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Eliza Coale Funk papers

Identifier: MS 3065


The Eliza Coale Funk Papers span more than 200 years of Maryland history, from roughly 1758 until 2004 and focus on the Chase, Coale, and Funk families.


  • 1758-2004


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

Eliza Coale Funk (born 1905 October 2), a native of Baltimore, was the daughter of Harry Hughes and Eliza Chase Coale. Eliza, through her mother's line, was a direct descendent of Chief Justice Samuel Chase (d. 1811), signer of the Declaration of Independence, active official in Maryland's early government and court, and most famous for his impeachment trial (1804-5). Given her family background, Eliza developed a life-long interest in early American and Maryland history. She was an active member of several historical associations including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Maryland Colonial Dames, the St. Paul Cemetery Restoration Project, and the Maryland Historical Society. She also volunteered at the historic Mount Clare and Dumbarton homes as a docent. Eliza was an advocate for the promotion of English as the national language, and was an active member in English First. While she traveled extensively, Eliza was a life-long resident of Baltimore and died there on October 5, 2004.


2.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Eliza Coale Funk Papers consist of four major series: I) Samuel Chase Impeachment Documents; II) Chase/Coale Family Correspondence & Papers; III) Eliza Coale Funk: Activities & Organizations; divided into two subseries, 1) Colonial Dames, and 2) Other Activities & Organizations and IV) Eliza Coale Funk: Family Papers. The papers in this collection range from 1758-2004.

Due to the variety of materials, the lack of order in which they arrived, and the large number of creators, each series is arranged by subject (e.g. Samuel Chase Coale Divorce Papers) and chronologically.

Series I: Samuel Chase Impeachment Documents, 1804-1805 (Box 1, 6 folders)

This series includes several items pertinent to the impeachment trial of Justice Chase, including a letter from a friend in England concerned for Ann Chase during that period, a copy of Samuel Chase's remarks on the topic of his impeachment, and two editorials written nearly three decades later by the "Friends of Samuel Chase." It also contains a Chase book plate.

Series II: Chase/Coale Family Correspondence & Papers, 1758-2004 (Boxes 2-3, 25 folders)

This series contains a number of letters belonging to various family members, such as Elizabeth Dugan Coale, daughter of Chief Justice and Hannah Chase, Elizabeth's son Samuel Chase Coale, and her daughter, Eliza M. Jackson. Samuel Chase Coale's letters (written from 1845-1854, the bulk from 1850-1852) concerning his divorce from his first wife, Sarah English Coale, chart the course of their separation, but also offer valuable information about the daily life of a woman of means circa 1850, and snippets of the emotional state of a mid-nineteenth century gentleman going through the scandal of divorce. This series is particularly strong for genealogical material. In a genealogical fragment written by Samuel Chase Coale, for example, there is a note that explains why half of it is missing—it was torn off to conceal the birth date of his nephew, Skipwith H. Coale, son of Samuel's brother Isaac (Harford County), to spare him from the draft during the Civil War. In addition to the letters, which comprise the bulk of the series, there are literary pieces, legal documents, and a few materials that provide a window into everyday life, such as recipes, pamphlets, and sections of almanacs.

Series III: Eliza Coale Funk: Activities & Organizations, 1963-2001 (Box 4-5, 19 folders)

This series highlights many of the groups with which Ms. Funk was associated.

Subseries 1: Colonial Dames, 1972-2001 (Box 5, 10 folders)

This subseries represents Eliza Coale Funk's significant participation in the Colonial Dames, Maryland Chapter. It contains several directories (1972, 1986, 1992-3, 1995), bulletins, newspaper clippings concerned with their activities, and nearly fifteen years of the "Clarion," the organization's newsletter.

Subseries 2: Other Activities & Organizations, 1963-2001 (Box 4, 9 Folders)

This subseries contains a variety of items associated with the many organizations with which Ms. Funk was involved. In addition to documents pertaining to docent activities at historic homes like Mount Claire and Dumbarton House, there are papers for the Peale Museum, the Sons of the American Revolution, English First, the St. Paul Cemetery Restoration Project, the Baltimore Country Club, and the Bryn Mawr School, from which Ms. Funk graduated in 1924.

Series IV: Eliza Coale Funk: Family Papers, 1904-2004 (Boxes 6-7, 20 folders)

This series contains papers belonging to Eliza Coale Funk and her parents, Harry H. and Eliza C. Funk. Her personal effects contain a travel diary, a number of postcards, and important family documents, everything from wills to her father's financial records concerned with the Bruce, Co. whiskey distillery.

Container List

The container list provides box and folder numbers primarily, but also includes additional, more specific information to delineate the more complex series within the collection. Each series title is underlined, folder names are in normal print, and individual items, when listed, are denoted by a double hyphen and italics.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Estate of Eliza Coale Funk, 2004.

Related Materials

G5061 The Isaac Coale Collection

Micro 3562 Samuel Chase papers [microform] 1766-1804.

MS 248 Coale Collection

Scope and Contents

The Eliza Coale Funk Papers represent more than 200 years of Maryland history, from roughly 1758 until 2004. This eclectic collection contains letters, legal papers, literary projects, recipes, organizational documents (such as brochures, directories, and newsletters), and associated photographs and ephemera, most of which belonged to the Chase, Coale, and Funk families. Arranged generally into series by family, the collection is also specifically arranged by chronology, with subseries by subject and/or type of document. The last consideration, by type, was necessary given the great variety of materials Ms. Funk bequeathed to the society.

The majority of the material concerns the Coale family, and in particular, Samuel Chase Coale (b. 1818), a native of Harford County and, through his mother Elizabeth Chase Dugan, a descendent of Justice Samuel Chase, an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court (1796-1811). His relationship to a signer of the Declaration of Independence fortuitously meant inheriting papers connected not only to the Chase family, but also concerning the famous impeachment trial of Samuel Chase (1804-5).

While some of the material dates from the last half of the eighteenth century, the bulk of the collection spans the years 1815-1879, years associated with the life, activities, and relations of Samuel Chase Coale, and from 1960-2004, when the donor, Eliza Coale Funk, was most active in various organizations. The Chase and Coale family letters are valuable sources of social, family, and nineteenth century history. Thanks to Eliza Coale Funk's participation in various historical organizations, the collection also contains a wealth of information-- newsletters, directories, and bulletins--about the activities of groups like the Sons of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames.

As rich as the collection is, there are significant gaps, some of which are mitigated by causal remarks in several documents. The bulk of the material deals with the decades prior to and after the Civil War, but there are few documents specifically related to that conflict. The Samuel Chase Coale divorce documents only include two letters to his wife, so the collection reveals little of Chase's side of the story or his responses to her letters. As regards the Samuel Chase impeachment material, probably the most significant set of items within the collection, the lack of provenance for the editorials to "The American" and especially for the "Remarks" of Samuel Chase will challenge the researcher interested in this important case. Despite these historical and personal lacunae, the collection is a goldmine of Maryland history, genealogy, the culture of correspondence, and the story of early Marylanders like the Coale and Chase families.

Guide to the Eliza Coale Funk papers
Under Revision
Jim Tschen Emmons
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-26: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States