Descendant of Plymouth Colony settlers, publisher of poetry and law books, Boston real estate and mortgage broker, journalist, friend and advocate of all seamen, photographer, newspaper and magazine correspondent, graduate of Boston Latin School and Harvard University, and 50-year resident of Jamaica Plain. The English name Chandler means “candle-maker.”
By Peter O’Brien, January, 2016
Horace Parker Chandler, A.B., A.M., was born in Boston, September 13, 1842. He was the son of Peleg Whitman and Martha Ann Bush (Cleaveland) Chandler. He traced his descent from Edmund Chandler of Duxbury in the Plymouth Colony. His father, Peleg Whitman Chandler, was born in New Gloucester, Maine and was a Bowdoin College graduate in the Class of 1834. He earned his L.L.D. from Bowdoin also. Horace’s mother was the daughter of the distinguished Bowdoin College professor, Parker Cleaveland.
Horace’s father, Peleg Whitman Chandler, had a long legal career in Boston and his many cases related to maritime, family and debtor’s law along with his significant role in the city’s development are documented in archives at the Boston Athenaeum, the Peabody Essex Museum and the Massachusetts Historical Society. He was the author of American Criminal Trials and served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Governor’s Council. He maintained lifelong ties to Maine where he owned a hotel.
Horace prepared for college at Boston Latin School and was graduated with the degree of A.B. at Harvard University in the Class of 1864. He received his A.M. degree from the same institution in 1867. In the autumn of 1864 he moved to Chicago and began the study of the law, but poor health soon obliged him to give up his ambition to become a lawyer.
Publisher, poet and author
In June, 1865, Horace engaged in the publishing business associated with the firm E.B. Meyers & Chandler, Law Publishers. He remained in Chicago as a publisher until June, 1868, when he returned to Boston.
While living in Chicago, he was a regular correspondent of the Boston Daily Advertiser, in which paper his family had an interest for many years. After leaving college he wrote, more or less continuously, for the daily and weekly press and for magazines.
He also wrote for many years for the Boston Evening Transcript, over the signature of “Orac.” During the years 1884 and 1885 he edited and published Every Other Saturday, A Journal of Select Reading. During the years 1891-96 he compiled an anthology entitled The Lover’s Year-Book of Poetry. This was in six volumes, three series of two volumes each, published by Roberts Brothers of Boston.
In the summer of 1883, during an extended tour in the north of Europe as far as Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia, he wrote a series of letters that appeared in the Boston Daily Advertiser.
Horace and Grace Webster Mitchell were married on August 15, 1865, at East Bridgewater. She was the daughter of James Henry and Lavinia Hathaway (Angier) Mitchell and granddaughter of Judge Nahum Mitchell, the historian of Bridgewater, Mass. Grace died January 27, 1915.
About a month after obtaining his passport, Horace sailed for England on July 28, 1868. He remained abroad until November of the same year.
Friend of all seamen
From 1875 he was corresponding secretary of the Boston Port and Seamen’s Aid Society (Father Taylor’s Home), 11 North Square, Boston. Starting in 1899 he edited the Mariner’s Advocate, the Seaman’s Aid Society’s publication.
On January 1, 1869, he opened a real estate and mortgage broker’s office at 4 Pemberton Square, Boston. In 1873 the office was moved to 15 Devonshire Street and he continued there until 1916.
Jamaica Plain resident
Horace established his residence at 93 Forest Hills Street, Jamaica Plain, in 1869 and lived there until his death in 1919. The house presently at that location was built in 1940.
He was a member of the Boston Art Club, the Boston Athletic Association and the Boston City Club. He was a Republican in politics and Swedenborgian in religion.
The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) has an archive of 51 photographs taken and collected by Horace P. Chandler. Subjects include interior views of houses, some views of the Western U.S, and Native Americans and unidentified commercial portraits of family and friends.
Additional MHS archival materials include business and personal correspondence, receipts, maps, transactions between Horace Parker Chandler and his father, Peleg Whitman Chandler and their interest in Swedenborgianism and its first church in Boston, The Church of New Jerusalem.
Many additional Chandler photographs are located in the Historic New England archives in Boston. Many pictures, thought to be Jamaica Plain locales, are unidentified and Historic New England seeks any clues to the people or buildings in their photos, including those shown here.
The photo of the house at Sigourney Street and Glen Road was owned by Mrs. George Wheelwright and had been built by her son, the noted architect, Edmund M. Wheelwright, one of New England’s most important architects. He designed many important Boston landmarks including Jordan Hall, Margaret Fuller School in Jamaica Plain, Longfellow Bridge, Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Horticultural Hall and many others.
Horace died in Jamaica Plain, June 7, 1919. Five children survived him: Cleaveland Angier Chandler of Brookline, Mass., Grace and Ellen Chandler of Jamaica Plain. James Mitchell Chandler of Philadelphia, PA., and Peleg Whitman Chandler of Brookline. Another son, Whitman Mitchell Chandler, died before his father.
He was interred, age 76, on June 10, 1919, in Section 16, Lot 1153, on Magnolia Avenue at Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain. Waterman and Sons handled the funeral arrangements.
Compiled January, 2016:
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, pp liv-lv
The Harvard Graduates Magazine, Volume 28, pp 130-131
The Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Volume 21, pp 768
Boston City Directories, various years
ArchiveGrid (a catalog of over 1000 archival record sources)
Historic New England
Forest Hills Cemetery
Special thanks to:
Heather Sanders, Office Manager, Forest Hills Cemetery
Jeanne Gamble, Library & Archives Specialist, Historic New England
Additional Chandler family material may be found at:
Harvard University Archives
Pennsylvania State University Library
University of Virginia; Social Network and Archival Context (SNAC)
University of California; Berkeley
Boston Public Library
Library of Congress
Folger Shakespeare Library
Maine Historical Society
Massachusetts Historical Society
Historic New England
Peabody Essex Museum
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center