Young Hostess

Washington City, today better known as Washington DC, has had a social scene since Abigail Adams moved into the President’s House.

There have been many notable Washington hostesses since that time. Today I want to feature a young woman who set the standard for her time without living in the White House.

Kate Chase was the daughter of Salmon P. Chase. Her mother died when she was young. She attended boarding schools and developed a close relationship with her father. At the tender age of seventeen she assumed hostess duties for him, the newly elected governor of Ohio.

After a failed run for the presidential nomination in 1860, Mr. Chase accepted the position of Secretary of the Treasury from Abraham Lincoln. Kate performed the duties of his hostess well and set the standard for Washington in those years. After she married Senator William Sprague, late in 1863, she arranged for the couple to share the house and she continued hostess duties for both of the men in her life.

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This charming dress has been re-created from photographs of Kate Chase. I think it would be charming to wear to a luncheon or afternoon tea.

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