order manufacturing company has been operating in Hopedale nearly unnoticed the past 14 months.
The company's patrons are artistically minded people from all over the world. They order many hand
made personal and decorative accessories from the company whose costly advertising appears in
several national household magazines.
This young but already nationally known business is situated on the 15-acre former Osgood property
off Greene Street, about a half mile from the roadway. The office and several art rooms are located in
the nearly 50 year-old mansion that is presently having its face done over. The hand-blocking, printing,
and sewing rooms are located in a building not far from the home. Part of this building was a former
chicken coop, and eventually it will become the site for all phases of the work.
How such a business came to Hopedale is a short story. Harry Lacey, an artist, decorator and
designer for about 20 years, and his artist-designer wife, Elizabeth, became fed up with the rush of city
living and tending to the many tasks involved in operating a retail shop in Boston's Back Bay. After a
search of nearly a year for a country home and land which would enable them to further develop the
mail order line of their business, the Laceys were introduced to their dream spot in Hopedale on the
afternoon of April 1, 1946, and bought it 10 minutes later from Louis McVitty.
They have no regrets in choosing their new home and business site. Four months after the purchase
the new firm began operating under the name of Harel House, a name derived from Harry and
Elizabeth. About the same time they became the parents of a daughter, who was named...you
guessed it; Harel. Names in the Lacey family seem as artistic as the items manufactured. Even their
German shepherd dog has an impressive title, Erika von Grafmar.
Mr. Lacey, a slight man with nervous energy, revealed that most of his firm's business is done with
people in southern and western states. Orders come in daily from nearly every state in the union, and
shipments are made to Alaska, Africa, Hawaii and South America. The two latter mentioned countries
[Yes, that's what it says.] are becoming a great selling ground for the Hopedale firm.
Among the items that are manufactured there are unique lamps, wastebaskets, cigarette boxes,
angora lambskin rugs, copper and brass items, cocktail napkins, card table covers, hand printed
wallpaper, picnic mats and cloths, "glamorous" clothes hangers, personal cases for shirts, neckties,
handkerchiefs, shoes and bottles and many other unique hand made items that are not to be found in
retail shops. The success of the business depends entirely on the approval of goods by an exclusive
clientele. An exquisitely painted wastebasket sells for $15, a monogrammed pure wool shirt container
is listed for $12. 50, and card table covers are priced as high as $40 each.
During the past summer season, decorative sea-shells were turned out as a sideline at the plant
and a small box of them sold for $5. Decorated matchbooks with seasonal designs were on sale for
$1 per box containing nine books.
Among the notables who have ordered goods from the Hopedale firm is a Minister of the Exterior of a
South American country who presented monogrammed cigarette boxes for all his embassy friends.
They were mailed out all over the world from the Hopedale plant.
The firm is definitely a mail order business. No one is permitted to see goods at the plant. Catalogs
of all merchandise are sent out to those requesting them by mail. Mr. Lacey states that the entire
purpose in settling in a small town like Hopedale was to avoid the rush and bother of having to
operate a retail shop.
Since the business began functioning in Hopedale, a few curious people have wandered on the
grounds. At times this has seriously interrupted work. Many could not be convinced readily that there
were no goods for display and that retail trade could not be handled.
The advertising matter in pamphlets, catalogs and notices that appear in magazines such as
Parents, Vogue and Vanity Fair, House and Garden, House Beautiful and others, carry a sketch of the
old Osgood mansion. This detailed piece of work was done by Elizabeth Lacey. Most of the trade
products appear in ads under the name of Elizabeth Lacey, Hopedale, Mass., but some of the
decorative work is publicized under the name Harel House, alone.
Kearsley's studio handles all the photographic work for the business, and Forbes Press, also of
Hopedale, does much of the printing work.
In a business of this type, the planning and the result of advertising in every section of the country is
very important. A chart is kept of orders from the entire world. Ads placed in magazines carry a key
number so that the firm can determine how effective its advertising has been in any particular
In addition to being an artist and renowned decorator, Mr. Lacey is also a shrewd businessman. He
handles all the work involved in long range, high priced national advertising, and checks their worth in
the 48 states and other countries. After a period of "hit and miss" he has found out that only the higher
grade of household magazines aid his business. Spending thousands of dollars annually, for a
comparatively small business such as Harel House requires expert planning and supervision.
All workers at the plant are from Hopedale, Milford, Millis and other surrounding towns. Mr. Lacey
expects to have a payroll of about 50 employees when his plant enters full-scale operations. He is still
searching for skilled help for fine embroidery, art and other work of this nature. Harold Moran of the
Milford High School faculty has assisted Mr. Lacey in procuring students to aid in packaging catalogs
for mailing and doing other work in the plant.
One special operation is the hand printing of various designs on linens and other fabrics. This
process involves the use of a silk screen into which a design has been cut. When the proper inks are
pressed over the pattern, it is transferred to the linen in fine detail. Some designs have several colors
and many operations are required to complete a single item. Wallpaper is printed in this manner. The
cutting of some silk screen designs require 250 hours of painstaking work.
With the fall and winter seasons getting into full swing, Mr. Lacey fears that the Hopedale post office
will be burdened even more with additional outgoing packages and incoming letter orders. In one
busy day as many as 200 letters are received and 100 packages are sent out. An order for 25,000
envelopes has already been placed to handle the mailings of catalogs this fall.
The expression, "It's the box that sells the goods," is very nearly true at Harel House. Beautiful bright
green boxes will be in evidence next spring to take the place of this fall's red and white ones. The
ribbon shades also change with the seasons. Only one item remains the same. All items have a red
and silver tag attached identifying them as "Harel House" creations.
Many items produced at the Hopedale plant have been featured editorially in household magazines
in which it advertises. Stories of the artistry and fineness of the items manufactured by the firm have
been written by several magazine writers.
Harry Lacey, although enmeshed in the labor of his new undertaking, is still a decorator. He is
affiliated with several large chain organizations as a consultant designer. At present his is working on
the Berkeley Store in Milford, under a working plan signed several years ago with the chain firm. His is
not taking on additional work of this type, but merely carrying out work for which he was hired years
Thus in 14 months the red-headed man, who has a liking for checkered bow ties and long type
cigarettes, which he smokes in chain fashion, has laid a firm foundation for a national business in
Hopedale that promises to make the little town well known to an exclusive class of people throughout
the nation and in several foreign countries.
This man Harry Lacey and his wife Elizabeth tossed aside a profitable but nerve-shattering business
in Boston's Back Bay just for peace and quiet in a country surrounding. From all indications they have
received more than their anticipated reward. Their combined ingenuity, decorative ability and business
logic, has put the Hopedale firm will on the road to permanent success. Milford Daily News, October
The Harel House, called Lawlah originally, was the home of Dana and Laird Osgood. Dana was the
son of Edward and Hannah Thwing Draper Osgood and the grandson of George and Hannah Thwing
Draper. Osgood's land extended down to the present location of Dana Park, which was named for him.
Greene Street near the Spindleville Pond was named McVitty Road. Louis McVitty was the man who
developed the area. In its account of the March 1956 Hopedale town meeting, the Milford News
reported that , "The name of McVitty Road was changed to Dana Park by the voters, with no
discussion." The southern end, however, kept the name, McVitty Road.
Dana and Laird Osgood are listed in the town street listing books up through 1931. The Bancroft
Library doesn't have the books for 1931 or 1932. They aren't in the books for 1933 or after. Austin and
George Osgood appear in the books at that time. Austin was 22, listed as a student. George, how had
previously been living at the Larches, was 46 and listed as "at home." By 1945, just George was there.
He was in the books up through 1952. After that, I've been unable to find him. I looked in the town
reports for deaths for 1952 and several years after, but he's not there.
The Dana Osgood family Business Menu HOME
Christmas catalog cover.
|The Harel House
By Nick J. Tosches
Daily News Staff
Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for the article above.
The article above is from Perry MacNevin's collection of Hopedale items.
The former Osgood house/Harel House c. 2000. The original
address was Greene Street, but now is Jackson Way.