Mary Ellen Chase Papers, 1902-1973

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Volume: 4.5 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized as a single series. Correspondence is in chronological order within individual correspondents.

Biographical Note: Mary Ellen Chase was born February 24, 1887 in Blue Hill. When she was eleven, her father, Edward Chase, took her to hear a reading from Captain January by author Laura Richards. A year later, Chase saw Richards read again in South Berwick. At that meeting, Laura Richards asked Mary Ellen Chase what she wanted to be when she grew up. "I want to write books as you do," Chase answered. In 1909, after graduating from the University of Maine, she went to the Midwest to teach, where she contracted tuberculosis. Upon the advice of a doctor, Chase moved to Montana to recover. There she wrote her first successful novel, The Girl from the Big Horn Country.
In 1917, Mary Ellen Chase enrolled in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, where she taught for eight years before moving on to become an English professor at Smith College. There Chase met student Anne Morrow and the two corresponded after Morrow's graduation and her subsequent marriage to Charles Lindbergh. Chase also encouraged another aspiring writer and student, Sylvia Path. While at Smith, Chase met fellow professor Eleanor Shipley Duckett, who would become her partner of over forty years.  It was during her time at Smith that Chase wrote three Maine novels that would solidify her popularity: Mary Peters, Silas Crockett, and Windswept.

With the success of Windswept, Chase was able to travel the world with Duckett, including a sail to England aboard the Queen Elizabeth. In 1955, Chase retired from Smith and continued to write. Her writings include novels, biblical commentary, books about writing and literature, and other non-fiction works, many with a focus on Maine. Chase died in 1973 in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Description: This collection consists primarily of manuscript material highlighting Chase's writing process and publications. It focuses on three of the author's novels; early unpublished essays (1904-1909); extensive correspondence with family members, publishers, professors, statespersons, and other authors; and includes a small collection of photographs, both formal portraits and informal snapshots. The collection also holds exceptional personal scrapbooks created by the author, each one devoted to a particular novel.  The scrapbooks include fan mail, reviews and criticisms, newspaper clippings, and speaking engagements.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Mary Ellen Chase Papers, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:

001.  Portland Sunday Telegram 8-20-1936
002.  Biography
003.  Hinckley genealogy
004.  "Two Honored by Smith" clipping
005.  Colby Library Quarterly March 1962 -"The Diamond Jubilee of Mary Ellen Chase"
006.  Maine Life Jan.  1979 "Mary Ellen Chase Came Visiting"
007.  "Mary Ellen Chase's Teaching Wins"
008.  Smith Alumnae Quarterly - Summer 1987
009.  All Souls By The Sea - Petit Manan Point
009a.  Articles, 1990-
010.  B+W portraits
011.  B+W snapshots
011a.  B+W snapshots of MEC/Windswept, 1952
012.  Family photo, 1910 [framed copy located in OVS Box 1]
013.  Chase family photos
014.  Obituaries, 1973
015-016.  Letters from MEC to her mother, undated, 1935-40[?]
017.  Letters from MEC to Constance Holden (Cole), 1902-1903 and undated
018.  Letters from MEC to Constance Holden (Cole), 1906; 1908 and undated
019-20.  Letters from MEC to Constance Holden (Cole), 1910[?] - 1912
021.  Letters from MEC to Constance Holden (Cole), 1913
022.  Letters from MEC to Constance Holden (Cole), 1945
023.  Letters from MEC to Grace Dow and Dorothy Healy, 1960-69
024.  Letter to Israel Bernstein, 7-12-1962
025.  Cards to Tommy Healy, undated
026.  MEC to Isabelle Pease, 1962, 1965[?]
027.  Correspondence to Eleanor Ames, 1953-54
028-029.  Mary Ellen Chase to Virgina Chase Perkins, ca. 1965
030.  Mary Ellen Chase to Elizabeth Ring, 1938-42
031.  Misc. literary correspondence, 1926-28
032.  ALS to Catherine, undated
032a.  Notecard to Gary Woolson, 1964
033.  Edith Warren to Grace Dow, 1961
034.  Correspondence from Aga Khan to MEC, 1952-53
035.  Correspondence from Vera Brittain to MEC, 1937-40
036.  ALS Gladys Hasty Carroll to MEC, 1933
037.  Robert Coffin [reviewer] TLS to MEC, 1932
038.  Abbe Ernest Dimnet ALS to MEC, 1931; 1933
039.  Ruth Draper TLS to MEC, 1954
040.  Maurice Evans TLS to MEC, 1946, undated
041.  John Marquand to MEC, 1941-1942
042.  Agnes Repplier ALS to MEC, 1932
043.  Laura Richards to MEC 1932, 1933
044.  Kenneth Roberts ALS to MEC, 1943
045.  Eleanor Roosevelt TLS to MEC, 1/28/1941
046.  G.B. Stern ALS to MEC, undated
046a.  Correspondence exchange with College of St. Catherine, MN, 1939, 1968, 1975
047.  The Mountain Echo, George Stevens Academy, 3/3/1903
048.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "The Clam-shell Rock"
049.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "The Last of the Stuarts"
050.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "The Journey of David"
051.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "The Mad Day"
052.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "Baron Castin and the Town Which Bears His Name"
053.  Early essays, 1904-1909 "Inasmuch"
054.  "The Would-Be Author in School" manuscript, 1936
055.  Published writings, 1916-61
056.  "The Bible and the Common Reader" review, 1944
057.  Reviews: Golden Asse; Mary Christmas; Uplands; Silver Shell
058.  Dawn in Lyonesse - correspondence
059.  Dawn in Lyonesse - reviews
060.  Dawn in Lyonesse - Christmas greeting - Fra Giovanni 1513
061.  Dawn in Lyonesse - Icelandic Ballad of Tristram
062.  Donald McKay and His Clipper Ships - original manuscript
063-64.  Donald McKay and His Clipper Ships - revised manuscript
065.  Donald McKay and His Clipper Ships - galley proof
066.  Donald McKay and His Clipper Ships - typescript
067.  The Edge of Darkness - advertising copy
068.  The Edge of Darkness - reviews
069.  The Edge of Darkness - correspondence
070.  The Golden Asse - contract
071.  The Golden Asse - undated review
072-73.  Goodly Fellowship - reviews
074.  Goodly Fellowship - reviews/announcements
075.  Goodly Fellowship - correspondence
076.  Goodly Heritage - correspondence
077.  Goodly Heritage - contract
078.  Goodly Heritage - Richard Thornton letter, 1933
079.  Goodly Heritage - Edgar Stevens letters, 1909-10
080.  Goodly Heritage - "Lines Written to a Celebrated Teacher..."
081.  Jonathan Fisher - correspondence
082.  Jonathan Fisher - reviews
083.  Jonathan Fisher - Edith Weren article
084.  Jonathan Fisher - Diary of J.F. - original manuscript
084a.  "The Philosophical Alphabet of Jonathan Fisher" - Raoul N.  Smith
085.  Jonathan Fisher - Fisher House pamphlet
086.  Jonathan Fisher - photos of J.F. window displays
087.  Jonathan Fisher - 20th century printed handkerchief
088.  Journey to Boston - literary criticism, Polish American Studies, 1985
089.  Life and Language in the Old Testament - correspondence
090.  Life and Language in the Old Testament - reviews
091.  Life and Language in the Old Testament - advertisements
092-95.  The Lovely Ambition - manuscripts
096.  The Lovely Ambition - typescript
096a.  The Lovely Ambition - review
097.  Mary Christmas - royalty letters
098.  Mary Christmas - publisher letter and contract
099.  Mary Christmas - letter from Wm. Christmas, 1926
100.  Mary Peters - correspondence
101.  Mary Peters - reviews
102.  Mary Peters - advertising
103.  Mary Peters - original dummy
104.  The Plum Tree - reviews
105.  The Plum Tree - correspondence
106.  The Plum Tree - original short story
107.  Sailing the Seven Seas - original manuscript
108.  Sailing the Seven Seas - revised manuscript
109.  Silas Crockett - correspondence
110.  Silas Crockett - dust jacket and cover design
111.  Silas Crockett - reviews
112.  The Silver Shell - contract (duplicate)
113.  This England - "Oh to be in England" typescript
113a.  This England - correspondence
114.  This England - reviews
115.  Upland Romance - publisher letter and contract
116.  The White Gate - correspondence, 1954-55
117-18.  The White Gate - reviews/advertisements
119.  Windswept - correspondence
120.  Windswept - dummy of original
121.  Windswept - reviews
122.  Windswept - best seller lists
123.  Windswept - Down East article
124.  The Writing of Informal Essays - contract, 1928
125.  Dust jackets
126.  Letters from readers, 1936
127.  Sketches to illustrate one of MEC's books
128.  A. F. Chase - "A Few Verses"
129.  Edward E.  Chase
130.  Edith Chase Weren - funeral service
131-36.  A Goodly Heritage [scrapbook of reader responses, 1932-33]
137.  Clippings, 1960-71
138.  Tile of Blue Hill Home
139.  Reproductions of Fisher woodcuts [Jonathan Fisher 1768-1847]
140.  "Maine People Are Mod'rate" Holiday 2(8)August 1947
141.  Clipping scrapbook, 1938-42 - mostly Dawn in Lyonesse and Goodly Heritage
142.  Clipping scrapbook, 1934-36 - Mary Peters and Silas Crockett
143.  Clipping scrapbook, 1936 - Silas Crockett
144.  Clipping scrapbook, 1935-38 - Silas Crockett, This England, and MEC lectures
145.  Clipping scrapbook, 1935 - Mary Peters
146.  National Register of Historic Places Nomination Papers
147.  Finding Aid, Smith College Archive of Mary Ellen Chase Papers
148.  Matted photographic portrait of Mary Ellen Chase, inscribed by Chase to Windswept book cover designer Grevis Melville