Harry Bennett Chase, Jr., is a resident of Mansfield, Massachusetts. He served in the Transportation Corps and the Corps of Engineers in the army during World War II. After the war he worked as an illustrator and draftsman for The Foxboro Company, a manufacturer of industrial instruments in Foxboro, Massachusetts. He writes a weekly column for the local paper, The Mansfield News, on local history.
Mr. Chase has written extensively about New England railroad history and of the experiences of his father, Harry B. Chase, Sr., who worked for the New Haven Railroad beginning 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. 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, this time near Walpole, Massachusetts. He worked there until his retirement in February 1948.
The collection consists of many of the younger Mr. Chase's writings, with topics as varied as "Jim Crow" on Massachusetts railroad cars in the 1840s to "A Visit from St. Nicholas," a version of the Christmas poem by in which a signal maintainer clears the railroad tracks to allow Santa's train to come through on Christmas Eve. But of particular note is Mr. Chase's 780 page extensively researched work "Mixed Train to Providence: A History of the Boston & Providence Rail Road, the Taunton Branch Rail Road, and Connecting Lines with Emphasis on Mansfield, Massachusetts."
All of the writings by Mr. Chase are available though the finding aid to his collection.
Harry B. Chase, Sr., standing in front center with a spike maul, 1st class signal maintainer William R. Chambers front right, and members of the section gang working at Medfield Junction, Massachusetts, in 1946. The photograph was taken by Medfield Junction operator Daniel J. Giro.
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