Guide to the Office of the President, George Colby Chase records, 1868-1921 | CA02.04

Summary Information

Repository
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Creator
Bates College (Lewiston, Me.). Office of the President
Title
Office of the President, George Colby Chase records
ID
CA02.04
Date
1868-1921
Extent
1.5 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
This collection, which is primarily correspondence, contains both hand and typewritten letters written to and by George C. Chase. The letters concern matters of both a business and personal nature- the Andrew Carnegie subscriptions, the hazing of freshmen, amending the College charter, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, efforts to obtain a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Chase's desire to retire and the plans for his successor and letters written by Chase to his son, George M. Chase. Also included are many letters from people who supported the work of the College as well as letters of introduction written on behalf of Chase to help him in the solicitation of funds. Among the correspondents in the collection are Robert Frost, Theodore Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, Edward Everett Hale, Sarah Orne Jewett, Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, William P. Frye, Percival Lowell, Wilfrid Laurier, William Howard Taft, Nelson Dingley, Jr., John Davis Long, and Benjamin E. Bates, the son of the college's namesake. There are also eight volumes of George Chase's diaries (1868-1913), a few newspaper clippings and several notes and memos from Harry W. Rowe concerning his reminiscences of certain people and events mentioned in the collection.

Preferred Citation

Office of the President, George Colby Chase records, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.

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Historical Note

George Colby Chase, the second president of Bates College, was born March 15, 1844 in Unity, Maine to Freewill Baptist parents. In 1862, at the age of eighteen, he entered the Maine State Seminary and, despite having his studies interrupted by periods of country school teaching and helping his father on the farm, he graduated in 1864. In the fall of 1864, with the encouragement of his mother, he enrolled in Bates College, graduating in 1868. Chase then spent the next two years teaching Latin, Greek and Philosophy at the New Hampton Literary Institute.

Although Chase thoroughly enjoyed teaching and had a strong aptitude for it, his mother's hope had been that he would enter the ministry. In 1870, in order to resolve the question of his life's work, he returned to Lewiston and enrolled in the theological school which had just become a department of the College after having been previously located at New Hampton, N.H. Meanwhile the College offered him a position teaching Greek and he spent the next year teaching and pursuing his studies in theology. At the end of that year, after he realized that the ministry was not his calling, the College offered him a position teaching English. In order to better prepare himself, he spent a year as a graduate student at Harvard, returning in 1872 to join the Bates faculty as Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature.

George Chase taught for 22 years and during that time his administrative skills were also being developed. President Cheney was often gone for long periods of time soliciting funds for the College, and Professor Chase served as Acting President during these absences. When the College found itself in a tight financial situation, Professor Chase offered to do what he could to raise money. He was so successful that President Cheney and the Trustees came to depend on him and eventually the solicitation of funds was added to his responsibilities. In 1894, upon President Cheney's resignation, George C. Chase became the second President of Bates College. During Chase's 25 years as president, the College grew in many areas-the endowment, the number of buildings and the number of faculty and students. However, what he strove to see realized were the ideals that he felt Bates stood for: scholarship, democracy, a spirit of service and most of all, Christian character.

President Chase received several honorary degrees: a Doctor of Divinity from Colby College and Doctors of Laws from Bowdoin College, the University of Colorado and the University of New Brunswick. He was a member of the Lewiston School Board from 1874-1890 and served two years as its president.

In 1872 George Chase married Emma F. Millett, a former member of the College's first graduating class. They had five children: George, Emma, Muriel, Elizabeth and Caroline. President George C. Chase died at his home in Lewiston, Maine on May 27, 1919 at the age of 75.

Scope and Content Note

These records contain material pertaining to the presidency of George C. Chase at Bates College, although some material pre- and post-dates his tenure. Much of the material is correspondence to a variety of educators, politicians, Bates alumni, and others, mostly relating to the academic and financial issues at Bates. Some correspondence folders contain letters about the name on the folder, not necessarily material to or from that person. Of particular note is the Carnegie Foundation correspondence folders, which contain much information on a significant fundraising event in Bates College history. The "General Education Board" folder also contains much corrrespondence about early fundraising efforts. A few of the folders contain notes added by Harry Rowe in the 1950s, probably during his various gatherings of historical material as the unofficial college archivist and historian. These notes often add interesting insight to the material contained within the folders. See also the scope and content notes for each individual series.

Organization and Arrangement

The records are arranged into three series: Administrative records, Diaries, and Originals. The Administrative series is arranged alphabetically by folder title; the Diaries are arranged chronologically. The Originals are also arranged alphabetically by folder.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240
207-786-6354
muskie@bates.edu

Access Restrictions

The records in Series 3, Originals, are closed to patrons, owing to the records condition. Patron-use photocopies of all Series 3 material exist in the first two series.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Accession No.: xx-002, xx-008.

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Related Materials

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--Faculty
  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--History
  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--Office of the President--Archives
  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Personal Name(s)

  • Bates, Benjamin E., 1862-1902--Correspondence
  • Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919
  • Chase, George Colby, 1844-1919--Correspondence
  • Chase, George Colby, 1844-1919--Diaries
  • Dingley, Nelson, 1832-1899--Correspondence
  • Frost, Robert, 1874-1963--Correspondence
  • Frye, William P. (William Pierce), 1831-1911--Correspondence
  • Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909--Correspondence
  • Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909--Correspondence
  • Laurier, Wilfrid, Sir, 1841-1919--Correspondence
  • Long, John Davis, 1838-1915--Correspondence
  • Lowell, Percival, 1855-1916--Correspondence
  • Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe, 1850-1943--Correspondence
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919--Correspondence
  • Rowe, Harry W. (Harry Willison), 1887-1980
  • Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930--Correspondence
  • Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915--Correspondence

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Collection Inventory

 CA0204/01 Administrative records 1875-1921 

Scope and Content Note

The Administrative series consists primarily of correspondence to and from Chase, concerning a variety of administrative, academic, and financial issues. The series also contains several other files, including a typescript on Addison Small believed to have been written by President Chase. (Small graduated from Bates in 1869 and served the College as an Overseer from 1886-1900 and as Treasurer from 1886-1893.) There is also a letter written by Chase as a protest to the board of the St. Joseph's Parochial School, and signed by several others members of the board.

The correspondence files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject. Some of the subjects concern campus matters such as the closing of the Cobb Divinity School, hazing of Bates College freshmen, efforts to obtain a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, appointment of Rhodes Scholars, and plans for Chase's retirement and successor. The "Carnegie Foundation" and "Carnegie Foundation Gifts" folders consist of correspondence concerning the two conditional gifts, of $50,000 each, given to the College by Andrew Carnegie. The correspondence is primarily between President Chase, Andrew Carnegie, and James Bertram, Carnegie's personal secretary. Also included are letters of solicitation, written by President Chase, to raise the needed funds to meet the conditions of the gifts. These gifts and funds were added to the College's endowment and used for the erection of the Carnegie Science building.

The majority of personal correspondence concerns Chase's efforts at fundraising for Bates. Many of the letters are written to or by Chase, but a substantial portion are letters of introduction written on Chase's behalf to help him in the solicitation of funds. Most of the correspondents are business, financial, legal, and religious professionals in Boston, New York City, and across New England. Finally, a few letters are written to those whom Chase hoped to have come speak at Bates, including Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Percival Lowell, William Howard Taft, Wilfrid Laurier, Robert Frost, and Owen Wister.

Finally, the correspondence with Nellie Hutchinson Cushing concerns coeducation at Bates, and contains Chase's recollections of some of the first women to attend Bates, and the attitudes of those in the College community both for and against coeducation.

Box

"Address of Pres. Geo. C. Chase of Bates College before the Committee on Education of the Maine Legislature" January 26, 1905   

1

"Addresses of President George C. Chase of Bates College and Mrs. J.H. Rand before the Committee on Education of the Maine Legislature" March 12, 1903   

1

"An Appeal for Bates College" undated   

1

Boston Meeting on behalf of Bates College 1903   

1

Correspondence -- Alfred Williams Anthony 1908   

1

Correspondence -- A 1885-1910   

1

Correspondence -- Charles M. Bailey undated   

1

Correspondence -- Benjamin E. Bates 1893-1905   

1

Correspondence -- Lillian G. Bates ca. 1906   

1

Correspondence -- Clarence A. Bickford 1884-1906   

1

Correspondence -- Albert E. Blanchard 1889-1897   

1

Correspondence -- Phillips Brooks 1886-1890   

1

Correspondence -- B 1892-1913   

1

Correspondence -- Carnegie Foundation 1904-1907   

1

Correspondence -- Carnegie Foundation Gifts 1904-1914   

1

Correspondence -- Earl L. Castner 1916   

1

Correspondence -- Chase Hall Donors 1916-1920   

1

Correspondence -- George M. Chase 1886   

1

Correspondence -- Person C. Cheney 1896   

1

Correspondence -- Winston Churchill (American author) 1908   

1

Correspondence -- Oliver B. Clason 1889   

1

Correspondence -- Cobb Divinity School 1908   

1

Correspondence -- Nellie Hutchinson Cushing 1909   

1

Correspondence -- C 1882-1914   

1

Correspondence -- D 1882-1902   

1

Correspondence -- E 1916   

1

Correspondence -- D.M. Fisk 1884   

1

Correspondence -- Robert Frost 1915-1916   

1

Correspondence -- William P. Frye 1875-1908   

1

Correspondence -- F 1887-1919   

1

Correspondence -- General Education Board 1905-1912   

1

Correspondence -- G 1883-1916   

1

Correspondence -- Edward Everett Hale 1882-1908   

1

Correspondence -- Hazing 1900-1920   

1

Correspondence -- James A. Howe 1908   

1

Correspondence -- William De Witt Hyde 1897-1900   

1

Correspondence -- H 1882-1910   

1

Correspondence -- Invitations 1908   

1

Correspondence -- Sarah Orne Jewett 1882-1910   

1

Correspondence -- J 1917   

2

Correspondence -- Raymond L. Kendall 1915-1918   

2

Correspondence -- Clara Bertram Kimball ca. 1913   

2

Correspondence -- Fred Knapp (re: tuition) 1908   

2

Correspondence -- K undated   

2

Correspondence -- Wilfrid Laurier 1912   

2

Correspondence -- Percival Lowell 1902   

2

Correspondence -- L 1882-1914   

2

Correspondence -- Maine State Seminary students 1896-1914   

2

Correspondence -- M 1881-1916   

2

Correspondence -- N 1901, 1913   

2

Correspondence -- Phi Beta Kappa 1912-1917, undated   

2

Correspondence -- P 1882-1912   

2

Correspondence -- Retirement 1915-1919   

2

Correspondence -- Rhodes Scholars 1906-1910   

2

Correspondence -- Herbert C. Roberts 1915-1917, undated   

2

Correspondence -- Theodore Roosevelt 1918   

2

Correspondence -- R 1883-1914, undated   

2

Correspondence -- John S. Sewall 1883   

1

Correspondence -- George E. Smith (Libbey Forum) 1906   

1

Correspondence -- S 1901-1919   

2

Correspondence -- William Howard Taft 1908   

2

Correspondence -- T 1882-1892   

2

Correspondence -- Booker T. Washington 1908   

2

Correspondence -- Owen Wister 1908   

2

Correspondence -- Dean Marianna Woodhull 1912 

2

Correspondence -- World War I -- Letters to servicemen 1917-1918   

2

Correspondence -- WWI -- Questionnaires and letters -- A-C 1918-1919   

2

Correspondence -- WWI -- Questionnaires and letters -- D-G 1918-1919   

2

Correspondence -- WWI -- Questionnaires and letters -- H-L 1918-1919   

2

Correspondence -- WWI -- Questionnaires and letters -- M-R 1918-1919   

2

Correspondence -- WWI -- Questionnaires and letters -- S-Z 1918-1919   

2

Correspondence -- W 1895-1906   

3

Correspondence -- unknown 1884, 1919   

3

Inauguration 1894   

3

St. Joseph's Parochial School undated   

3

Addison Small undated   

3

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 CA0204/02 Diaries 1868-1914 

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of eight diaries; most do not have daily entries or cover complete years. The entries contain accounts of Chase's daily activities including his travels and the various people with whom he had contact. Also included are notes and memos to himself, his personal reflections on family and college matters, and notes from sermons he heard. Several of the volumes contain financial information such as Chase's personal expenses, and accounts with various family members and others who boarded with the Chases. Also included are College expenses and an accounting of the money raised by Chase for the College, as well as names and amounts given by various donors.

The files in this series are all photocopies of Chase's diaries. The originals can be found in Series 3, but are not available to patron research due to their condition.

Box

Diary 1868-1871   

3

Diary 1882-1900   

3

Diary January 1904   

3

Diary 1904-1907   

3

Diary 1901, 1913-1914   

3

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 CA0204/03 Originals 

Scope and Content Note

Box 3 in the George C. Chase records contains the original copies of many items of correspondence, most of which are in fragile condition. In addition, Chase's diaries, copies of which can be found in Series 2, are kept here. These records are not available for research, unless exigent circumstances exist.

Box

Original letters and diaries   

4

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