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Mary Ellen Chase Papers, 1893-1995
6 boxes (9 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
Professor of English and novelist. Contains biographical material, articles, correspondence, photographs, awards, financial information, reviews, and writings.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish any material from the Mary Ellen Chase collection must be secured from the Smith College Archives as owners of the physical property. Literary copyright must be secured from Mary Ellen Chase's heirs.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Mary Ellen Chase was born on February 24, 1887 in Blue Hill, Maine. Her parents were deeply religious Protestants and Mary Ellen was one of eight children who received a thorough biblical education as well as an academic one. She began writing at the age of sixteen and by her death on July 28, 1973, had published more than thirty essays, novels, and biographies.

At the age of nineteen, Chase took a leave from the University of Maine, where she was enrolled as an undergraduate, in order to teach in a one-room school in Buck's Harbor, Maine. Following her graduation, she taught for three years in Wisconsin at a coeducational boarding school and later for two years at a private girls school in Chicago, Illinois. At that point in time, Chase fell ill and was advised by her doctor that a move to Montana would improve her health. During her time there, Chase taught public school and wrote two novels.

Upon full recovery, Chase took a teaching position at the University of Minnesota where she also studied and earned her MA in 1918 and later her Ph.D. in 1922. In 1926 she was hired by Smith College where she taught courses on the English novel and the King James version of the Bible. During her time at Smith, Chase became respected colleague, teacher, and friend to many. Her courses, taken by English majors and non-English majors alike, were some of the most popular on campus. In addition, Chase's home on Paradise Road became a favorite place for her students to go for good conversation and cookies.

Despite her success as an author, teaching remained her true love throughout her career. She viewed teaching as the main source of meaning in her life. An extremely dedicated professor, Chase believed that "the personality of the teacher is more important than her intellectual attainments" and that "if the teacher has no enthusiasm for teaching and for subject matter, her students will learn little." She was very excited about her field of expertise and hoped to similarly inspire her students.

Mary Ellen Chase has come to be known as one of the great American novelists. Much of her work was inspired by her childhood in Maine and several of her novels are autobiographical. The Goodly Heritage (1932) and A Goodly Fellowship (1939) are about her childhood and how she became a teacher, respectively. Chase also wrote several books for children and more than one of her novels became best-sellers.

Chase's popularity and skill at public speaking earned her many invitations to lecture around the country. She was awarded honorary degrees at the University of Maine, Bowdoin and Colby Colleges, Smith College, and Northeastern University. Her work was also acknowledged by the Women's National Book Association in 1956 when she was awarded the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award.

After her retirement in 1955 at the age of sixty-eight, Chase continued to live on-campus with her long-time companion, Eleanor Duckett, and her dog, Gregory. She spent summers in Maine at her home, "Windswept," and journeyed to England where she took Hebrew classes at Cambridge in order to better understand the Old Testament. She also taught two adult education seminars on the Bible at Radcliffe College. In 1968, Smith College acknowledged her dedication to the students and the College with a new dormitory, The Mary Ellen Chase House.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mary Ellen Chase Papers include biographical material including articles, correspondence, photographs, awards, financial information, reviews and writings. The latter part, which comprises the bulk of the collection, includes Chases's books, articles, and lectures in manuscript, typescript, galley and final published form. Among her books are translations of many of her titles into several languages.

The Smith College Archives houses other letters and photographs of Mary Ellen Chase that are not kept among the Mary Ellen Chase Papers, but with the papers of the other professors or students to whom the letters or pictures belonged. These are not listed in this finding aid, but can be located by consulting the card catalogue of the College Archives. The Mortimer Rare Book Room also holds some Mary Ellen Chase material, and likewise these holdings are not listed here, but can be found by consulting the catalogue of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish any material from the Mary Ellen Chase collection must be secured from the Smith College Archives as owners of the physical property. Literary copyright must be secured from Mary Ellen Chase's heirs.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Mary Ellen Chase Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The materials in the Mary Ellen Chase collection were given to the College Archives over a period of years between 1973 and 2001 by several donors, including Victor B. Harrison, Elizabeth Jacobsen, Helen K. Mills, Jenny V. Holtzermann, Deborah Wheeler, Professor Chase herself, and by her estate.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Bibliography
Books by Mary Ellen Chase in the Smith College Archives
  • Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1950
  • The Bible and the Common Reader. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1944 (2 copies)
  • The Bible and the Common Reader. Revised edition, 1952
  • Das Buch der Bucher, bie Bibel und der Mensch von Heute. Stuttgart: Hans E. Verlag
  • Constructive Theme Writing for College Freshman. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1929
  • Constructive Theme Writing for College Freshman. Revised edition, 1938
  • Dawn in Lyonesse. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938 (3 copies)
  • Dolly Moses: the Cat and the Clam Chowder. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1964
  • The Edge of Darkness. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1957
  • Am Rande der Dunkel-Heit. Munchen: Winkler-Verlag, 1964
  • Prakash-Reka. Bambay: Kailas Prakashan, 1959 (Marathi language) (also in Iranian, Bengali and another language -- possibly Arabic)
  • The Girl from the Big Horn Country. New York: A.L. Burt and Company, 1916
  • The Golden Ass and Other Essays. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1929 (2 copies)
  • A Goodly Fellowship. New York: Macmillan and Company, 1939
  • La Joie d'Enseinger. Paris: Bantam Books, 1959
  • La Joie d'Enseinger. Bombay: Nav Lekhan Piublishers, 1962 (Marathi language)
  • La Joie d'Enseinger. Bombay: Ravani Prakashan Griha, n.d. (Gujarati language)
  • La Joie d'Enseinger. Tokyo: Kaitakusha Publishing Co, Ladder Edit., 1964 (in English with Japanese glosses) (also 2 Bengali editions)
  • A Goodly Heritage. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1932
  • Haseen Miras. Lahore, Pakistan: West-Pak Publishing Company, Urdu-Bazar, n.d.
  • Haseen Miras. Madras, India: Kubera Printers, Ltd. 1932
  • A Goodly Heritage. Saigon, 1932
  • His Birthday. Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1915
  • Jonathan Fisher, Maine Pastor. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1948 (2 copies)
  • A Journey to Boston. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1965
  • A Journey to Boston. Delhi: Shahazad Book House, 1967 (Urdu languge)
  • Life and Language in the Old Testament. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.1955
  • Life and Language in the Old Testament. New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, c.1955
  • Leben und Sprache in Alten Testament. Munchen: Winkler-Verlag, 1957
  • The Lovely Ambition. New York: W.W. Norton and Compnay, Inc. 1960
  • Ambiçao de Amor. Rio de Janiero: Lidador [1960]
  • Ambiçao de Amor. New Delhi: S.R. Suneja Publications, 1967 (Hindi language)
  • Mary Christmas. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1926
  • Mary Peters. New York: Macmillan Company, 1934 (2 copies)
  • Mary Peters. Wein im Phoenix Verlag, c.1946
  • Mary Peters. Bombay: Narayan Puranik, Kailas Prakashan, 1958 (Marathi language)
  • Mary Peters. Augsburg: Manu Verlag, 1947
  • Mary Peters. Allahabad: Desh Sewa Press, 1958 (Hindi language)
  • Look at America: New England. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1947
  • The Plum Tree. New York: Macmillan Company, 1949
  • Der Plaumenbaum/Eine Fahrt Nach Boston. Munchen: Winkler-Verlag, c.1949
  • The Prophets for the Common Reader. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1963
  • Readings from the Bible. New York: Macmillan Company, 1952
  • Richard Mansfield: Prince of Donkeys. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1964
  • Sailing the Seven Seas. New York: Dell, 1967
  • The Story of Lighthouses. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1965
  • Silas Crockett. New York: Macmillan Company, 1935
  • Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel. New York: Russell and Russell, 1964
  • Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel. University of Minnesota Press, 1927
  • This England. New York: Macmillan Company, 1936 (2 copies and a foreign language edition, possibly Urdu)
  • Victoria: a Pig in a Pram. New York: W.W. Norton, 1963
  • Virginia of Elk Creek Valley. New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1917
  • Uplands. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1927
  • A Walk on an Iceberg. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1966
  • The White Gate. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. 1954
  • The White Gate. Maradana, Colombo: Messrs. Gunaratine and Company, n.d. (Sinhalese)
  • Windswept. New York: Macmillan Company, 1941
  • Stormhalen. Uppsala: J.A. Lindblads Forlag, 1943
  • Stormhalen. Armed services edition. Council on Books in Wartime. c. 1941
  • The Woman and the Sea. Tokyo: Kaitakusha, 1965 (in English with Japanese glosses)
Books About Mary Ellen Chase
  • Squire, Elienne. A Lantern in the Wind. Santa Barbara: Fithian Press, 1995
  • Chase, Evelyn Hyman. Feminist Convert: A Portrait of Mary Ellen Chase. Santa Barbara, CA: J. Daniel, 1988.
Articles About Mary Ellen Chase
  • Chase, Evelyn Hyman. "Mary Ellen Chase and the Incipient Feminist Movement," Smith Alumnae Quarterly (Summer 1987).
  • Hall, Virginia Smith, Down East Today (1938)
  • Kingman, Lee. "Pamela's Socks and the Roman Emperors," Vogue essay contest (date?)
  • Squire, Elienne. "A Famous Author and Teacher," Smith Alumnae Quarterly (Summer 1987).
Mary Ellen Chase Material at other Repositories
  • Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Women's National Book Association Records, 1917-1989. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence. There is also correspondence in the Amy Loveman collection.
  • Harvard Divinity School. Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Robert Henry Pfeiffer Papers, 1911-1958. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence.
  • Iowa State University, Library, Special Collections. Frederick William Lorch papers, 1857-1966. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence.
  • Syracuse University, George Arents Research Library for Special Collections. Robert Silliman Hillyer papers, 1902-1963. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence.
  • University of Iowa Libraries. Special Collections Department. Letter to Prof. Grover. Northampton, MA, declining an invitation because of a trip (Nov. 30, 19??).
  • University of Maine. Special Collections. Approximately one inch of "Letters written by Miss Chase to Dr. Hugh Stalker, writings, notebooks, portrait, and clippings" dating from 1940-69. Given by Chase in two accessions, while alive then again from her estate.
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Bentley Historical Library. Frank Addison Manny papers, 1890-1955. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence.
  • University of Minnesota. Manuscripts Division. Prophets for the Common Reader, manuscript, 1962.
  • University of New England. Maine Women Writers Project. Approximately 3 linear feet of "Correspondence, documents, and clippings relating to Miss Chase's publications (1909-1964)". There is also correspondence in the Coatsworth Collection.
  • University of Rochester, Rush Rhees Library, Department of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Archives. Manuscripts Collection Ch - Cl, 1731-1980. Includes M.E. Chase correspondence.
  • Yale University. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Wallace Notestein papers, 1899-1969, and Kathryn Hulme papers, 1846-1981. Both include M.E. Chase correspondence.


Contents List
Series I. BIOGRAPHY



General
1930-1957, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Newsclippings
1926-1973, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
"The Diamond Jubille of Mary Ellen Chase," Colby Library Quarterly
March 1962

Box 1: folder 3
Obituaries and other Posthumous Accounts
1973-1995, n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Memorabilia
1944-1973, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Check Registers
1950-1964

Box 1: folder 6
Press Releases
1929-1967, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Series II. PHOTOGRAPHS



Portraits
1920-1957, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Portraits-Stahlberg Portraits
1933, 1941, n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
Portraits-Dining Room Photos
ca. 1960s

Box 1: folder 9
Chase and Eleanor Duckett
1949, 1961, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Events
1933-1965

Box 1: folder 11
Family and Friends
1893, 1951, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Houses
n.d.

Box 1: folder 13
Series III. PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE



Jane Brooks
1961

Box 1: folder 14
Virginia Callahan
1965-1971, n.d.

Box 1: folder 15
Newton K. Chase
1971

Box 1: folder 16
Virginia Gildersleeve
1962

Box 1: folder 17
Margaret Grierson
1966

Box 1: folder 18
J.D. Holtzermann
1922-1936, n.d.

Box 1: folder 19
Edward Kessler
1960

Box 1: folder 20
Marine Leland
n.d.

Box 2: folder 1
Ann and Robert MacMurphy
1927, 1929

Box 2: folder 2
Elizabeth "Betty" Pence McKibben
1938-1963

Box 2: folder 3
Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
1966

Box 2: folder 4
Virginia Chase Perkins
n.d.

Box 2: folder 5
Florence Perry
1942

Box 2: folder 6
Deborah Wheeler
1952-1968, n.d.

Box 2: folder 7
Miscellaneous
1945-1972, n.d.

Box 2: folder 8
Series IV. PROFESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE



George C. Connor, re: Windswept
1945

Box 2: folder 9
re Rabbi Abraham Feldman/Bible and Common Reader
1948

Box 2: folder 10
Mrs. Noels
1934

Box 2: folder 11
Florence Snow
1930-1949

Box 2: folder 12
Katharine Starrett Whitton and Helen Starrett Dinwiddle
1940

Box 2: folder 13
Fan Mail
1941-1974

Box 2: folder 14
Miscellaneous
1940-1979

Box 2: folder 15
Series V. SPEECHES



Chapel talks
1937,1941, n.d.

Box 2: folder 16
Smith College Alumnae Council
Feb 8, 1952

Box 2: folder 17
Postscript to the Writing of a Novel Friends of the Library, Smith College
April 20, 1957

Box 2: folder 18
First Things First, "Fight for Freedom," Meeting of the Hampshire County Committee
Nov. 27, 1941

Box 2: folder 19
Series VI PUBLICATIONS



General
1941-1965

Box 2: folder 20
"Abby Aldrich Rockefeller" Good Housekeeping
June 1950

Box 2: folder 21
The Abundant Life in Books
Sept. 1936

Box 2: folder 22
Alice M. Holden obituary
n.d.

Box 2: folder 23
"Are We Afraid of Being Alone?" Woman's Day
n.d.

Box 2: folder 24
"The Author and His Reader"
1935

Box 2: folder 25
Dolly Moses
1964

Box 2: folder 26
"Elizabeth Cutter Morrow"
Feb. 1955

Box 2: folder 27
in memory of Victoria Schrager
Oct. 27, 1943

Box 2: folder 28
Inaugural Date
Oct. 15, [1957]

Box 2: folder 29
Jonathan Fisher
1946

Box 2: folder 30
"A Kitchen Parnassus," Atlantic Monthly
Aug, 1926

Box 2: folder 31
Life and Language in the Old Testament: manuscript notebooks
Apr. 24, 1955

Box 2: folder 32-34
Life and Language in the Old Testament: manuscript notebooks
Apr. 24, 1955

Box 3
"Life in Books," Smith
n.d.

Box 3: folder 1
"Old Time Christmases in Maine" Ladies Home Journal
Dec. 1937

Box 3: folder 2
"Our Educational Heritage" Journal of the AAUW
Jan. 1940

Box 3: folder 3
The Needs of Smith College
1939

Box 3: folder 4
A Pig in a Pram (original manuscript)
ca. 1963

Box 3: folder 5
A Pig in a Pram (corrected typescripts)
ca. 1963

Box 3: folder 6
A Pig in a Pram (marked galley)
Apr. 2, 1963

Box 3: folder 7
The Plum Tree (revised manuscript)
1949

Box 3: folder 8
Recipe for a Magic Childhood pamphlet and article
1951 and 1952

Box 3: folder 9
Richard Mansfield (marked typescript)
ca. 1963

Box 3: folder 10
Richard Mansfield (marked galley)
Oct. 21, 1963

Box 3: folder 11
Sarah Orne Jewett (typescript)
n.d.

Box 3: folder 12
"She Misses Some Goals, " Life
Dec, 1956

Box 3: folder 13
Smith College - A Definition (book and typescript)
1968

Box 3: folder 14
The Story of Lighthouses (typescript)
Jan. 7, 1965

Box 3: folder 15
The Story of Lighthouses (marked galley)
ca. 1965

Box 3: folder 16
"Taxi Driver 63," Delineator
Feb. 1939

Box 4: folder 1
A Walk on an Iceberg (marked typescript)
n.d.

Box 4: folder 2
"When You Go Home," Coronet
Dec. 1952

Box 4: folder 3
The White Gate (manuscript notebooks)
1954

Box 4: folder 4
Windswept (drawings, photographs and letters)
c.1941-1946

Box 4: folder 5
"You Become Someone - Alone" Readers' Digest
Mar. 1962

Box 4: folder 6
Reviews of publications by M.E.C.
c.1929-1965

Box 4: folder 7
Reviews, by M.E.C, of publications
c.1928-1966

Box 4: folder 8
Edge of Darkness-general
1957

Box 4: folder 9
Edge of Darkness-original manuscripts, I and II
Jan.12-Mar.5, 1957

Box 4: folder 10
Edge of Darkness-original manuscripts, III and IV
1957

Box 4: folder 11
Edge of Darkness-revised manuscripts, I-IV
Jan.12- Mar.10, 1957

Box 4: folder 12
Edge of Darkness-three manuscript books containing final revisions
Mar.18-31, 1957

Box 5
The Lovely Ambition: corrected author's galley I
n.d.

Box 5: folder 1
The Lovely Ambition: corrected author's galley II
Dec. 31, 1959

Box 5: folder 2
The Lovely Ambition: galleys: title page
ca. 1960

Box 5: folder 3
The Lovely Ambition: marked and corrected typescript
Dec. 2, 1959

Box 5: folder 4
Prophets for the Common Reader: manuscript (incomplete)
n.d.

Box 6: folder 1
Prophets for the Common Reader: first typescript
ca. 1963

Box 6: folder 2
Prophets for the Common Reader: second manuscript (complete)
ca. 1963

Box 6: folder 3

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