George Albert Draper
1855, at Hopedale, Massachusetts. His early schooling was attained in private schools, and was
effectively supplemented by his father's instructions in preparation for the part he was destined to play
in the noted Draper firm. At the age of seventeen years he entered the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology where he studied for two years. When he was twenty he entered the office of the Draper
Company, remaining as a member of the office force for one year. Young Mr. Draper then assumed
the difficult role of selling agent for the firm, continuing on the road for two years. He augmented this
experience and training by giving his attention to the financial side of the business, and at the age of
thirty-two, in 1887, he became treasurer of the Hopedale Machine Company. Nine years later he was
made treasurer of the Draper Company, and he held this post until death, having been elected
treasurer of the Draper Corporation when the reorganization took place in November 1916.
To the great Draper firm, George Albert Draper brought one of the keenest intellects in the textile
world. With painstaking accuracy he had familiarized himself with all the details of the business, and
much of its success may in a large measure be attributed to his knowledge of the industry, and his
exceptional executive gifts. The Draper firm is a leader in the manufacturing of textile machines, and to
its growth and success Mr. Draper was deeply devoted, his interest centering in the supervision of the
Besides his office of treasurer in the Draper Corporation, Mr. George A. Draper held many other
positions of executive responsibility He was president of the Grafton and Upton Railroad, and of the
Harmony Mills; director in the Milford National Bank, First National Bank of Boston, Brogon Cotton
Mills Company, of Anderson, North Carolina, and of the Calhoun Cotton Mills of Calhoun, North
Carolina. These last two connections indicate his active interest in the textile development of the
South, in which he made substantial investments.
Mr. Draper was for many years a member of the Republican State Central Committee of
Massachusetts. For two years he served as president of the Home Market Club, founded by his father,
one of the strongest and most influential protective associations in New England.
George Albert Draper was known as a generous and charitable man, a contributor to many public
enterprises. Together with his brother, the late Governor Eben S. Draper, he gave to Hopedale the
present Unitarian Church in memory of their parents. He sustained the generous policies of his
house in regard to their employees, He was one of the trustees of the Children's Hospital which
benefited by his executive ability and by his generosity. The imposing Community House was
constructed at Mr. Draper's expense as a memorial to Mrs. Draper and given to the people of
Hopedale. He was very fond of art and poetry, familiar with the classics, and possessed an esthetic
Mr. Draper was affiliated with many Boston social clubs, and was a patron and a guarantor of the
Boston Opera Company, and the Chicago Opera Company.
It was Mr. Draper's custom to spend his winters at his Boston residence, at 297 Commonwealth
Avenue. At such times he kept in close touch with the affairs of the Draper Corporation by his daily
visits to Hopedale. Although in somewhat delicate health after an operation in 1922, he felt strong
enough to make plans, a few weeks preceding his death, for a trip abroad with his daughter, Helen, a
journey which was to take four months. His sudden end at the Phillips House, private wing of the
Massachusetts General Hospital, was a great shock to his family, and to the people of his beloved
town, Hopedale, where no man was held in more grateful esteem.
Died at Boston, Massachusetts, February 7, 1923.
Married at Wickliffe Place, Lexington, Kentucky, November 6, 1 890, Jessie Fremont Preston, who
was born December 12, 1855, died at Boston, Massachusetts, February 11, 1917, daughter of Major
General William and Margaret Howard (Wickliffe) Preston.
1. Wickliffe Preston Draper, born at Hopedale, August 9, 1891; was graduated from Harvard, B.A., in
1913; at outbreak of World War I volunteered in British Army September, 1914; became first lieutenant,
1st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; served at Salonica in 1916, Messines and Ypres in 1917; wounded
July 4, 1917; resigned from British Army and returning to the United States became captain in the
United States Field Artillery; was honorably discharged in December 1918; served as a lieutenant
colonel in the United States Army during World War II.
2. Jessie Preston Draper, born December 25, 1892; died at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island,
August 12, 1894.
3. Helen Howard Draper, born August 12, 1895; died at Dover, Massachusetts, July 27, 1933;
married, first, February 10, 1917, Wallbridge Taft [a nephew of President William Howard Taft ];
married, second, May 24, 1924, Nathaniel F. Ayer, who died July 24, 1948.
Draper, Preston and Allied Family Histories, pp. 30 - 41
Draper Tombs, Hopedale Village Cemetery Draper Menu HOME
Foundation, in memory of her Kentucky-born mother, Mrs. Jessie Preston Draper. She gave Berea
$200,000 from this fund with the stipulation the money should be used to aid in educating students
from Appalachia. Other gifts, including $50,000 given in memory of Henry C. Munger by his sister,
brought the total to $340,000, with which this colonial-style structure was built in 1938 (modeled after
Independence Hall in Philadelphia).
It contains 24 classrooms and offices for teachers, reading rooms, campus ministry and the audio-
visual aids department. A large projection room and a complete, electronically equipped language
laboratory also are located at Draper.
In June 2000, renovation began on the Draper Building tower for the installation of a 56-bell Carillon.
The carillon is an instrument consisting of bells that can be played like a piano or organ. The musical
instrument weighs 11 tons. The Berea College Carillon is the largest in Kentucky. http://www.berea.
This paragraph below on George and Jessie's two children,
Wickliffe and Helen, is from a book about Wickliffe, The
Funding of Scientific Racism by William H. Tucker.
Schenectady Gazette - June 3, 1930
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
September 9, 1930
By the early twentieth century, and possibly a bit before that, the Drapers spent much of
each year living in Boston. Summers were spent in Hopedale and in various resorts.
The above is from the 1886 Assessors' report. Mr. Draper was 31 at the time. By
the time he died in 1923, the list of his assets would have been much longer.
Below - The interior of the George Albert and
Jessie Preston Draper home in Hopedale.