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Object ID 2005.42.01
Title Oral History Interview with Grace Chace
Object Name Oral History
Date 2004
Creator Town of Chevy Chase Oral History Project
Description Chevy Chase Historical Society Oral History Project

Interview with Grace Chase

Interviewed by Nancy Lemann
Summarized by John Kay, August 2008

Date: February 22, 2004

Summary and Index of Terms
Written by Alexander R. Parker

Grace Chace was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1907, where she lived until she was 29 years old. Her father was a salesman for Swift and Company in Boston. Grace's mother, Kitty Ethyl Mynard, was educated at the New England Conservatory of Music, and was an amateur actress in the Pilgrim Women's Club. Grace went through primary school in Boston, and then moved on to Dorchester High School, graduating in 1924. She continued her education at Simmons College in Boston, and when she graduated she stayed in Dorchester with her parents, working various jobs in downtown Boston. In 1932, she went to Virginia to teach at the Hampton Institute near Newport News. She met her husband, Bill, within the first week of arriving. Bill Chace was a history teacher, eventually working his way up to a PhD from the University of North Carolina, graduated from Princeton for his BA, and was originally from Buffalo, New York. Their first son was born in 1938, while still in Hampton, Newport News. Their 2nd son was born in 1941, in Cazenovia, NY, where Bill was working as Dean of a small junior college. After finishing his doctoral studies, Bill moved to Washington, DC and found a job, and Grace followed shortly after with their two children. They lived on 34th Street NW for three years, before finding a house on Oakridge Ave in Chevy Chase in 1945. Grace also became a member of the Chevy Chase Club when they moved to the area. Their third son was born in DC in 1943. Grace's fourth son was also born once the family was living in Chevy Chase, but he died tragically in a car accident at the age of 17. Bill Chace died in 1975, and Grace lives alone to this day. She has 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Grace's interview reveals some interesting information about Chevy Chase, Washington, DC, and 20th century America. She talks greatly about education, and how important it was to her family. She describes the changing aspects of Chevy Chase and Bethesda over the years, from the early, wealthy residents to the more diverse crowd that began to move there after World War II. She describes how the area went from a vastly undeveloped atmosphere to one with hundreds of houses popping up on streets throughout the town. Grace tells of her relationships with neighbors, and how mostly they were good natured and friendly. She also describes the changing aura of the Washington, DC area, as new communication technology sped up the way people lived and caused politics to go sour in the capital. She also discusses World War II, the fear many people felt living in the Nation's Capital, and many logistical problems such as the rationing system.

Index of Terms:

34th Place
A&P Grocery
Bill Chace
Boston Globe
Brown University
Budget Store
Buffalo, NY
Carrier Drugstore
Chapel Hill
Chesapeake Bay
Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase Circle
Chevy Chase Club
Chevy Chase Elementary School
Connecticut Ave
Coronado Hotel
Curtis Road
District of Columbia
Dorchester High School
Dorchester, MA
East Homer
Eleanor Roosevelt
Ford Building
Frances Harris
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Park
Friendship Heights
Hampton Institute
Hampton University
Hilary Clinton
Jonathan Chace
Jordan Marsh
Kitty Ethyl Mynard
Leland Center
Leland Junior High School
Leland Street
Libby Mynard
Lois Roberts
Lynn Drive
Lyons Nursery
Mark Peyton
Martin's Addition
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Montgomery County
National Capital and Planning Commission
National Gallery of Art
New England Conservatory of Music
New Hampshire
New York
Newport News
Oakridge Avenue
Paul Chace
Paul Mynard Chace
Pearl Harbor
Pilgrim Congregational Church
Pilgrim Women's Club
Point Comfort
Potomac Home Support
Presbyterian Church
R.H. White
San Diego
San Francisco
Section 4
Simmons College
South Station
St. Johns Church
Stanford Street
Stanford University
Sunnyvale, CA
Swift and Company
Texas Technological College
The Mayflower
Town of Chevy Chase
University of North Carolina
University of Virginia
Vietnam War
Warren Brothers
William Filene
Willow Lane
Windermere Road
Wittlesey's Drugstore
Woodrow Wilson
Woodward and Lothrup