Special Collections and Preservation Division
Neighborhood History Research Collection
Horace Gair Chase
1 linear ft.
Call number: Archives_CHAS
Horace Gair Chase was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, July 9, 1827, one of three sons of probate judge Horace and Betsy (Blanchard) Chase. His mother died when he was young and his father remarried in June, 1844. At age sixteen he was apprenticed to the mathematical and nautical instrument store of Samuel S. Thaxter & Son in Boston, where he remained for over a year until his health failed. He appears to have boarded with the Cushing family at this time. Off duty hours found young Horace at the library, various church and temperance meetings, and occasionally at the theatre. His politics at this time were yet undecided and he attended Democrat and Whig meetings with equal enthusiasm. By his twentieth birthday, Horace was back in Hopkinton working as a cobbler.
In 1852, Horace followed his brothers Samuel B. and Charles C. to Chicago, where he became employed by real estate dealer James H. Rees, who with Edward Rucker originated the land abstract system in Chicago. In 1855, Horace and Samuel Chase joined fortunes with James Rees to form Rees, Chase & Co. Eventually, Mr. Rees was bought out, and the firm became Chase Brothers & Co. Over the next decade and a half, the fortunes of the firm improved, and Horace settled at 864 Prairie Avenue, and in 1869 at 924 Prairie Avenue. This latter address is now the 1900 block of that street, a neighborhood described in Mayer and Wade's Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis as "the focus of fashionable living" in the 1860's. The Chase home was a block away from the Marshall Field mansion erected in 1874 and three blocks from the Philip Armour home.
In 1870, brother Charles C. Chase joined Chase Brothers & Co.; the fourth partner being George H. Bailey, and the office located at 48 LaSalle Street. After the fire of 1871, in which the Cook County abstract records were destroyed, it was found that Chase Brothers & Co. and two other abstract firms (Shortall & Hoard and Jones & Seller) had each lost part of their indices, but together had a complete set, with some duplicates. The three firms therefore merged, and still later consolidated with Chicago Title and Trust. Immediately after the fire, Chase Brothers & Co. established its offices at 299 W. Washington Street. Horace maintained a separate loan business with John B. Adams as well.
Horace G. Chase married in Chicago June 14, 1860, to Ellen Marian Sherwin. They became the parents of four children: Samuel M., Bessie L. B., Lucy B., and Horace Stanley. Charles C. Chase married in 1874 to Bel (d. 1883) and moved to Lake View, then a separate city. Samuel B. Chase also settled in Lake View. Both Horace and Marian survived into the twentieth century, and in their retirement years summered at Hopkinton, New Hampshire. In politics he was a Republican; the Chases belonged to the Reformed Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Masonic Order.
An outline of the Chase Family Tree is provided here in the print version of this finding aid.
This collection has been arranged into three series: Correspondence, Chicago Business, and Topical Files. The majority of the collection consists of business correspondence involving the three Chase Brothers, principally 1880 to 1885. The collection is, however, not strictly company records, but rather Horace G. Chase's papers inasmuch as he is the recipient of almost all the incoming correspondence.
Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of writer/recipient pair, and chronologically within each writer/recipient grouping. Family, personal, and business material is all interfiled. Writers who have written more than one letter have their own folders; writers of but one letter are generally found in the Miscellaneous folders (1:38-41). Because of the dual nature of many of the letters as both business and personal, no attempt has been made to separate correspondence into two distinct series. The Chase genealogy on page 3 will help identify relationships between writers and recipients.
Chicago Business consists primarily of correspondence. As most of it is on letterhead stationery, it makes a nice resource for 1880s Chicago business letter style. All items with a Chicago connection have been so noted in these folder titles. The journals of Horace Chase in 2:22 cover his apprenticeship in Boston; the journal in 2:23 concerns his New England life before coming to Chicago.
A photograph of Chase's home can be found in the Frank W. Smith Plate Glass Slide Collection. See GP-SMITH 778.
The materials in this collection were the gift of Dr. Joseph B. Francus, 1983.
Processed by Galen Wilson, May 1990.
The Horace Gair Chase Papers are available to the public for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy and photoreproduction services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Telephone inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to 312-747-4875.
1. Adams, J. B., to Horace G. Chase; 1880
2. Cady family; 1880-82, n.d.
3. Chase, Bel, to E. Marian Chase; 1880 Sep 1
4. Chase, Bel—Death of; 1883
5. Chase, Charles C., to Horace G. Chase; 1880-81
6. Chase, Charles C., to Horace G. Chase; 1882
7. Chase, Charles C., to Horace G. Chase; 1883
8. Chase, Charles C., to Horace G. Chase; 1884
9. Chase, Charles C., to Horace G. Chase; 1885
10. Chase, Charles C., to Minot & Co.; 1878
11. Chase, E. Marian, to Horace G. Chase; 1881-85, n.d.
12. Chase, Horace G., to Charles C. Chase; 1884
13. Chase, Horace G., to E. Marian Chase; 1880-81
14. Chase, Horace G., to E. Marian Chase; 1882
15. Chase, Horace G., to E. Marian Chase; 1883, 1885
16. Chase, Horace G., to J. Albert Mason; 1880
17. Chase, Lucy B. & Bessie L. B.; 1882-85, n.d.
18. Chase, Olcott, to Horace G. Chase & Mrs. Alexander; 1880-81
19. Chase, R., to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase; 1879, 1883
20. Chase, Samuel B., to Horace G. Chase; 1880-81
21. Chase, Samuel B., to Horace G. Chase; 1882
22. Chase, Samuel B., to Horace G. Chase; 1883
23. Chase, Samuel B., to Horace G. Chase; 1884-85, n.d.
24. Chase, Samuel M., to Parents; 1881-83
25. Cleveland, Ellen, to E. Marian Chase; 1880-81
26. Cleveland, Ellen, to E. Marian Chase; 1882, 1884
27. Cleveland, Ellen, to Horace G. Chase; 1881
28. Cleveland, J. H., to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase; 1880-83
29. Cushing, Jennie M., to Horace G. Chase; 1881-85, n.d.
30. Ford, Bertha, to Horace G. Chase; 1884-85, n.d.
31. McDaniel, A., to Horace G. Chase; 1883 Apr 10 (Wilmette land)
32. Mason, J. Albert & Louise Sherwin—Wedding invitation; 1870
33. Mason, J. Albert, to E. Marian Chase; 1883-84
34. Mason, J. Albert, to Horace G. Chase; 1880, n.d.
35. Mason, Louise Sherwin, to E. Marian Chase; 1882-84
36. Mason, Louise Sherwin, to Horace G. Chase; 1880-83, n.d.
37. Mills, Joseph, to Horace G. Chase; 1880-1881
38. Misc. Business—New England, New York, Indiana; 1881-84
39. Misc. Family; 1880-84, 1902, n.d. (Includes Stanley Chase)
40. Misc. Personal (Chicago); 1880-82
41. Misc. Personal (non-Chicago); 1879-85, 1901-2
42. Rickcords, William, to Horace G. Chase; 1880-85
43. Santa Claus, to Chase family; 1879-62
44. Sherwin, John R., to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase; 1883-84
45. Wright, A. J., to Horace G. Chase; 1880-82
46. Wright, Cousin Gertie, to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase; 1881-85
47. Wright, Cousin Lizzie, to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase; 1880-85
48. Wright, Cousin Tim, to Horace G. Chase; 1881-85
1. E. L. Canfield (real estate), ALS to
H. G. Chase; 1884 May 8
2. Chase Bros. & Co. Conveyancers—Billing stationery; 1870s
3. Empire Warehouse Co., ALS to H. G. Chase; 1880 Dec 10
4. Giles, Brother & Co. (jewelry), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1881 Dec 9
5. M. Keitz (picture frame), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1881 Jan 10
6. Lyman, David B. (lawyer), to H. G. Chase; 1881-82
7. Osborne, H. S. & F. S., to Horace G. Chase; 1882 Feb 9, 20
8. Peabody, Francis B. & Co., to H. G. Chase; 1880, 1884
9. Rice & Cleaver (real estate), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1881 Apr 11
10. A. H. Sellers (lawyer?), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1885 Feb 7
11. Smith & Burgett (lawyers), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1880 Apr 20
12. W. C. Stevens' Gallery—Exhibition flyer; n.d.
13. Thornburgh & Blessner (mill & elevator supplies), ALS to H. G. Chase; 1884 Dec 16
14. Traders Bank, ALS to H. G. Chase; 1883 Feb 15
15. Churches—Christ Church (Chicago)—29th
Lenten letter; 1890
16. Churches—Miscellaneous (non-Chicago); 1875-85, n.d.
17. Finances—Bills & invoices (Chicago); 1879-82
18. Finances—Bills & invoices (Connecticut & Massachusetts)
19. Finances—Bills & invoices (New Hampshire)
20. Finances—Bills & invoices (location not given)
21. Finances—Horace G. Chase, account book, principally with William Rickcords; 1875-78
22. Journals—Horace G. Chase (Boston, MA); 1843 Aug 6 – 1844 Feb 4, 1844 Feb 6--Jul 2
23. Journals—Horace G. Chase (Boston, MA); 1846 Sep 20 – 1847 Aug 11
24. Land records (Chicago); 1876, 1882, n.d.
25. Miscellaneous—Envelopes (empty)
26. Miscellaneous—Invitations and calling cards
27. Miscellaneous—Newspaper clippings
28. Miscellaneous—Printed flyers, manuscript notes
29. Schools-Correspondence, printed material; 1879-85