Scope and Contents note
The Harold J. Chance papers is divided into the following seven series: “Biographical Material;” “Correspondence;” “Collected Lecture Notes of Howard Haines Brinton;” “Friends Peace Service: American Friends Service Committee;” “Writings and Lectures by Harold Chance;” “Journal Entries;” and “Collected Material.” The collection is comprised largely of documents, such as loose journal pages (both typed and handwritten), correspondence, newsletters, notes, and reports.
The first series, “Biographical Material,” contains biographical sketches regarding Chance, and timelines and accounts of his life and work. Before beginning a review of this collection, researchers may wish to consult this series first.
The second series in the collection is “Correspondence.” “Correspondence” is divided into two subseries: “Chronological,” and “Friends Peace Service: American Friends Service Committee mailings.” “Chronological” contains correspondence from 1938 to 1963, organized by the individual year, as well as undated letters. Within “Friends Peace Service: American Friends Service Committee mailings,” researchers will find Friends Peace Service mailings from 1944 to 1962. Of particular interest in this subseries is correspondence regarding Mary Champney, as well as correspondence concerning Friends Peace Service reaction of Quaker G.I.’s to military service.
The “Collected Lecture Notes of Howard Haines Brinton” series contains selected lecture notes spanning from Brinton’s time as a professor at Mills, Earlham, Guilford, Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges. These are arranged in alphabetical order based on the subject of the lecture. Also included in the series are several of Brinton’s speeches and articles, which may be found at the end of the series.
Chance’s work and efforts for Quakerism are represented in the series “Friends Peace Service: American Friends Service Committee.” This series contains material specifically pertaining to Friends Peace Service (FPS), such as its history, education material, projects, reports, and correspondence. Of note in this series, is the subseries “Denver and Texas Controversy.” The Texas material, includes letters, statements, and reports detailing the 1956 Texas Quakers Act, in which members of the Religious Society of Friends in Texas voted to disown the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The Denver Controversy, is represented through letters and reports from 1955 to 1956, in which the Denver Friends held unprogrammed meetings and made unauthorized statements using the “Friends” name.
The “Writings and Lectures by Harold Chance” series contains published magazine articles by Chance, as well as notes used for his books and lectures. They are arranged by title of the publication or lecture.
The series “Journal Entries,” consists of Chance’s loose journal pages, from 1938 to 1955, organized by the individual year. Also within the series are Chance’s journal entries entitled, “Maintaining a Great Tradition.”
The final series in the collection “Collected Material,” holds items Chance saved over his career. Included in this series are the following subseries: “The Church Peace Mission;” “Historical Association;” and “Poems, Quotes, and Biblical Verses.”
Researchers will find this collection is especially rich in Quaker history, specifically relating to the discussion of the use of the Quaker voice by individual Friends’ groups in the mid 1950s. For those studying Howard Haines Brinton, they will find Chance’s collection of Brinton’s lectures and notes from his career as a professor to be extremely concise and comprehensive.
Harold Chance was born in 1898 to John and Mabel Wood Chance of Hardin County, Iowa. Chance served in varying capacities for the American Friends Service Committee, beginning in 1932 as Secretary for the New England Institute of International Relations, eventually advancing to Director of the Friends Peace Service by 1942 (Biographical Sketch). He also served as a delegate to the Friends World Conference held in Oxford, England, in 1952.
Chance traveled throughout the United States lecturing and speaking on the Peace Movement. He authored several books including: Bases of a Spiritual Peace Ministry, 1944; A Report on Friends Intervisitation, 1944; For the Consideration of Friends: a Survey of the Society, 1945; Toward Fellowship with God and Man, 1948; and Tradition and Challenge: The Historic Peace Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends, 1952.
Chance also collected course and lecture notes by Howard Haines Brinton (1884-1973), a 1904 graduate of Haverford College and a professor of religion at Mills, Earlham, Guilford, Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges. Brinton worked with the American Friends Service Committee in Europe and Japan and was a director, with his wife Anna, of Pendle Hill from 1936-1950. In addition to his many other activities, Brinton served as the first editor of the Friends Bulletin.
Harold Chance died on November 25, 1975 in Lake Wales, Florida at the age of 76. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Wannitta Allee (whom he married in 1926), his son Norman, and daughter Carmen Mayer.
The Friends Journal 22 (April 1, 1976): 211.
“Harold Chance: Biographical Sketch” (Box 1).