Shopping cart

“Spur Up Your Pegasus”

Family Letters of Salmon, Kate, and Nettie Chase, 1844–1873


, and


A volume of correspondence between a prominent father and his accomplished daughters

Married three times, Salmon P. Chase lost four children in infancy. Two daughters survived to adulthood and were their father’s companions during his service as a U.S. senator from Ohio, governor of Ohio, Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Kate, his older daughter, acted as an unofficial political advisor to her father and was a prominent Washington, D.C., hostess, while Nettie eschewed a life in the public eye, becoming a wife, mother, and creator of children’s books.

Often separated from his family due to the demands of his career as a lawyer and antislavery politician, Chase maintained his relationship with his daughters by the frequent exchange of letters. Chase’s letters show an ambitious father trying to school his daughters from afar, admonishing them to study and encouraging them to develop self-discipline and personal responsibility. The letters in this volume—from Chase to his daughters, from his daughters to him and to each other—span from when Kate was a young child and Nettie not yet born to their father’s death in 1873.

This collection of correspondence, many letters previously unpublished, stresses familial relationships, the daughters’ education, and the role of women in nineteenth-century America. “Spur Up Your Pegasus” provides important insights into the personal lives and private thoughts of a prominent political family.


James P. McClure is a senior associate editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University and was previously with the editorial staff of the Salmon P. Chase Papers in Claremont, California.

Peg A. Lamphier is a lecturer in history at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is the author of Kate Chase and William Sprague: Politics and Gender in a Civil War Marriage.

Erika M. Kreger is currently Graduate School Director of Development at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work on nineteenth-century women’s literary history includes articles in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and Studies in American Humor.