The Collins mss., ca. 1926-2001, consist of the correspondence, writings, photographs, albums and chess club records of John William (Jack) Collins, an influential American teacher of chess.
Collins was born Sept. 23, 1912, in Newburgh, N.Y. His father, John Thomas Collins, a flutist and piccolo player, frequently played in John Philip Sousa's orchestra. His mother, Carolyn LaSears Collins, was a homemaker. Born and raised in Newburgh, New York, Collins lived most of his life in New York City, becoming a chess master in the 1930s. He was a major figure in the early days of modern organized chess, serving as the first correspondence chess editor of Chess Review magazine (which later merged with Chess Life). This program laid the groundwork for the correspondence chess conducted by the United States Chess Federation. He was one of the few players who excelled nationally at both correspondence and over-the-board play, winning the U.S. correspondence championship and ranking as one of the top OTB players in the U.S. He remained an active tournament player through the 1960s, representing the United States in the first World Correspondence Chess Championship. A prolific author, he taught thousands of players through his books and articles, and was co-editor of the ninth edition of Modern Chess Openings.
Collins also taught many of America's great young chess players including: former world champion Bobby Fischer, grandmaster William Lombardy, New York Times chess columnist Robert Byrne and International Master Raymond Weinstein. The United States Chess Federation recognized him as the top American chess teacher of the 20th century.
Acquired: 2004, 2007
Collection size: 1,000 items
NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.