1. 1936 (see Note 1 below) John J. Bacigalupo and Richard Moriarty of Nashua. Source: MUL (see Note 2 for Source abbreviations) 1/27/1936 and NEBCB 16/3 (July 1970). In many ways this event was truly a test run. There were no qualifying events and was open to anyone in NH. Some entrants had never played duplicate. It was run in 26 one-board rounds with a top of 25. Board 18 was fouled and thrown out completely.
The NHBA itself was formed during the scoring of the event, which must have taken quite a while. The winners appeared to have been worthy champions who would have been heavy favorites should the event have been handicapped. They had dominated the Nashua Bridge League in 1932, 1933 and 1934 and then stopped playing together because they felt it was not appropriate to win all the time. A followup story on the winners appeared MUL 2/5/36. It appears Bacigalupo and Moriarty never again played together in the State Championship.
Second: Leroy Lake and Fred Montrose. A followup on Lake and Montrose appeared MUL 2/11/36 with a tone of wonder as to how a farmer (Lake) and unemployed truck driver (Montrose) had done so well. Ed Gould commented in 1970 (NEBCB) that "the NHBA was formed out of several duplicate groups in the Nashua, Keene and Manchester areas ...... Ralph Langdell (who became a prominent lawyer) and Richard Willis of Manchester were among the early organizers .... Although we have been organized since the mid-30's the NHBA did not join the ACBL until the mid-50's."
2. 1937 C. Carlton Coffin and Oscar L. Tacy of Nashua. Source: MUL 2/15/37 on the front page. MUL was a sponsor of the event and printed followup stories on 2/8, 2/9, and 3/11/37. In 1937 one had to qualify at one of 13 local qualifiers in order to play. 400 different people entered the qualifiers, some of them more than once. Top 20% qualified at each. The actual Championship was run as a 1-session semifinal of 32 tables and a 1-session 12-table Howell final, with carryover. The whole event cost a $1.00 entry fee.
3. 1938 Eugene F. McQuesten and H.D. Stillman of Nashua. Source: MUL 2/27/39 where they are mentioned as defenders in the 1939 event. Nashua pairs dominated the origins of the State Championship, with different pairs winning in 1936, 37 and 38.
4. 1939 Robert (Roland?) - see 1941) Murray and Fred Richardson of Wolfeboro. Source: MUL 2/27/39. Second were the defenders Eugene F. McQuesten and H.D. Stillman. One Semifinal (among 25 tables of previously qualified players) and two Final sessions were held. The MUL was again a sponsor and donated a trophy. Stories on Qualifiers and other bridge matters appeared in MULs of 2/4, 2/6, 2/10, 2/15, 2/18 and 2/25.
Event occurrence number. Some source articles are a year off in listing the event occurrence number, down through the decades. Sometimes this is a math issue. If you are not a detail person, it is easy to think that 1946 is the 10th anniversary of the 1936 1st event, when it is actually the 11th.
Ed Gould was right on his math about 50% of the time in his Granite Chips column and MUL newspaper accounts were no better - sometimes right, sometimes not, perhaps depending on the reporter or his/her informant.
A second issue is that the first year, 1936, was not originally intended as a Championship but became accepted as one almost immediately. Fred thinks this acceptance may be due to the early Nashua dominance and the desire of the Nashua folks to celebrate winning the first three.
Abbreviations used for Sources:
BANH = Bridge Across New Hampshire, a Unit 150 newsletter
KS = Keene Sentinel
MUL = Manchester Union Leader. Fred Graf devoted hundreds of hours to looking at old microfilm records in difficult conditions to come up with the materials attributed to this source. Thanks for the diligent research, Fred!
NEB = Northeast Bridge, a differently-formatted newsletter successor to the NEBCB, starting in 1975 but numbering its issues as though it still were the NEBCB.
NEBCB = New England Bridge Conference (District 25) Bulletin up to 1974. Mel Marcus was kind enough to give me access to his extensive, though incomplete, collection.
NHBN = New Hampshire Bridge News, a Unit 150 newsletter