was a photo of a gentleman who could easily have been an early 20th century chess player. The accompanying description included, 'Text Appearing After Image: Joseph Pulitzer'. So Joseph Pulitzer -- of Pulitzer Prize fame -- had something to do with chess?

Indeed he did, but only indirectly. The biographical entry after Joseph's [follow Flickr's 'View Book Page' to see the image in context] was for his nephew Walter Pulitzer, whose own entry is shown on the left.

Pulitzer was featured in three entries for Edward Winter's Chesshistory.com, September 2013 (C.N. 8319-8321), where some confusion about Pulitzer's year of birth is documented. Some sources give 1874, others give 1878 (also shown here). As Winter calculated, 'This would mean that Pulitzer was only 16 years old when Chess Harmonies was published.'

If that biographical entry were the only connection with the Internet Archive, I wouldn't mention it, but there's more. Another Flickr entry, Image from page 47 of "The literary digest" (1890), explains, 'Composed for THE Literary Digest, and Dedicated to Its Brilliant Chess-Editor and His Very Clever Corps of Solvers, By Walter Pulitzer, author of Chess Harmonies.'

Walter Pulitzer is mentioned twice on The Literary Digest page, once for the 'New Year's Problem' and once for a poem.

Love and Chess.
By Walter Pulitzer.
From The American Chess Magazine.

Come, glance o'er my shoulder with me,
As on the night silently steals.
And take in the charm of this scene,
Which the mystic fire-glow reveals.

The dearest of fair, dimpled maids.
Ensconced in a chair à l'Antique :
A table that stands just in front ;
A lover this side that can speak.

Yet, now he speaks not —- while his love
Doth play with the folds of her dress.
The cause of this strange state of things?-
They're playing together at Chess !

Yes, grave is his strong, handsome face,
But she -— with a rose in her hair --
Is pouting and fretting and shows
Quite a pretty, indiff'rent air !

Ah ! weighty the battle he fights.
Or "battles" I rather should say :
The conquest of love -— which is life ;
The clash of these crowns -- which is play.

"You feel not much interest ?" he asks,
While idly she moves with her Rook,
Which causes a blush, and "Perhaps,"
She sighs, as she gives him a look !

He muses -— and then exclaims "Check !"
"Oh ! dear," she says, "what have I done?
And then he peers into her eyes
That are love-lit, and asks ; "Have I won?

"My monarch is lost," murmurs she,
As sweetly she hangs her fair head ;
He catches her hand -— whispers low :
"Then let me your King be instead ?"

Come, glance o'er my shoulder with me.
As on the night silently steals,
And sip of the bliss of this scene.
Which the mystic fire-glow reveals!

In fact, Pulitzer is mentioned many times in this particular volume of The Literary Digest (vol. XVI, covering the first half of 1898), and not only in the chess column. I could say more, but I'll leave it for a possible future edition of the 'Endless Discovery'.

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