Edna Woolman Chase

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Edna Woolman Chase
Edna Woolman Chase, editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1931
Edna Woolman Alloway

(1877-03-14)March 14, 1877
Asbury Park, New Jersey
DiedMarch 20, 1957(1957-03-20) (aged 80)
Sarasota, Florida
TitleEditor-in-chief of Vogue
PredecessorMarie Harrison
SuccessorJessica Daves
Francis Dane Chase
(m. 1902, divorced)

Edna Woolman Chase (née Allaway, March 14, 1877 — March 21, 1957)[1] was an American who served as editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine from 1914 to 1952.

Early life[edit]

She was born on March 14, 1877 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She was a daughter of Franklyn Allaway and Laura Woolman.[2]

After her parents divorced, she was raised by her Quaker grandparents, who lived in New York with her stepfather. As a teenager, She moved in with her mother in New York.

In 1902, she married to Francis Dane Chase, who is a merchant, then dry goods salesman, and then manager of Hotel Colonial in New York, and they had a daughter and actress, Ilka Chase. Her husband had trouble supporting his family, and eventually she divorced him.[2] Then later, she married to her second husband, and engineer Richard Newton.

Publishing career[edit]

Chase's first position at Vogue was working in the mail room. She eventually came to the attention of Arthur Turnure, founding editor of the magazine, who was responsible for her ascent up the corporate ladder. He made her a consultant regarding the direction of the magazine, eventually giving Chase control over the magazine's layout.[2][page needed]

During this time, Turnure died and the magazine was in danger of closing. Chase went on the road to persuade people to keep reading the magazine. Condé Montrose Nast took over Vogue in 1909,[citation needed] and after evaluating Chase's contributions to Vogue, he continued his predecessor's sponsorship of her continued prominence in the Vogue magazine employment hierarchy.[2][page needed] Chase became managing editor in 1911 which gave her complete control. By 1914, she was named editor-in-chief.

One major contribution to fashion Chase made the same year she was named editor-in-chief was putting on the first fashion show. As a result of World War I, clothing makers closed their rooms in Paris. Since most of the clothes featured in Vogue were from Paris, Chase took matters into her own hands and called dressmakers in New York and had them make clothing to be featured in a show. This prompted other manufacturers to start making clothes in the United States and selling them at moderate prices.[3]

Another major contribution she made to fashion was the Fashion Group International. In 1928 Chase brought together 17 women with high status in the fashion world. The Fashion Group International (formed then but not an official organization until 1930) publicized American fashion and the role of women in the industry. The Fashion Group International is still in business today.[4]

Retirement and autobiography[edit]

Chase retired as editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1952.[2][page needed] She then took on chairmanship of the editorial board.[2][page needed] She wrote her autobiography, Always in Vogue in 1954 with her daughter.


Chase died of heart attack while on her vacation in Sarasota, Florida on March 21, 1957, at the age of 80.[2]



  1. ^ "Edna Woolman Chase Dies at 80; Retired Vogue Magazine Editor; Fashion Leader for Many Years Wrote Autobiography in '54 — Mother of Ilka Chase Name Known to Public. Wrote on Good Taste". The New York Times. 21 March 1957. Retrieved 25 August 2019.(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Chase, Edna Woolman; Chase, Ilka (1954). Always in Vogue. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. OCLC 819846720.
  3. ^ Judy R. Hynes, "Famous Cousins", Woolman Central, [1] (accessed October 14, 2006)
  4. ^ The Fashion Group International, "Fashion Group History", 2006, [2] (accessed October 2006)
  5. ^ a b Judy R. Hynes, "Famous Cousins", Woolman Central, (accessed October 14, 2006)
Media offices
Preceded by
Marie Harrison
Editor of American Vogue
Succeeded by
Jessica Daves

Further reading[edit]

  • Current Biography Yearkbook: 1940. New York: H.W. Wilson. 1940.