Horace Gair Chase Papers

Dates: 1843-1902
Size: 1 linear foot
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_CHAS
Provenance: The materials in this collection were the gift of Dr. Joseph B. Francus, 1983.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Horace Gair Chase Papers [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.

Biographical Note

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 was George H. Bailey, and the office was 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 (died 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 in the print version of this finding aid.

Scope and Content

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 interfiled. Writers who have written more than one letter have their own folders; writers of 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 in the printed guide available in the Special Collections Reading Room will help identify relationships between writers and recipients.

Chicago Business consists primarily of correspondence. As most of it is on letterhead stationery. It is a valuable 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.

Container List

Series 1: Correspondence

Box 1 Folder 1 Adams, J.B. to Horace G. Chase, Dec. 1880
Box 1 Folder 2 Cady family, 1880-1882, undated
Box 1 Folder 3 Chase, Bel to E. Marian Chase, Sept. 1, 1880
Box 1 Folder 4 Chase, Bel, death of, 1883
Box 1 Folder 5 Chase, Charles C. to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 6 Chase, Charles C. to Horace G. Chase, 1882
Box 1 Folder 7 Chase, Charles C. to Horace G. Chase, 1883
Box 1 Folder 8 Chase, Charles C. to Horace G. Chase, 1884
Box 1 Folder 9 Chase, Charles C. to Horace G. Chase, 1885
Box 1 Folder 10 Chase, Charles C. to Minot & Co. 1878
Box 1 Folder 11 Chase, E. Marian to Horace G. Chase, 1881-1885, undated
Box 1 Folder 12 Chase, Horace G. to Charles C. Chase, 1884
Box 1 Folder 13 Chase, Horace G. to E. Marian Chase, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 14 Chase, Horace G. to E. Marian Chase, 1882
Box 1 Folder 15 Chase, Horace G. to E. Marian Chase, 1883, 1885
Box 1 Folder 16 Chase, Horace G. to J. Albert Mason, 1880
Box 1 Folder 17 Chase, Lucy B. & Bessie L.B. 1882-1885, undated
Box 1 Folder 18 Chase, Olcott to Horace G. Chase & Mrs. Alexander, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 19 Chase, R. to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase, 1879, 1883
Box 1 Folder 20 Chase, Samuel B. to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 21 Chase, Samuel B. to Horace G. Chase, 1882
Box 1 Folder 22 Chase, Samuel B. to Horace G. Chase, 1883
Box 1 Folder 23 Chase, Samuel B. to Horace G. Chase, 1884-1885, undated
Box 1 Folder 24 Chase, Samuel M. to Parents, 1881-1883
Box 1 Folder 25 Cleveland, Ellen to E. Marian Chase, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 26 Cleveland, Ellen to E. Marian Chase, 1882, 1884
Box 1 Folder 27 Cleveland, Ellen to Horace G. Chase, 1881
Box 1 Folder 28 Cleveland, J.H. to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase, 1880-1883
Box 1 Folder 29 Cushing, Jennie M. to Horace G. Chase, 1881-1885, undated
Box 1 Folder 30 Ford, Bertha to Horace G. Chase, 1884-1885, undated
Box 1 Folder 31 McDaniel, A. to Horace G. Chase, April 10, 1883 (Wilmette land)
Box 1 Folder 32 Mason, J. Albert & Louise Sherwin, wedding invitation, 1870
Box 1 Folder 33 Mason, J. Albert to E. Marian Chase; 1883-1884
Box 1 Folder 34 Mason, J. Albert to Horace G. Chase; 1880, undated
Box 1 Folder 35 Mason, Louise Sherwin to E. Marian Chase, 1882-1884
Box 1 Folder 36 Mason, Louise Sherwin to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1883, undated
Box 1 Folder 37 Mills, Joseph to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1881
Box 1 Folder 38 Miscellaneous business, New England, New York, Indiana, 1881-1884
Box 1 Folder 39 Miscellaneous family, 1880-1884, 1902, undated (includes Stanley Chase)
Box 1 Folder 40 Miscellaneous personal (Chicago), 1880-1882
Box 1 Folder 41 Miscellaneous personal (non-Chicago), 1879-1885, 1901-1902
Box 1 Folder 42 Rickcords, William to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1885
Box 1 Folder 43 Santa Claus to Chase family, 1879-62
Box 1 Folder 44 Sherwin, John R. to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase, 1883-1884
Box 1 Folder 45 Wright, A.J. to Horace G. Chase, 1880-1882
Box 1 Folder 46 ----, Cousin Gertie to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase, 1881-1885
Box 1 Folder 47 ----, Cousin Lizzie to Horace G. & E. Marian Chase, 1880-1885
Box 1 Folder 48 ----, Cousin Tim to Horace G. Chase, 1881-1885

Series 2: Chicago Business

Box 2 Folder 1 E.L. Canfield (real estate) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, May 8, 1884
Box 2 Folder 2 Chase Bros. & Co. Conveyancers, billing stationery, 1870s
Box 2 Folder 3 Empire Warehouse Co. (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Dec. 10, 1880
Box 2 Folder 4 Giles, Brother & Co. (jewelry) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Dec. 9, 1881
Box 2 Folder 5 M. Keitz (picture frame) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Jan. 10, 1881
Box 2 Folder 6 Lyman, David B. (lawyer), to H.G. Chase, 1881-1882
Box 2 Folder 7 Osborne, H.S. & F.S. to Horace G. Chase, Feb. 9 and Feb. 20, 1882
Box 2 Folder 8 Peabody, Francis B. & Co. to H.G. Chase, 1880, 1884
Box 2 Folder 9 Rice & Cleaver (real estate) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, April 11, 1881
Box 2 Folder 10 A.H. Sellers (lawyer?) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Feb. 7, 1885
Box 2 Folder 11 Smith & Burgett (lawyers) (ALS) to H.G. Chase, April 20, 1880
Box 2 Folder 12 W.C. Stevens’ Gallery, exhibition flyer, undated
Box 2 Folder 13 Thornburgh & Blessner (mill and elevator supplies), (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Dec. 16, 1884
Box 2 Folder 14 Traders Bank (ALS) to H.G. Chase, Feb. 15, 1883

Series 3: Topical Files

Box 2 Folder 15 Churches, Christ Church (Chicago), 29th Lenten letter, 1890
Box 2 Folder 16 Churches, Miscellaneous (non-Chicago); 1875-1885, undated
Box 2 Folder 17 Finances, Bills and invoices (Chicago), 1879-1882
Box 2 Folder 18 Finances, Bills and invoices (Connecticut & Massachusetts)
Box 2 Folder 19 Finances, Bills and invoices (New Hampshire)
Box 2 Folder 20 Finances, Bills and invoices (location not given)
Box 2 Folder 21 Finances, Horace G. Chase, account book, principally with William Rickcords, 1875-1878
Box 2 Folder 22 Journals, Horace G. Chase (Boston, Mass.), Aug. 6, 1843-Feb. 4, 1844, Feb. 6, 1844 - July 2, 1844
Box 2 Folder 23 Journals, Horace G. Chase (Boston, MA), Sept. 20, 1846-Aug. 11, 1847
Box 2 Folder 24 Land records (Chicago), 1876, 1882, undated
Box 2 Folder 25 Miscellaneous, envelopes (empty)
Box 2 Folder 26 Miscellaneous, invitations and calling cards
Box 2 Folder 27 Miscellaneous, newspaper clippings
Box 2 Folder 28 Miscellaneous, printed flyers, manuscript notes
Box 2 Folder 29 Schools, correspondence, printed material, 1879-1885
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