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G. Wallace Chessman

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G. Wallace Chessman

GRANVILLE: G. Wallace Chessman of Granville, Professor Emeritus of History at Denison University and Harvard Ph.D., died peacefully August 23, 2011, at Kendal at Granville. He was a loving, intelligent, vivid, and wonderful father and friend, a dedicated and brilliant teacher and scholar of American history, who contributed insight and joy to the world around him.

Born March 1, 1919, in Ottawa, IL., to the late George W. and Olive (Grieves) Chessman, Dr. Chessman graduated in 1936 from high school in Peoria, Illinois, and in 1937 from Phillips Academy, Andover. He received his A.B. (Cum Laude) from Harvard University in 1941 and his Ph.D. in History of American Civilization from Harvard in 1951. He taught at Denison University in 1950-51 and from 1953 until retiring in 1983. Dr. Chessman held Fulbright Lectureships at the University of Southampton, England (1958-59) and at the University of Rome, Italy (1978-79). He also taught at Ohio State University and the University of South Carolina. During Word War II he served in the United States Coast Guard.

As a scholar of Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Era, Dr. Chessman contributed many works of scholarship, including Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Power and Governor Theodore Roosevelt: The Albany Apprenticeship, 1898-1900. He co-authored, with Wyndham Mason Southgate, Heritage and Promise, Denison 1831-1981, and published numerous articles and books on Denison, Granville, and Newark.

Surviving Dr. Chessman are his sons and daughters-in-law, Robert O. and Charlotte Chessman of Muskegon, MI and Dr. Alexander W. and Katherine H. Chessman of Charleston, SC; daughters and sons-in law, Anne C. and Chester S. Smith of Richardson, TX and Harriet S. Chessman and Bryan J. Wolf of Palo Alto, CA; his grandchildren and their spouses, Christopher Chessman and his fiancée, Kelli Hayes, Kara and Christopher Rozell, Aimee Clark and Nick Christensen, Deidre and Jeff Weber, Hannah Chessman, Zachary Chessman, Margaret Smith, Ellen Smith, Marissa Wolf, Micah Wolf, and Gabriel Wolf; his four great-grandchildren; his niece, Tina Mather and his nephews William and Charles Dabney.

In addition to his parents, Dr. Chessman was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 59 years, Eleanor Osgood Chessman; and one sister, Mary Chessman Dabney.

A small gathering was held on August 24 at Kendal at Granville. Arrangements are in the care of McPEEK-HOEKSTRA FUNERAL HOME in Granville. To ensure family receipt, please express all online condolences at

In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome memorial contributions to Denison University, P.O. Box D, Granville, Ohio 43023.
Published in the The Advocate on Sept. 1, 2011
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