Theophilus Thompson has appeared on this website many, many times. He is a legend in the annals of chess history, not only as a pioneer in the worldwide Black community, but as one who blazed the trail in chess composition.
A couple of months ago I received good news out of California that an accurate reproduction of Thompson’s problem book was done. Keith Halonen of Hidden Valley Lake, California had taken the time and effort to retrieve the scan from a bound version. He noted that several pages were missing from the digital copy on The Chess Drum.
Both online versions are missing pages 9-12! Solutions are there but those 8 diagrams aren’t. I can guess how a 19th century 4-page “signature” could be accidentally omitted or later come undone from the binding.
The good news is that publisher O.A. Brownson also sold excerpts from his monthly Dubuque Chess Journal in bound form. I located a 439-page (1) copy of the 1873-1874 bouncd edition and found the missing pages. I have recreated the book in two PDF files.
Here is Halonen’s work…
PREFACE – T. A. THOMPSON
T. A. Thompson (Colored) was born in Frederick City, Maryland, on the 21st. day of April, 1855. At 13 years of age he left his native city and went to live with a family in Carroll County, in the capacity of house servant. In 1870, he returned to Frederick where he has been ever since.
He saw a chess board and men used for the first time in April 1872, when he witnessed a contest between Mr. S. of Ohio, and Mr. H. of Frederick City; although he could not understand the game and dared not ask questions for fear of annoying the players, he watched every move with the closest attention. The partie finished he went home fully (determined to learn the game.
Mr. H. having heard of this ardent desire loaned him a chess board and a set of chess men, gave him some instructions, and left him a few two -move problems to solve.
Thus thanks to the kind assistance of John K. Hanshew our hero became possessed of the OPEN SESAME to Caissa’s gardens of ever increasing intellectual delights.
Hearing last summer of the Dubuque CHESS JOURNAL, he soon became a subscriber a student and a contributor thereto, accumulating the following rich store of Chess Compositions that are offered for perusal to the general chess reader, with great-pleasure and much confidence by the proprietors of the
DUBUQUE CHESS JOURNAL.
Dubuque, June 1st. 1873.