Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Elsie Rowland Chase, 1863-1937

By Ève Bourbeau-Allard, MA, MSI

Elsie Rowland was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1863. Her father was Edmund Rowland, who would become the rector of St John's Church in Waterbury, Connecticut, from 1884 to 1901. Like her father, Elsie established herself in Connecticut, studying at the Yale School of the Fine Arts from 1884 to 1889 and exhibiting her paintings and landscapes in New Haven. A year following her graduation, she married Frederick Starkweather Chase (1862-1947), an industrialist of the family business, Chase Brass & Copper Company, based in Waterbury, CT. Frederick S. Chase was the son of Augustus Sabin Chase and Martha Clark Starkweather. Frederick and Elsie went on to have six children together.

Through her marriage, Elsie became sister-in-law with Elizabeth Hosmer Kellogg Chase, an active anti-suffragist. Elsie, however, was honored in 1934 by the Connecticut League of Women Voters for her contributions to the suffrage cause. In 1918, as chairman of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense of Waterbury, she was working to register women on local electoral lists. In 1926, she was Chairman of the Connecticut League of Women Voters' International Cooperation Committee.

Art remained an important part of Elsie Rowland Chase's life. In 1918, she was on the Mattatuck Historical Society Meetings Committee, and several of her paintings are held in the historical society's collections. Her paintings are also featured in her daughter Justine Chase's memoirs A World Remembered (1988). Elsie passed on April 4, 1937, and is buried in Waterbury.


American Art Directory vol 20. R.R. Bowker., 1923, p. 471. Retrieved from

Chase, Justine. A World Remembered. New Hampshire: Yankee Books, 1988.

Guest, Raechel. “Women's Suffrage,” Waterbury Thoughts. Retrieved from

“In Honor of Connecticut Women Who Helped Win the Vote for the Women of their Country”, 1934. Photograph of the plaque at the state capital retrieved from

Mattatuck Historical Society. From the exhibition of paintings by Elsie Rowland Chase at the Mattatuck historical society, Waterbury, Connecticut, October, 1937. Waterbury, 1938.

“Matters Matrimonial,” The Waterbury Evening Democrat, February 18, 1890, p. 4. Retrieved from Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

“Miss Mary Bulkley Delegate to Peace Meeting At Capital,” The Hartford Courant, November 17, 1926. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Pape, William Jamieson. History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut, vol 1, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918, p. 91.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Retrieved from

“Waterbury to Register Women”, The Home Guard News, vol 1 no. 3, May 1918. Retrieved from

“Yale School of Fine Arts Exhibition”, The Art Interchange vol 47 no. 2, August 1, 1901, p. 42.

Yale University Bulletin, “Obituary Records of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1936-1937” p. 263.

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