J. Smeaton Chase
J. Smeaton Chase (April 8, 1864 – March 29, 1923) was an English–American author and photographer.
Joseph Smeaton Chase has become an integral part of California literature: revered for his poignant descriptions of California landscapes. An Englishman who toured the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains in 1915 with his burro, Mesquit, Chase published poetic diary entries detailing his escapades through the Sierra Nevada mountains and California desert.
Chase was born in Islington, a neighbourhood in the London Borough of Islington, in April 1864. He arrived in Southern California in 1890, although information surrounding his motive for doing so is sparse. It is known however, that he lived on a mountainside and managed to obtain a job tutoring a wealthy rancher’s children in the San Gabriel Valley. Chase was drawn to the plants, animals, and Spanish speaking individuals who resided in California. Subsequently, in 1910 he took a trip with local painter Carl Eytel, traveling on horseback from Los Angeles to Laguna and then down to San Diego. Chase journeyed through the uncouth California land and detailed his escapades in his book California Desert Trails. He was passionate that the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains be preserved as a national park. Chase appeals to readers who appreciate the unspoiled west and California history.
Chase died March 29, 1923 in Banning, California, after several years of poor health. His wife (Isabel, née White, April 18, 1876 – September 30, 1962) continued to live in Palm Springs. They are buried in a graveyard at the foot of Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs. Also his name is engraved at his parents' (Samuel and Jane) headstone in the St. Mary the Virgin Cemetery, London Borough of Bexley, England.
- By year first published:
- Cone-bearing Trees of the California Mountains. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co. 1911. p. 99. ASIN B00086JHFA. LCCN 11004975. OCLC 3477527. With illustrations by Carl Eytel
- Yosemite Trails: Camp and Pack-train in the Yosemite Region of the Sierra Nevada. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1911. p. 354. OCLC 34014279. With illustrations from Chase's photographs – details his route through in the strikingly beautiful Sierra Nevada. He captures the land and the people with such vibrancy that the reader is absorbed by his depictions of majestic California landscapes.
- Hotchkiss, C. W. (1911). "Review of Yosemite Trails". Bulletin of the American Geographical Society (New York City: American Geographical Society) 43 (12): 923. ISSN 0190-5929. JSTOR 200470. OCLC 484246639. "...Chase writes with a buoyant intensity of appreciation and an exuberant imagination that cannot fail to strike fire from the duller sensibilities of the best of us."
- "Review of Yosemite Trails". The Geographical Journal (Royal Geographic Society) 41 (1): 59–60. January 1913. ISSN 0016-7398. JSTOR 1778492. OCLC 482131286.
- Yosemite Trails: Camp and Pack-train in the Yosemite Region of the Sierra Nevada. Palo Alto, California: Tioga Pub. Co. 1987. p. 354. ISBN 0-935382-58-5. LCCN 87040052. (with introduction to this edition and updated plant list by Carl Sharsmith)
- California Coast Trails: a Horseback Ride from Mexico to Oregon. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1913. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-116-31566-0. OCLC 49876561. LCC F866 .C48 In 1911, Chase journeyed 2,000 miles on horseback from Mexico to Oregon and intimately recorded his experiences along the way. In his journals, Chase poetically provides a glimpse of California’s towns and wilderness as they appeared at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Churchill, William (1913). "Review of California Coast Trails". Bulletin of the American Geographical Society (New York City: American Geographical Society) 45 (12): 932. ISSN 0190-5929. JSTOR 200285. OCLC 484276219. "He who would best see the best of California must do so as did this author, mount a sturdy horse and follow the trails across mountain passes and through the valleys."
- California Coast Trails: a Horseback Ride from Mexico to Oregon. Palo Alto, California: Tioga Pub. Co. 1987. p. 326. ISBN 0-935382-59-3. LCCN 87040051. (with introduction to this edition by John McKinney; updated plant list by Mabel Crittenden)
- The Penance of Magdalena: And Other Tales of the California Missions. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1915. OCLC 6508078. ISBN 1-112-14933-3
- California Desert Trails. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1919. p. 387. OCLC 2991395. With illustrations from Chase's photographs. Available at: Google Books: California Coast Trails
- Our Araby: Palm Springs and the Garden of the Sun. Pasadena: Star–News Publishing Co. 1920 (republished 1987 by the Palm Springs Public Library). p. 83. ISBN 0-9618724-0-3. LCCN 24010428. OCLC 6169840. (Electronic copy) One of the first travel books of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Describes the animals, plants, and Native Americans that resided in Palm Springs before it was transformed into a posh resort town.
- "Cropping Animals' Ears". Folklore (London: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.) 17 (1): 72–73. March 25, 1906. ISSN 0015-587X. JSTOR 1254193. OCLC 479879892.
- Saunders, Charles Francis; Chase, J. Smeaton (1915). California Padres and Their Missions. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 417. LCCN 15007137. OCLC 479631. (Available as pdf file from the HathiTrust Digital Library)
- Wax, Marvin (1974). Mystique of the Missions; Photographic Impressions by Marvin Wax. Descriptive Passages by Charles Francis Saunders and J. Smeaton Chase, selected from The California Padres and Their Missions, published in 1915. An Images of America Series Book. Palo Alto, California: American West. ISBN 0-910118-53-1. LCCN 74077396. OCLC 1054455.
- Van Dyke, John Charles; Chase, J. Smeaton (photographs) (1918). The Desert: Further Studies in Natural Appearances. New York City: C. Scribner's Sons. p. 233. ASIN B00521GNDK. LCCN 18004124. OCLC 1841296. (Available as a pdf file from the HathiTrust Digital Library)
- "Author and Artist Seek Material for Booklet". Los Angeles Herald 37 (337): 14. September 3, 1910. "Chase will issue a more pretentious work on conifers in the spring...."
- California Coast Trails by J. Smeaton Chase at www.ventanawild.org
- Find a Grave: Bexley, St Mary's Church Cemetery
- Wild, Peter (2005). J. Smeaton Chase. Johannesburg, California: The Shady Myrick Research Project. p. 179. OCLC 62232191.
- Kurut, Gary F. (2009), "Carl Eytel: Southern California Desert Artist", California State Library Foundation, Bulletin No. 95, pp. 17–20 retrieved November 13, 2011
Further reading 
- "Lasting Impression – J. Smeaton Chase: In 1920 J. Smeaton Chase likened the Coachella Valley’s appeal to that of Arabia in his day". Palm Springs Life. Art + Culture (Desert Publications, Inc.). Winter–Spring 2011.
- Graalfs, Gregory (Autumn 2010). "J. Smeaton Chase: Early California Bookmaker and Bibliophile". Parenthesis (Fine Press Book Association) 19: 18–21. ISSN 1462-9895. OCLC 39610960.
- Jaeger, Edmund C. (March 1952). "I Well Remember J. Smeaton Chase". Palm Springs Villager 6 (8): 54–56, 58.
- James, Harry Clebourne (1960 (reprinted 1968)). The Cahuilla Indians. Morongo Indian Reservation: Malki Museum Press (Westernlore Press). ASIN B0007HDH7E. LCCN 60010491. OCLC 254156323. ASIN B0007EJ4OM – cites Chase and includes his photograph Sunset Time of Rosa and Marcos Belardo of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
- Kleinschmidt, Janice (August 2007). "Cabins of the Brotherhood: Author Peter Wild delves into the Spartan lives of Palm Springs’ early desert rats". Palm Springs Life (Palm Springs: Desert Publications). Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Wattawa, Gayle; Straight, Susan (Introduction) (2006). Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire. Santa Clara, California: Santa Clara University. p. 433. ISBN 978-1-59714-037-9.
- Wild, Peter (1999). Desert Literature: The Middle Period. J. Smeaton Chase, Edna Brush Perkins, and Edwin Corle. Western Writers Series #138. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University. ASIN 1597140376. ISBN 978-0-88430-137-0. OCLC 42076940.
- Wild, Peter (1999). The Opal Desert: Explorations of Fantasy and Reality in the American Southwest. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. p. 219. ISBN 0-292-79128-3. LCCN 99006113. OCLC 40762502.
- Wild, Peter (2007). News from Palm Springs: The Letters of Carl Eytel, Edmund C. Jaeger, J. Smeaton Chase, Charles Francis Saunders, and Others of the Creative Brotherhood and Its Background. Volumes I and II. Johannesburg, California: The Shady Myrick Research Project.
- Wild, Peter (2007). Tipping the Dream: A Brief History of Palm Springs. Johannesburg, California: The Shady Myrick Research Project. p. 228. ASIN B0016L57HS. OCLC 152590848.
- Taquitz Canyon, Palm Springs, of which Chase wrote
- 5 short radio segments based on Chase's writing at California Legacy Project
- "J Smeaton Chase". Find a Grave. September 22, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2011.