Harry B. Chase, Jr. Papers
Scope and Content
The collection consists of several writings by Harry B. Chase, Jr.:
"'Boston & New York R.P.O Train 500,' Letters from a New Haven Railroad Signal Maintainer to his Soldier Son in Wartime, 1942-1943. Excerpts from letters written by Harry B. Chase. Transcribed and edited by his son Harry B. Chase, Jr." The typed manuscript is 47 pages long.
Highlights of the letters include Chase's comment on 3 February 1943 about the interest in the New Haven Railroad's popular advertisement, "The Kid in Upper 4." He also comments about the railroad workers request to the federal government for a pay increase (9 February 1943) and his service as an air raid warden. Chase writes of witnessing the derailment of New Haven Railroad Engine 3342 in Walpole, Massachusetts, in April 1943, with a poem he wrote about it.
The papers include an unpublished manuscript titled "Mixed Train to Providence: A History of the Boston and Providence Rail Road, the Taunton Branch Rail Road, and Connecting Lines, with Emphasis on Mansfield, Massachusetts." The typed manuscript is 792 pages long.
Other writings include "A Visit to the Scene of the Derailment of Freight OB-4 Canton Junction, Massachusetts, 15 December 1968," "Tales of the Old New Haven Railroad, An Oral History," told by Harry B. Chase, Sr. and Recorded by Harry B. Chase, Jr., ca. 1941, Transcribed to PC by Harry B. Chase, Jr., 2001," "Train Observations 1932-1956: Engines and Trains on the New Haven R.R. Providence-Worcester Line, at Whitins (Linwood) Mass, 1932, 1938, 1939," "A Collision on the Boston and Providence Rail Road at Roxbury, Massachusetts," "Railroad Documents: Revised Date Index of Locomotives of the Boston and Providence Rail Road," "Labor Day Trains, NYNH&HRR, Shore Line, 3 September 1956," "A Visit from St. Nicholas" [a version of the Christmas poem by Harry B. Chase, Jr., in which a signal maintainer clears the railroad tracks to allow Santa's train to come through on Christmas Eve], "Kilometer Posts on [the] Boston & Providence Rail Road," "New Haven Railroad Steam Sightings, 1947-1951," [diary entries of personal observations of steam trains], "'The Light That Failed:' The Wreck of the New Haven Railroad's 'Owl' at Mansfield, Massachusetts, 23 May 1926," and "Locomotive Fuel on the Boston and Providence Rail Road."
The papers include "Impressions of the Boston & Providence Rail Road: A Poetic Work by Elijah Dean of Mansfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1837, with editorial comments by historian Jennie Freeman Copeland in The Mansfield News, 1931." This writing is not by Harry B. Chase, Jr.
The papers also include four printouts of photographs of Harry B. Chase, Sr., in 1946, and Harry B. Chase, Jr., in 1943.
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Harry Bennett Chase was born on 3 May 1887, in Mansfield, Massachusetts. He began working for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, in August 1907 as a freight handler at the Mansfield freight station, and then with a signal gang from 1911 to 1915. From 1915 to 1917 he worked with a signal gang headquartered in Taunton, Massachusetts. In 1916 he married Bertha M. Smith. During World War I, he served from August 1917 to March 1919 as a corporal in the 302nd Infantry Division. Upon his return home, he rejoined the New Haven Railroad in May 1919 working again as a signalman (signal mainterner), this time near Walpole, Massachusetts. He worked there until his retirement in February 1948. Harry B. Chase died on 25 May 1948, in Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Harry Bennett Chase, Jr. was a resident of Mansfield, Massachusetts. He was born 27 September 1921 in Mansfield. In 1942 he graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Boston, where he majored in commercial and industrial design. He was soon drafted in the army and served during World War II in the Transportation Corps and the Corps of Engineers. After the war he worked as an illustrator and draftsman for The Foxboro Company, a manufacturer of industrial instruments in Foxboro, Massachusetts. He was also a geological consultant and has written for geological publications on New England coal and coal mining. He was active in land conservation and was clerk of the Mansfield, Massachusetts, first Conservation Commission and a founder of the National Resources Trust of Mansfield. He wrote a weekly column for local paper, The Mansfield News, on local history. He married Joyce Mitchell in 1982 and was stepfather to her four children. He died on December 4, 2016.
0.75 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection consists of writings by Harry B. Chase, Jr., which focus on the history of the railroad in Massachusetts in general and the experiences of his father, Harry B. Chase, Sr., an employee of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, in particular. Included in the writings are excerpts from letters written by father to son entitled "'Boston & New York R.P.O. Train 500,' Letters from a New Haven Railroad Signal Maintainer to his Soldier Son in Wartime, 1942-1943," as well as "Mixed Train to Providence: A History of the Boston and Providence Rail Road, the Taunton Branch Rail Road, and Connecting Lines, with Emphasis on Mansfield, Massachusetts," and other writings about the experiences of his father and himself with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in the mid 1900s.
Series I: Manuscripts, consists of writings by Harry B. Chase, Jr.
Series II: Photographs, consists of printouts of digital files of four photographs of Harry B. Chase, Sr. taken in 1946 and of Harry B. Chase, Jr., in 1943.
The collection was donated by Harry B. Chase, Jr. in 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2015, with the assistance of Richard A. Fleischer.
Existence and Location of Copies
Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository
- Harry B. Chase, Jr. Papers
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2003 April
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description