Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Justine Chase

Justine Whittemore Chase (born in 1906) was a daughter of Waterbury's Frederick Starkweather Chase and Elsie Rowland Chase--the same Chase family that founded and owned Chase Brass & Copper. Fred Chase and his large family lived at 165 Grove Street with eight servants (as listed in the 1910 and 1920 Census Records). The family also had a home overlooking Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury. A portrait of Justine's sister, Frederika, is at the Mattatuck Museum.

A few years ago, I picked up a memoir Justine Chase published in 1988, A World Remembered, at John Bale Books. Many of the illustrations were paintings by her mother, Elsie Rowland Chase. It's a lovely little book, with a very nice blurb by May Sarton, one of my favorite authors, on the back cover.

Justine Chase, from the little I can glean (mostly from the book's dust jacket), had a fascinating life. Her poetry was published in the Atlantic Monthly, she collaborated on several plays, and held leading roles in several Broadway plays including Kind Lady. When that play was produced as a film starring Basil Rathbone, Chase appeared as his wife Ada.

Justine Chase as Ada, in Kind Lady (1935)

The movie can be watched on YouTube, broken into nine segments. Chase first appears about seven minutes into the third segment (embedded below), playing the supposedly ailing wife of Rathbone's con artist role.

Chase moved to England after World War II.


Anonymous said...

So pleased you like Justine's book! Her children also came to live in the UK and have been my dear friends for over 40 yrs. I only knew her in her old age - still formidable. The photo you show on your blog is lovely!I'll alert her family to your blog.

Mary Haight said...

My friend Sue, who sent you an anonymous comment, did alert me. I was delighted to see this blog, especially the picture, which I hadn't seen before. I'm Justine Chase (Haight)(Ashby)'s eldest daughter, Mary Rowland Haight. I live in Scotland, recently retired from the University of Glasgow's Philosophy Dept. My sister Amanda Haight (Caines), biographer of Anna Akhmatova, died in Australia in 1989. My brother John Haight is a mathematician at University College, London. We never knew my grandmother, Elsie Rowland Chase, but John and I have a lot of her paintings. Which painting of Aunt Freddie is in the Mattatuck Museum?