Columbia University Archives

Lester M. Chace papers, 1931-2007

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0138
Bib ID 13222633 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Chace, Lester M., Jr., 1925-2005
Title Lester M. Chace papers, 1931-2007
Physical Description 1 linear feet (1 record carton)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located offsite. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.




This collection consists of photographs, articles, reviews, and correspondence related to portrait artist Lester Merton Chace, Jr. CC 1950. The materials were collected and organized by Anne Battley Phipps, BC 1948 and it includes some reminiscences recorded by Anne Phipps.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located offsite. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lester M. Chace papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Related Materials

For information about the Lester M. Chace portraits in the Columbia University art collection, please contact Art Properties.


No additions are expected.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2007.019: Source of acquisition--Anne Battley Phipps. Method of acquisition--Gift.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative. This collection was processed by Joanna Rios, July 2021.

Revision Description

2021-07-09 Published full finding aid. (JR)

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

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"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Columbia University -- : Alumni and alumnae Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Portrait painters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

A native of Pekin, Illinois, Lester Merton Chace, Jr. graduated from Columbia College in 1950. At the College, he served as art editor and managing editor of the yearbook, Columbian; was a member of staff at the humor magazine, Jester; worked at the student radio station WKCR; and was a member of the University Christian Society. Chace attended the Graduate School of Painting and Sculpture for two years.

As a student in 1949, Chace made a portrait of Columbia College Dean Harry J. Carman, who was soon to retire. The portrait appeared in color in the 1950 Columbian. After graduation, Chace continued to focus on portraiture and some of his works were commissioned for and donated to the University. Chace was commissioned by Marcellus Hartley Dodge to paint a portrait of Lou Gehrig (1954), which hung over the Hartley Hall fireplace. A year later, Chace's copy of John Trumbull's portrait of Alexander Hamilton hung in in the Columbia College Admissions Office. In 1956, Chace's copy of Irving R. Wiles's portrait of the late Frederick Coykendall was presented to the Columbia University Press. In 1964, Edmund A. Prentis presented University President Grayson Kirk with Chace's portrait of George Washington, which hung in room 210 Low Library. In addition to these works, the Art Properties Department also holds Chace's portraits of Clement Clarke Moore, Frederick A.P. Barnard and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Outside of Columbia, Chace painted portraits of the Malcolm Forbes family, presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and first ladies Betty Ford and Jacqueline Kennedy, which once hung at the White House. Chace died in 2005.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site. After clicking 'Submit Request', affiliates will login with their UNI and password. Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.

Series I: Lester M. Chace papers, 1931-2007

Box 1 Folder 1 Chace, Lynwood M., 1931-1992

(Lester Chace's uncle, nature photographer. Animal photographs, prints and in articles. Includes photos of Lester Chace, Jr. and Selma Chace Ballentine by Lynwood Chace. Portrait of Lynwood Chace by Lester Chace.)

Box 1 Folder 2 Columbia University, 1946-2007

(Press clippings, residence hall receipts, correspondence, alumni magazine articles. Portraits of Clement Clarke Moore, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton.)

Box 1 Folder 3-4 Forbes family, 1962-2006, 2 folders

(Portraits of Malcolm Forbes's five children and later, correspondence with Christopher Forbes.)

Box 1 Folder 5-6 Letters and articles, 1933-2006, 2 folders

(Includes biographical sketch, list of known works, newspaper clippings, etc.)

Box 1 Folder 7-8 Portraits, Inc., 1954-1962, 2 folders

(Photographs of portraits (mostly of children), commissions and sample works for Portraits, Inc. Also includes Portraits, Inc. commission statements.)

Box 1 Folder 9 Portraits, other, 1971-2007

(Photographs of portraits: Anne Phipps, Everett Dickson, Winsor Gale, John Wesley, Jesus Christ, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Jackie Kennedy, and other Pekin, IL subjects.)

Box 1 Folder 10-11 Shelburne Museum, 1962-2007, 2 folders

(Correspondence with James Watson Webb, Jr. Museum in Shelburne, VT. Portraits of Henry Osborne Havemeyer, Louisine Waldron Elder Havemeyer, James Waston Webb, Electra Havemeyer Webb.)

Box 1 Folder 12 Sketches, undated

(Mostly women's bodies, athletes and dancers, in motion and in repose. One car and one bridge view. On paper and on napkins.)

Box 1 Folder 13 World War II, 1943-1947

(Service photographs, War Department correspondence, allotment envelopes, honorable discharge certificate.)