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Champion Spalding Chase papers

Call Number: MS 133

Scope and Contents

The Champion Spalding Chase Papers comprise a total of 16 boxes of papers and are divided into two series: CORRESPONDENCE, which makes up the bulk of the papers, and a small SPECIAL FILES series. CORRESPONDENCE is divided into three subsections: "Correspondence of C.S. Chase", "Correspondence of M.S. Chase," his wife, and "Correspondence of Others." The first two subsections comprise the bulk of the Correspondence and consist primarily of letters exchanged between Chase and his wife. This correspondence covers the years 1845-1881, with a particularly large number of letters from 1863 to 1864. Although these letters are mostly of a personal nature, there is some discussion of Civil War matters, including a description of the surrender of Vicksburg. Also included in the "Correspondence of C.S. Chase" is a small number of letters from J.R. Doolittle, William H. Seward, and Fitz H. Warren, discussing the Whig Party's attempt to elect General Winfield Scott to the Presidency in 1852. There is, however, very little correspondence covering the years during which Chase was mayor of Omaha.

SPECIAL FILES contains a variety of items, the most important of which are Chase's military appointments and orders. Also included is a genealogy of the Chase family printed in 1894.


  • 1837-1899


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sherret Chase, 1966.


Arranged in two series: I. Correspondence. II. Special Files.


7 Linear Feet (16 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence and other papers of Champion Spalding Chase, Civil War veteran, lawyer, and politician. The papers are comprised primarily of personal correspondence between Chase and members of the family, although there is some material related to his Civil War experiences and to his work with the Whig Party and the Republican Party.

Biographical / Historical

Champion Spalding Chase was born March 20, 1820, in Cornish, New Hampshire, the son of Clement and Olive (Spalding) Chase. He studied law in Buffalo, New York, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1847. In that year, Chase moved to the Territory of Wisconsin. He married Mary Sophrina Butterfield, daughter of a prominent lawyer, in 1848, and in the same year opened a law office in Racine, where he remained until entering the Union Army in 1862. Chase also gave public lectures on phrenology and mesmerism.

Chase held a variety of public offices in the ante-bellum years. He served on the Board of Education of Racine from 1853-1857, including two years as president. In 1856, following the breakup of the Whig Party, which he had supported, Chase served as a delegate to the first National Republican Convention in Philadelphia. The same year, he was elected to a two-year term in the Wisconsin State Senate, where he spoke against the further extension of slavery. In 1859, Chase was appointed District Attorney of the First Judicial District.

In 1862, at the recommendation of his cousin, Salmon P. Chase, he was commissioned paymaster in the Union Army with the rank of major. Chase served in the army nearly four years, spending much of that time in the west and south-west. He witnessed the sieges of Knoxville, Mobile, and Vicksburg and for more than two years was stationed in New Orleans. Owing in part, at least, to the influence of William H. Seward, Chase was breveted Lieutenant Colonel by President Andrew Johnson. In January of 1866, he was honorably discharged and in the same year he moved to Omaha in the Territory of Nebraska. The following year, he became the first Attorney General of the new State of Nebraska.

In 1874, Chase was elected mayor of Omaha. He was re-elected in 1875, 1879, and 1883, serving a total of seven years in that office.

During his later years, Chase spent much of his time acting as delegate to various conventions called to consider current public issues. He died about 1898.

Guide to the Champion Spalding Chase Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Barbara Mathews
February 1971
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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