This collection contains 157 incoming letters to Horace Gair Chase and his wife, Ellen Marian Sherwin, during the mid-1800s, as well as a calling card.
Much of the earliest correspondence is made up of letters to "Hodge" (Horace G. Chase) from his brothers and father, who wrote after his move to Chicago in 1852. Many describe travel between New Hampshire and Illinois; in one letter, Horace's brother Charley compared the costs and itineraries of several travel routes (June 17, 1852). The elder Horace Chase often provided his sons with news of family members and acquaintances in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
After 1859, much of the correspondence is addressed to Ellen Marian Sherwin, both before and during her 1860 marriage to Horace G. Chase. Friends and cousins wrote of their daily lives in Chicago and New York, and other topics, such as the death of Ellen's brother Edwin (August 5, 1861). Several writers mentioned the Civil War, most frequently expressing fervent devotion to the Union cause despite being occasionally disheartened. A few letters from this period are composed on patriotic stationery. After the war, Ellen's brother Johnny wrote from the USS North Carolina , offering his support for a Lincoln monument in Chicago and sharing the news of a friend's suicide (May 28, 1865). One item is a calling card for Mrs. T. E. Chandler.