This collection contains correspondence between Charles W. Chase, Jr. ("Pete") and his wife, Harriet P. Johnson, during their courtship and throughout the early years of their marriage. The couple's courtship began around 1912, and they wrote each other frequently before their marriage in mid-October of the following year. Pete, who worked for his father at the Florida Keys Sponge & Fruit Company, often mentioned aspects of his work and frequently made arrangements to see Harriet, who lived in Key West and who shared details of her active social life in her own letters to Pete. As the wedding approached, the couple focused on plans for the day, and both anxiously anticipated the ceremony, with Pete counting down the days by early October. After the wedding, they wrote less frequently until April 1917, when Pete joined the United States Navy in anticipation of the nation's entry into World War I. An ensign, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Barney at the Charleston Navy Yard, and though his military service was voluntary, he greatly missed his wife and young child, who lived for a time in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Several letters from 1918 reflect his efforts to find a local
apartment where they could join him. While at Charleston and, later, Norfolk, Virginia, Pete regularly wrote of daily naval life, which he found tiresome, and about his leisure activities, which included many trips to movies and, occasionally, to the theater. By 1919, Chase, a lieutenant stationed on the U.S.S. Anniston , focused his efforts on obtaining a transfer to inactive duty following the war; his father intervened on his behalf, but it is unclear whether their efforts were successful. Pete later wrote to Harriet while he worked for several real estate companies located in Miami Beach, Florida, and also received several letters from his young daughter Sarah between 1931 and 1939.