Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (November 26, 1921)


Dublin Core


Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (November 26, 1921)

Alternative Title

Chase Correspondence (November 26, 1921)


Windermere (Fla.)
Chase, Sydney Octavius, 1860-1941
Chase, Joshua Coffin, 1858-1948
Chase and Company (Sanford, Fla.)
Citrus fruit industry--Florida
Orange industry--Florida
Grapefruit industry


An original letter of correspondence between brothers and business partners Joshua Coffin Chase and Sydney Octavius Chase. Topics discussed in the letter include Sydney's reading report of his visit to Isleworth Grove with Mr. Barger of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, research in developing mature color on citrus fruit peels in Florida, coloring arrangements made at Belair by Chase & Company in the past, a proposition to include Barger on a guarantee and commission basis at Isleworth, the poor market sales of grapefruit, and the slow output of Isleworth Seedlings.

Chase & Company was established by brothers Sydney Octavius Chase and Joshua Coffin Chase in 1884. The company sold insurance and later invested in storage facilities and fertilizer sales. Chase & Company was known mainly for its agricultural interests and maintained a series of citrus groves throughout Central Florida. The company was based out of Sanford and became one of the city's largest employers into the early twentieth century. By 1886, the Chase brothers purchased several citrus groves to expand their business, including Isleworth Grove in Windermere, Florida. Isleworth Grove covered a total of 1,300 acres along the Butler Chain of Lakes. Between 1894 and 1895, Central Florida was hit by several freezes and most of the citrus crop was destroyed. Chase & Company did not grow citrus crops again until 1904 when Joshua came back from an extended stay in California. Between 1894 and 1900, different types of pesticide equipment was created, including equipment driven by steam, machines, and horses.Randall Chase joined in the family business soon after his brother, Sydney Chase, Jr., did in 1922. Randall became the president of Chase & Company from 1948-1965. The Isleworth property stayed in the Chase family until 1984 when Franklin Chase, the son of Sydney Chase, sold the property to famed golfer Arnold Palmer.


Chase, Joshua Coffin


Original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase, November 26, 1921: box 49, folder 20.84, Chase Collection (MS 14), Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase, November 26, 1921.

Is Part Of

Chase Collection (MS 14), box 49, folder 20.84, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Isleworth Collection, Citrus Collection, Chase Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

Folder referenced in Chase Collection finding guide, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/chase.htm.




415 KB


2-page typewritten letter






Isleworth Grove, Windermere, Florida
Belair Grove, Lake Mary, Florida
Potomac Yard, Alexandria, Virginia

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher
Economics Teacher
Geography Teacher


Entire Chase Collection is comprised of four separate accessions from various donors, including Cecilia Johnson, the granddaughter of Joshua Coffin Chase and the children of Randall Chase.

Rights Holder

The displayed collection item is housed at Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Rights to this item belong to the said institution, and therefore inquiries about the item should be directed there. RICHES of Central Florida has obtained permission from Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida to display this item for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Digital Collections (UFDC), University of Florida


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Warner, S.C. "Development of Marketing Citrus Fruits in Florida." Florida State Horticultural Society vol. 36 (1923): 198-200.
Hopkins, James T. Fifty Years of Citrus, the Florida Citrus Exchange: 1909-1959. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press: 1960.
"Joshua Coffin Chase (1858-1948)." Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Copyright 2012. http://floridacitrushalloffame.com/index.php/inductees/inductee-name/?ref_cID=89&bID=0&dd_asId=960.
"Sydney Chase Sr. (1860-1941)." Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Copyright 2012. http://floridacitrushalloffame.com/index.php/inductees/inductee-name/?ref_cID=89&bID=0&dd_asId=600.


Nov 26 1921

Mr. S. O. Chase,
Sanford, Florida.

Dear Syd:

We are much interested in reading report of your visit to Isleworth with Barger of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Some good results are bound to come from all of these experiments in developing mature color on the peel of Florida citrus fruit.

We have been at it probably longer than anyone else living in Florida. Our minds can go back to thettime when we had very crude coloring arrangements at Belair. It is not surprising that the lemons came out of that intense heat looking like cooked turnips. Since then we have had our experiences not only here but in California, and it is now resolving itself down to a scientific basis. With the use of gas and not heat, it is a safer proposition as far as Florida citrus fruits are concerned.

Glad to note that young Barger is a self made proposition. Wonder if he would be willing to take hold of Isleworth on some kind of a guarantee and commission basis. He now knows something about developing color, and if he would be willing to put himself under you on a practical growing basis, he might be worth any additional money we are obliged to pay. The time is coming when we will need just such a man in business and we do not want to miss a good proposition.

The market is away off on grapefruit. F.G.E. 29069 now at potomac Yards was a slow seller on the basis of $2,25 delivered, with 50ยข per box discount on off grades and sizes. Rather than take a slaughter price, instructed the Selling Department to divert to New York. If we are obliged to sell for less than our ideas of value, would prefer to take our medicine in the auction market.

The Selling Department is very much discouraged over the outlook for grapefruit, and there is a general

Mr. S. O. Chase -2-

closing down of grapefruit operations. We will endeavor to confine our grapefruit shipments to f.o.b. orders or prospects and also work the markets for orders for mixed cars of oranges and grapefruit.

Note with surprise that the Isleworth Seedlings are only picking four boxes of oranges per tree. This is the smallest average we have ever had.

Yours very truly,


Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

2-page typewritten letter


Chase, Joshua Coffin, “Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (November 26, 1921),” RICHES, accessed July 22, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/2738.