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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 382

Mary Chase papers


Compositions, correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs of American playwright and children's book author Mary Coyle Chase.


  • Creation: circa 1928-1987

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

A portion of this collection is shelved offsite. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services to determine retrieval policies and times.


13 linear feet (22 boxes)

Contains manuscripts of Chase's plays and fiction, correspondence, lecture notes, contracts, scrapbooks, photographs, programs, souvenir programs, posters, pamphlets, clippings, audiotapes, and miscellaneous material. Includes several versions of scripts for Mrs. McThing and for her Pulitzer Prize winning play, Harvey (1944), in both its play and musical forms. In addition there are proof sheets, stills and publicity shots from the Universal Pictures film based on Harvey.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Chase (née Mary Agnes McDonough Coyle) was an American journalist, playwright and children's novelist, known primarily for writing the 1944 Broadway play Harvey, which was adapted into the 1950 film starring James Stewart. She wrote fourteen plays, two children's novels, and one screenplay, and worked seven years at the Rocky Mountain News as a journalist. Three of her plays were made into Hollywood films: Sorority House (1939), Harvey (1950), and Bernardine (1957).


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Compositions
  2. II. Letters to Mary Chase
  3. III. Letters from Mary Chase
  4. IV. Contracts
  5. V. Scrapbooks
  6. VI. Posters
  7. VII. Miscellaneous
  8. VIII. Additions to collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the heirs of Mary Coyle Chase; received: 1985.

2024M-5. Gift of the Family of Colin & Joyce Chase, 2023 August 4 (boxes 16-20).

Chase, Mary, 1907-. Mary Chase papers, circa 1928-1987 (MS Thr 382): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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