Guide to the Ernest Dudley Chase Papers

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Accruals note

Pictorial maps and travel diaries were added to the collection in 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The greeting cards were donated to the Archives Center in 2005 by Ernest Dudley Chase's stepson, Fred, and Frances Holland. Fred Holland donated pictorial maps in July, 2010 and travel diaries in September, 2010.

Processing Information note

Processed by Anne Jones (volunteer), 2005; revised by Alison Oswald, archivist, September 2011. Biographical note written by Cathy Keen, archivist.

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Summary Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Chase, Ernest Dudley
Holland, Frances
Holland, Frederic
Ernest Dudley Chase Papers
Date [bulk]
bulk 1930-1940
Date [inclusive]
1.00 Cubic feetincludes one oversize folder (3 boxes)
A collection of greeting cards, pictorial maps, and travel diaries by artist Ernest Dudley Chase. Chase created greeting cards for Clara Holland during their courtship and later marriage. The cards were hand painted by Chase in water color with cut- paper details. Many of the cards include romantic letters or poems composed by Chase.

Preferred Citation note

Title and date of item, Ernest Dudley Chase Papers, 1924-1940s, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXX

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Biographical/Historical note

Ernest Dudley Chase was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1878 but is most associated with the town of Winchester, Massachusetts where he was a well known artist. Chase created a unique body of work, an array of views of various Winchester homes and buildings and whimsically illustrated maps. After attending the Lowell Textile School and the Vesper George Art School in Boston, Chase joined the Butterfield Printing Company in 1900. In 1906, he joined the printing firm of W.T. Sheehan in Boston. He began his own greeting card company in 1908, Des Arts Publishers which eventually became Ernest Dudley Chase Publishers. In 1921, Chase Publishers was purchased by Rust Craft. Chase worked at Rust Craft until 1958 in the position of vice president of creative design. His other duties at Rust Craft included advertising manager and editing the company's newsletter The Rustler and the greeting card industry periodical  The Greeting Card.

Chase married three times. His first marriage was to Idelle Clark and his second marriage was to Wilhelmina Graham. In 1937, Chase married for a third time to Clara Holland. On all holidays and special occasions, he gave his wife, Clara elaborately crafted, personally designed cards in which he generally included a very affectionate sentiment or on occasion a poem. One of Chase's hobbies was creating enormous greeting cards, gathering thousands of signatures on them and sending them to United States presidents or other famous persons around the world. Chase also enjoyed traveling and documenting his travel experiences in diaries.

According to the book Winchester Artists by Ellen E. Knight, Chase produced more greeting cards than anyone in the United States. He authored the first definitive history of the greeting card business,  The Romance of Greeting Cards, which was published in 1926. Chase retired from Rust Craft in 1958 and died in 1966.

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Scope and Contents note

A collection of greeting cards given by artist Ernest Dudley Chase to Clara Holland in the years during their courtship and marriage, pictorial maps drwan by Chase, and nine travel diaries. The cards were hand-painted by Chase in water color with cut-paper details. Many of the cards include romantic letters or poems composed by Chase.

Series 1, Greeting Cards, circa 1937-1966, consists of hand crafted, personally designed cards that Chase created for his wife Clara Holland. The cards generally include a very affectionate sentiment or on occasion a poem. The cards were done in water color and embellished with cut-paper details and calligraphy. Also included are Monday Morning Letters that Chase wrote to his wife Clara whom he called his "Lovely Little Lady" or "L.L.L."

Series 2, Maps (pictorial), 1935-1947 and undated, consists of maps designed and signed by Chase featuring meticulous illustrations of famous landmarks, flora, fauna and other features.

Series 3, Travel Diaries, 1924-1937, consists of nine volumes of bound, typescript travel diaries maintained by Chase from his travels, to Alaska, the Mediterranean, Carribean, Germany, Holland, Central Europe, Sicily, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. The diaries are arranged chronologically.

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Arrangement note

The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1, Greeting Cards, circa 1937-1966

Series 2, Maps (pictorial), 1935-1947 and undated

Series 3, Travel Diaries, 1924-1938

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Materials in the Archives Center

Norcross Greeting Card Collection (AC0058)

Olive Leavister 19th Century Handmade Valentine Collection (AC0396)

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Greeting Cards (AC0060)

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Greeting cards--20th century
  • Letters (correspondence)--1900-1950.
  • Love letters
  • Maps--1930-1940.
  • Maps--1940-1950
  • Poems
  • Valentines
  • Watercolors


  • Artists
  • Courtship
  • Love

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

Collection stored off-site. Arrangements must be made with the Archives Center staff two-weeks prior to a scheduled visit.

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Greeting Cards, undated

Box Folder

Anniversary cards, undated

1 1-2

Birthday cards, undated

1 3-4

Christmas cards, undated

1 5-6

Easter cards, undated

1 7-8

Mothers Day cards, undated

1 9-10

Valentines, undated

1 11-12

Monday Morning Letters, undated

1 13-19

Miscellaneous, undated

1 20

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 Series 2: Maps (pictorial), 1935-1947 and undated

Map-case Drawer Folder

Boston Birthplace of the Telephone, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, 1947

3 17 1

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, undated

3 17 1

Pacific Victory, 1944

3 17 1

Pacific Battle Map, 1942

3 17 1

Victory War Map, 1942

3 17 1

France, 1935

3 17 1

Europe (2 copies), 1938

3 17 1

Spain and Portugal (2 copies), 1935

3 17 1

World Onders, 1939

3 17 1

Bristish Isles, 1935

3 17 1

America the Wonderland, 1940

3 17 1

Boston and Vicinity (photocopy), 1938

3 17 1

New England States, 1938

3 17 1

Italy and Vatican City (photocopy), undated

3 17 1

South America, 1942

3 17 1

Germany, 1935

3 17 1

Switzerland, 1936

3 17 1

Norway, Sweden, Denmark, 1937

3 1

Total War Battle Map (2 copies), 1942

3 17 1

Stamps of America, undated

3 17 1

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 Series 3: Travel Diaries, 1924-1937

Box Folder

Mediterranean Travels (2 copies), 1924

2 1-2

Alaska, 1925

2 3

Carribean, 1927

2 4

Germany and Holland, 1928

3 1

Central Europe, 1929

3 2

Sicily, Italy and France, 1930

3 3

Trip to Europe, 1936

3 4

England, Scotland, Ireland, 1937 Summer

3 5

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