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Guide to the Alexander W. Chase Overland Journal, 1861
MS-R061  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Alexander W. Chase overland journal,
    Date (inclusive): 1861
    Collection number: MS-R061
    Creator: Chase, Alexander W. (Alexander Wells), 1843-1888
    Extent: 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: The illustrated holograph journal of Alexander W. Chase documenting his family's overland journey from Iowa to California by covered wagon from May to August 1861. The illustrations include both pencil sketches and watercolors. The journal is accompanied by 43 loose watercolor illustrations by Chase that correspond to events or scenery described in the journal. As a first-hand account of a pioneer journey over the Great Plains in mid-nineteenth-century America, the journal provides both textual and visual documentation on the landscape, wildlife, and Native American population of this time period. An informal transcription of the journal produced by UCI staff is available for consultation.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Alexander W. Chase Overland Journal. MS-R 61. Special Collections and Archives, The UCI Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Gordon and Carole Cole in 1991.

    Processing History

    Initial processing by Special Collections staff. Processing completed by Su Kim Chung in 1998.

    Biography

    Born in 1843, Alexander Wells Chase was 18 years old at the time he made the overland journey across the Great Plains with his family. In 1874 Chase married Isabel Frances Dickerson, and they had two children, Bertha Griffith Chase and Alexandra Wells Chase. He died in 1888.
    A family genealogy and a scanned photograph of Alexander Chase provided by the donor are available in folder 5 of the collection. Printouts of digital (JPEG) files of Chase family photos supplied by the donor are in folder 4 of the collection.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The illustrated holograph journal of Alexander W. Chase documenting his family's overland journey from Iowa to California by covered wagon from May to August 1861. The illustrations include both pencil sketches and watercolors. The journal is accompanied by 43 loose watercolor illustrations by Chase that correspond to events or scenery described in the journal. As a first-hand account of a pioneer journey over the Great Plains in mid-nineteenth-century America, the journal provides both textual and visual documentation on the landscape, wildlife, and Native American population of this time period. An informal transcription of the journal produced by UCI staff is available for consultation.
    Geographic features described in the journal include the Platte River, Black Hills, Rocky Mountains, Sweetwater Mountains, Castle Rock, Fort Laramie, American Falls, Snake River, Blackfoot River, Soda Lakes, Carson River, Humboldt River, and the Humboldt Mountains. The author also describes encounters with local wildlife such as antelope, buffalo, elk, prairie dogs, wolves, and coyotes. Flora and fauna of the Great Plains, including sage, prickly pear, gooseberries, and a wide variety of trees, are mentioned in Chase's narrative as well. The family's encounters with Native American tribes such as the Pawnee, Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, and Digger Indians are also documented.
    Contemporary historical events are also documented in the journal. Chase's narrative begins with a preamble mentioning the Civil War, and some entries describe news the family has received on the war's progress during the course of the journey. Other entries describe encounters with the Mormon wagon trains traveling over the Great Plains, while yet another entry notes the sudden appearance of a comet on the horizon.
    The accompanying loose watercolors depict persons, events, and geographic features that correspond with various journal entries. Chase's descriptive captions on the individual watercolors were used to formulate the container list.

    Related Collections

    Alexander W. Chase Diaries, 1866-1869. Available at the Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division, Tucson, AZ 85719.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Chase, Alexander W. (Alexander Wells), 1843-1999--Archives.
    Overland journeys to the Pacific--Archival resources.
    Frontier and pioneer life--Great Plains--Archival resources.
    Indians of North America--Great Plains--Archival resources.
    Great Plains--Description and travel--Archival resources.
    California--Description and travel--Archival resources.
    West (U.S.)--Description and travel--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Overland journals.
    Watercolors.