Chasing Chance

USD $29.95



ISBN: 978-1-913875-74-9

456 pages

235 × 190 mm (7 ½ × 9 ¼ in)

100 colour illustrations

In association with the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI

September 2024


An enthralling study of a founding American dynasty –the Peirces and the Princes–in an interwoven story of family heritage that extends from the earliest settlements to the mid-20th century.

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From Pilgrims to Robber Barons, martyred witches to Confederate officers, artists to statesmen, founders of towns, states, and industries, from journalists to pirates, or pioneers to war heroes, each person in the narrative has an individual destiny and a distinct story. Yet each individual character occupies a place and a moment in the larger story of the United States, was shaped by and helped to shape that moment in time. Each person is linked to the others in a kind of golden braid of DNA and family heritage that extends from the earliest settlements to the present.

Chasing Chance is richly illustrated with ninety images, portraits, and photographs drawn from Prince family archives and museums and historical societies elsewhere. In addition, each chapter includes “mini-genealogies” which focus specifically on the characters in that chapter and their relationship to one another and the modern family.

Eileen Warburton is a New England writer and teacher. Among many published works on places and people, she is the author of the award-winning In Living Memory: A Chronicle of Newport Rhode Island, 1888-1988 (1988) and of the notable biography, John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds (2005).

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • I The Great Puritan Migration
    1 To Be a Pilgrim: The Old Comers of Plymouth Plantation and Salem
    2 1634: The Princes and the Peirces Come to America
    3 Colonial Ancestors in Rhode Island: Roger Williams, the Quaker Cousinage, and the Line to George H. Norman
  • II The Coastal Empire
    4 The Peirce-Nichols Family: The Shipmasters of Eighteenth-Century Salem
  • III Early Nineteenth Century Boston: America’s Cultural and Educational Capital
    5 Chester Harding: Art from America’s Frontier
    6 The Peirces of Cambridge, Massachusetts: Professor Benjamin Peirce, Sarah Hunt Mills, and the Charmed Circle of Function Grove
  • An Era Ends, An Era Begins