John Griswold White
John Griswold White (10 August 1845 – 26 August 1928) was a prominent Cleveland attorney, a chess connoisseur, and a bibliophile. "Over a period of some fifty years he conducted a determined quest, throughout the world, for desirable additions to his library." Chess historian H. J. R. Murray, who called White's chess library the largest in the world, made extensive use of the collection in writing his classic treatise A History of Chess. White donated his collection to the Cleveland Public Library to form the John G. White Collection on Folklore, Orientalia, and Chess.
The library has since split the collection into three. The John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection is described as the "[l]argest chess library in the world (32,568 volumes of books and serials, including 6,359 volumes of bound periodicals.)" The John G. White Folklore Collection contains 47,040 volumes, "one of the largest in the nation. It is broadly defined in scope and international in coverage without period restrictions. Included are primitive, peasant, native, and folk cultures within geographic restrictions." The John G. White Collection of Orientalia includes "materials on Asia, the Near and Middle East, Africa, Australia and Oceania," emphasizing "the humanistic and social science aspects of traditional cultures prior to the impact of European influence."
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