Letter from Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr. (January 9, 1934)


Dublin Core


Letter from Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr. (January 9, 1934)

Alternative Title

Chase Correspondence (January 9, 1934)


Chase, Sydney Octavius, 1860-1941
Chase, Joshua Coffin, 1858-1948
Citrus fruit industry--Florida
Mowry, Harold
Camp, A. F. (Arthur Forrest), 1896-
Organic fertilizer
Zinc sulphate
Chase and Company (Sanford, Fla.)
Gainesville (Fla.)
Jacksonville (Fla.)


An original letter of correspondence from Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr. A portion of the letter discusses Harold Mowry and Arthur Forrest Camp's experiments using zinc sulphate on soil to help absorb fertilizers. In 1934, Mowry and Camp wrote a detailed report on their findings called, A Preliminary Report of Zinc Sulphate as a Corrective for Bronzing of Tung Trees. Other topics discussed in the letter include issues surrounding packaging and shipments in the Florida citrus industry and innovative cooling systems used to ship fruits and vegetables out of Jacksonville.

Chase & Company was established in 1884 by brothers Sydney Octavius Chase and Joshua Coffin Chase. 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. 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.


Chase, Randall


Original letter from Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr., January 9, 1934: Chase Collection (MS 14), box 3, folder 13.48, 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 Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr., January 9, 1934.

Is Part Of

Chase Collection (MS 14), box 3, folder 13.48, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
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.




1,388 KB


5-page typewritten letter






Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Washington, D.C.
New York

Accrual Method



History 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


Marra, Katherine

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Mowry, Harold and Arthur Forrest Camp. A Preliminary Report on Zinc Sulphate as a Corrective for Bronzing of Tung Trees. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, 1934.
"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.
Hopkins, James T. Fifty Years of Citrus, the Florida Citrus Exchange: 1909-1959. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press: 1960.
Warner, S.C. "Development of Marketing Citrus Fruits in Florida." Florida State Horticultural Society vol. 36 (1923): 198-200.


January 9,
Mr. J. C.Chase,
Mr. S. O. Chase,
Mr. W. A. Leffler,
Mr. S. 0. Chase, Jr.

Saturday Monsalvatee and I left Sanford and motored to Gainesville, where we had a conference with Mr. Harold Mowry and Doctor Camp. Both of these gentlemen have been carrying on fertilizer experiments. Mr. Mowry curried on a number of experiments until about six months ago, when his
work was taken over by Doctor Camp. We spent about two hours
with them Saturday afternoon, discussing the various problems that are confronting; the citrus sacs vegetable growers with re-spect to fertilizers.

It is the general opinion that the excessive dry weather in the past two years has not made available a great deal of the organic fertilizer, furthermore that the dry, hot, weather his[sic] killed a good deal of the bacteria in the soil, which assists in making available the organic material. When the organic material decreases, or disappears the soils are apt to become acid. The problem now is to sweeten the soils so as to make a favorable condition for the development of bacteria, which will in turn release some of the organic material that has accumulated over several years.

Applications of zinc appear to be very conductive to the development of bacteria, thereby releasing fertilizer in the soil and bettering the condition of the pint or tree. They have experimented on trees with doses from l/4#, up to 20# per tree. They have gotten just as good results from the l# applications as they did with anything above that. In one instance where they put an excessive application on a nursery tree, followed by a heavy rain, they are of the opinion that a little burning took place; however with that one exception they have detected no detrimental results from an over-dose of zinc sulfate..

They have found that chicken manure is especially beneficial to soils that may be acid, or where bacteria is lacking. The chicken compost contains a considerable quantity of zinc. There are some large poultry operators near Callahan, Florida, where chicken compost can be obtained in car lots. Mr. Mowry promised to send me the names of some of the places
it could be obtained. Another way of sweetening the soil, and
helping reestablish the bacteria is a moderate application of lime. These gentlemen did not suggest that, but they said they could see no harm in it, providing the dose was moderate and not excessive. On citrus trees of a bearing age they suggest 4 to 6 pounds.

For a complete fertilizer on Tung trees they have noted the beet results from a 4-8-5 mixture, one-half of the Ammonia to us from organics such as cotton seed Meal, Castor Pomace, Tankage, etc. The other half of the Ammonia to be derived from Nitrate of Soda, or possibly a little. Sulphate of Ammonia; the Potash to come from either Muriate or Sulphate, they have not been able to detect any difference in these potashes. They made the suggestion that tobacco stems might be a very good ingredient to put into the mixture.

Just before dark they took out to the experimental farm, where they had numerous check rows of Satsumas and Tung trees some of which had been treated with zinc and other not treated. Without exception the zinc treated trees were far superior to the non-treated.

After supper from Gainesville I took Monsalvatge to Lake City, where he spent the night with his sister. I continued on to Jacksonville in order to see Mr. Rhodes the first thing Sunday morning. I met Mr. Rhodes in his office about nine o'clock, and spend over and a half with him, giving him the data about the price of citrus and vegetable containers, and their effect on the farmers and the industries in general. Mr. Rhodes requested that we ask the American Fruit Growers, Sanford-Oviedo Truck Grower, Manatee Truck Growers, and perhaps one or two on the east coast to wire him at Washington, Harrington Hotel, authorizing him to represent their interests at the meeting in Washington, which is to start today. I attended to this yesterday, end everyone I have requested to said they would wire Mr. Rhodes accordingly. Some of the principal points he intended to make are:

(1) That high prices of crate materials will curtail the consumption of creates, and thereby increase unemployment in the crate mill territory.
(2) It will tend to increase the shipments of bulk fruit and vegetables, thereby creating disorderly marketing, and defeating the purposes of the various marketing agreement is pro¬mulgated under the AAA.
(3) Under the NRA, end various other recovery act every single item of expense that constitutes the cost of producing and marketing has been increased, without a single assurance of increased prices for the products, and that the greatest increase of all these items was crate material, which in some instances has doubled in price. He intends to call attention to the
fact that California is supposed to have had an increase of approximately 14% in the cost of their citrus boxes. He expects to state that the Florida industries would not have objected to a reasonable increase, but they do feel that 100% is entirely out of reason.
(4) He expects to call attention to the fact that under the, AAA and various marketing agreements as set forth they expect to restore the purchasing power of agriculture to the basis it was in the period 1903 to 1914, but that the tremendous increase in costs makes that impossible, even though prices of agricultural products in some instances have advanced a little. We have given them comparative prices on citrus for 1932 thru December wl, with those of 1933 thru December 31. According to the Clearing House the market price for that period in 1932 was:

Oranges $2.85
Grapefruit 2.80
Tangerines 2.75

For that perios[sic] in 1933:
Oranges $ 2.38
Grapefruit 2.83
Tangerines 2.37.

The slight increase in the market price on grapefruit does not begin to offset the increase in the cost of the crate material alone.

Mr. Rhodes seemed very much pleased that he had been requested to go, and I think will do his very best to prevent the matter at the hearing. He had a great deal of data that he was taking with him, and intended to work up sort of a brief to present at the hearing.

After leaving Mr. Rhodes office I went out and spent several hours at the Refrigerated Steamship Line's new precooling plant at the Municipal Dock & Terminals. Mr. J. W. Lees, General Manager, took us all over the place. I also met Mr. T. J. Davis, Superintendent of Terminal Operations for the United Fruit Company, who came in on the SS “ATENAS” from New York arriving Sunday morning. He was making a special trip down to inspect the Jacksonville plant and the various operations. I also met a Mr. McKinnon, who is their Refrigeration Engineer. He has been with the United Fruit Company for ten or twelve years, and has redesigned some of their cooling systems for steamers to better refrigerate the cargo. I met a Mr. Spitzer, who is Superintendent of the Stevedores. Mr. Williams, Vice President of the York Manufacturing Company was there, whom we also met. While I was at the plant Sunday warning they turned on the cool air for the first time. They undoubtedly have the most up to date cooling system that can be had. They have the reversible type, so the air is first blown in from the bottom and out thru the top, them in from the top and out thru the bottom. This gives a very thoro[sic] cooling job. They have automatic control of the humidity, so there will not be any danger of drying out the fruit thru the precooling operations, nor after the fruit is held in storage for any length of time. They have canopies with which the fruit will be covered end enclosed when it moves from the precooling rooms into the ship. About thirty-six hours before the ship gets into Jacksonville they start the refrigerating machinery, and reduce the temperature of the, storage space to approximately 36 degrees.

They have experimented on the various types conveyors, and the many different methods and systems of handling the fruit so it can be done quickly; and the least possible chance of injury to the package or fruit itself. Their Research Department in New York is now investigating citrus fruit, and will no doubt develop some very useful and valuable information. They expect to have some statements to make about Brogdexing in the near future.

Mr. Lees said that his Company would precool the fruit for 10 cents per box, and hold it for 10 days before shipping out. By the payment of another 10 cents per box they would hold it for 15 or 20 days more. I asked him how the
storage space would be allotted, and he replied that the first come was first served. If we have any fruit that has to be moved on account of deterioration we better get it off quick and send it to the Refrigerated precooler as soon as they are ready to receive it, then feed it out gradually as the market can take it.

Mr. Lees, Mr. McKinnon, end Mr. Williams expect to make a trip to Sanford Tuesday to look into the possibility of precooling and handling celery. They are very anxious to see our Beardall plant. It has been suggested that the Refrigerated put in a celery precooling unit nom whet similar to ours, so as the celery is trucked to Jacksonville it can be put into the precooling unit and from there direct into the hold of a ship, under low temperature and high humidity. Celery handled in this way should carry thru in perfect shape. Mr. Lees took lea over the steamer that had just come in. The whole ship was spotlessly clean, even down in the hold where the fruit is stores.

We also went by the Clyde pier, and saw their loading and precooling operations. The York people furnished the refrigeration machinery to the Clyde, however account of lack of room and storage facilities I do not believe they are physically equipped to do as good a precooling job as the Refrigerated . The Clyde Line loads the fruit to be precooled onto insulated barges. They tow these alongside of the pier there the refrigerating machinery is installed, and cold air is blown into the barges. They inject the air in underneath the floor, and also take it out underneath the floor. This could seem to me to leave hot air on the top of the barges, and the fruit at top of the barge would be precooled only thru equalization of the temperature, rather than by forcing the cold air over. The Clyde Line are handling tie Loading and unloading operations in a very fine manner. Luring the past several years when they have been handling fruit they have systematized the loading operations, which are done quietly had with a minimum of damage to the box or the fruit. They handle it very, very, carefully indeed, and deserve a great deal of credit for developing, such a careful way of handling it. One thing that impressed Me was that when the Clyde Line has fruit that is not precooled they stack it in the ships with
space between, so that air can circulate. Mr. Lees told me that When the Refrigerating line had fruit that were not precooled they stacked it just as close as when it was precooled. The refrigeration stetted, of course, as soon as each hatch was loaded. The engineer told me that on the steamer that was there Sunday, the SS “ATENAS”, non-precooled fruit was reduced to a temperature of about 48 degrees by the time it reached New York.

Briefly my impressions of the Clyde and Refrigerated plants are that the Clyde Line is doing everything they possibly can with the facilities at their command to handle the fruit properly. They can take care of truck deliveries pretty well, also deliveries from the rider boat, but their track facilities are quite Limited, and if the railroads should reduce the rate on fruit to Jacksonville for water transportation the Clyde Line might have difficulty in handling a volume of fruit by rail; also that the precooling done by the Clyde Line was not as good as the precooling by the Refrigerated. The Refrigerate is pre pared to handle fruit either by the rivers, by truck, or by rail. They could probably handle the entire output by any one of the above three methods.

Yours very truly,


Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

5-page typewritten letter



Chase, Randall, “Letter from Randall Chase to Joshua Coffin Chase, Sydney Octavius Chase, Sr., William A. Leffler, and Sydney Octavius Chase, Jr. (January 9, 1934),” RICHES, accessed July 25, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/671.