Brothers William D. Chase, a journalist and publisher from Michigan, and Harrison V. Chase, a university social scientist from Florida, founded Chase's Calendar of Events in 1957. From his years as a newspaper librarian, Bill Chase knew of the need for a single reference source for calendar dates, and for authoritative and current information about various observances throughout the year.
In the summer of 1957, the brothers decided to create such a reference themselves. That fall, they set to work collecting, compiling, verifying, editing and proofreading the events that would make up the first Chase's Calendar of Events. Everything but the printing was done from their homes. On Dec 4, 1957, the first edition (for the year 1958) was delivered by the printer -- 2,000 copies. It was 32 pages, contained 364 entries and sold for $1. (Today's editions are 752 pages and contain more than 12,000 entries.)
In 1958 the Chases were invited by the US Chamber of Commerce to incorporate Special Days, Weeks and Months, a pamphlet the Chamber published listing commercial promotions. The 1959 and all subsequent editions of Chase's have included “Special Days, Weeks and Months” as a subtitle.
In 1983, Contemporary Books in Chicago, Illinois, took over yearly publication of the reference from the Chase team (which now included Bill Chase's wife, Helen). In the fall of 1987 the Chases decided to retire from compiling the calendar, which is now handled by an in-house staff of editors and researchers.
In September 2000, Contemporary was acquired by the McGraw-Hill Companies. Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a global information service provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education, and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's and BusinessWeek. The corporation has more than 300 offices in 33 countries.
Chase's Calendar of Events today is the most comprehensive and authoritative reference available on special events, holidays, federal and state observances, historic anniversaries and more. Each spring, thousands of new entries are submitted to join the more than 12,000 items that make up each year's book. Each event listing (where applicable) contains contact and mailing information. There is no charge to be listed in Chase's. Each new edition appears in late September preceding the year in question.
Thousands of libraries across the country, broadcast and print media, senior center and activity directors, event planners, publicists, speakers, publishers, travel agents—and simply the curious—t rust Chase's to deliver interesting facts every day of the year.
Information about eclipses, equinoxes and solstices, moon phases and other astronomical phenomena is calculated from data prepared by the US Naval Observatory's Nautical Almanac Office and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office. (In Chase's, universal time has been converted to eastern time.)
Principal observances of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Baha'i faiths are presented with background information from their respective calendars. We include anticipated dates for Muslim holidays. When known, religious events of China, Japan and India are also listed. There is no single Hindu calendar and different sects define the Hindu lunar month differently. There is no single lunar calendar that serves as a model for all Buddhists, either. Therefore, we are not able to provide the dates of many religious holidays for these faiths.
National and International Observances and Civic Holidays
Chase's features independence days, national days and public holidays from around the world. Technically, there are no national holidays in the US: holidays proclaimed by the president only apply to federal employees and to the District of Columbia. State governors proclaim holidays for their states. In practice, federal holidays are usually proclaimed by governors as well. Some governors proclaim commemorative days that are unique to their state.
Special Days, Weeks and Months
Whether it's Black History Month, National Police Week or National Grandparents' Day, the annual calendar has loads of special days, weeks and months--and Chase's has the most comprehensive listing of them. Until January 1995, Congress had been active in seeing that special observances were commemorated. Members of the Senate and House could introduce legislation for a special observance to commemorate people, events and other activities they thought worthy of national recognition. Because these bills took up a disproportionate amount of time on the part of congressmen and their staffs, Congress decided to discontinue this process in January 1995 when it reviewed and reformed its rules and practices. Congress does from time to time issue commemorative resolutions, which do not have the force of law. The president of the US has the authority to declare any commemorative event by proclamation, but this is done infrequently. (Some state legislatures and governors proclaim special days, as do mayors of cities.)
So where do all these special days, weeks and months come from? The majority come from national organizations that use their observances for public outreach and to plan specific events. For special months regarding health issues, for example, you can expect to see more information disseminated, special commemorative walks and medical screenings during that month. The Chase's editorial staff includes a special day, week or month in the annual reference based on the authority of the organization observing it, how many years it has been observed, the amount of promotion and activities that are a part of it, its uniqueness and a variety of other factors.
As we noted above, the president has the authority to declare any commemorative event by proclamation. A good number of these will be proclamations for which there has been legislation giving continuing authority for a proclamation to be issued each year. Mother's Day, for example, has been proclaimed since 1914 by public resolution. The White House Clerk's Office initiates the issuing of these proclamations each year, since they are mandated by authorizing legislation. Of course, there will be new ones: Patriot Day (in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks) and the 2004 death of former president Ronald Reagan are recent examples. In Chase's we list proclamations that have continuing authority and those that have been issued consistently since 1995 in the main calendar of the book. (The most recent proclamations can be found at the Federal Register Online: www.access.gpo.gov.)
Events and Festivals
Chase's includes national and international special events and festivals--defined again by their uniqueness and their finite brief length of time. Sporting events; book, film, food and other festivals; seasonal celebrations; folkloric events (Groundhog Day, for example); music outings and more make up these types of entries. These entries are usually sponsored: they have contact information for the general public and all information in the entry comes from the sponsor (see below on sponsored events).
Anniversaries include historic (creation of states, battles, inventions, publications of note, popular culture events, etc.) and biographical (birth or death anniversaries of notable personages) milestones.
Living celebrities in politics, the arts, sports and popular culture are included in the "Birthdays Today" section following each calendar day. If there is a question about the birth day or year, this is noted.