August 1, 2004
Bristow and Queenie, Part II
I’m sending this a bit earlier than the usual first of the month because I won’t be around then.
Some of you who live far from here may be unaware that our big local news story of the last couple of
weeks was of a fire at Lowell’s that left it a total loss. If you’d like to see pictures of the fire, click on the
link below. Mendon resident Russ Kempton put them on his site. Thanks to Kendall Chilson for
sending them to me.http://www.newenglandgeophysical.com/fire.htm
When we last left Bristow and Queenie, we were asked to imagine the consternation in swell Boston
society due to their marriage. And now, for the rest of the story.
The father upbraided him. Already having stopped his allowance, he announced his intention of
disowning the young man. Declaring the son to be ungrateful, dishonorable, he told him in strident
tones to – go.
With his bride he took a trip to Canada and went on to Seattle. When they returned East, young Bristow’
s money was gone. He made no appeal to his father, but promptly took a job in the cotton mills at
Burlington as a spinner. He went to work in overalls and jeans, carrying his lunch basket in his hand.
He worked ten hours a day and returned to his home at night weary and dirty. It was hard work, but he
became one of the best spinners in the mill.
And he was happy!
His home was small, it is true, but it was neat. His wife, the former chorus girl, developed into the most
wonderful of housekeepers. Neighbors noted the fondness of the couple, for when he left at 6 o’clock
each morning he kissed her, and when he returned at half-past six in the evening he took her in his
Young Draper fell in love with the pretty chorus girl seven years before he married her. That was while
he was studying at Harvard.
Bristow was then 18 and had plenty of money. He met “Queenie” while she was playing in Boston in
“The Belle of New York.” He was seen with the girl nearly all the time.
There were dinner parties, after them suppers, long automobile excursions. When Miss Sanford went
to New York with the company Bristow followed. He went to New York so often and neglected his
studies so much that he was expelled from college.
Then he went to Europe and joined his parents. He was sent to school for a year at Exeter, afterward
returning to Harvard. Leaving Harvard, he entered his father’s boiler works at Hopedale.
He determined to begin at the bottom and work up, and went to work in overalls in the machine shop.
His intention was, by preparing himself thoroughly, to be equipped finally to take charge of the works.
While with the men he was treated as an ordinary employee; he received $1.50 a day. His father was
delighted, so, of course, he had spending money on the side.
It seemed that he had forgotten his infatuation for the pretty chorus girl, for it was soon announced that
Miss Ray was to become his bride. Soon after the announcement of the engagement, Miss Sanford’s
company went to Boston.
One night Bristow went to see the show. One of the characters – Tom Brown, a jaunty messenger boy
– attracted his attention. Through the disguise he recognized “Queenie” Sanford. That night he went
back of the scenes. When the company returned to New York he began making frequent trips to that
city. People began to whisper. “Only a whim,” they said.
Then came news of the marriage.
“Why did he do it?” society asked. On the one hand was Miss Ray, beautiful, educated, wealthy; on the
other, a chorus girl, daughter of a clerk, born on the East Side of New York, who had gone on the stage
at 16, had played in “The School Girl,” “The Catch of the Season” and other productions of similar
But society forgot that there is such a thing as real love, which Bristow Draper has proved he felt for the
girl, Miss Ray was beautiful; but the chorus girl, to him, was more so. She had a face of the color of
peach bloom, red lips, eyes of Oriental blackness, a laugh that rang like silver, She was cheerful and
blithe, And she loved Bristow Draper.
Learned to Keep House
She was content to give up the footlights – in fact, she never cared for them. She wanted to become a
wife. And while Bristow worked as a spinner she learned to cook. She studied the cookbooks of the
Delphic oracles of that art and she made progress. She got up early every morning to get her husband’
s breakfast. She anticipated his likes. She learned what was distasteful to him. She made the
dainties he enjoyed. What a pleasure it was to pack that lunch basket!
Then how she waited for him in the evening, a pleasing, if modest dinner all prepared. And how they
talked and planned, kissing one another in between times.
In Boston, Governor Draper and his wife lived, sending no letters and receiving none. But it is likely
that every once in a while he would whisper to himself, “Plucky boy!” To his friends he appeared
Then the baby came and tiny hands began to tug at the Governor’s heartstrings. That process of
relenting took a little time, but it was inevitable that the final, irresistible tug would come. And when it
came, grandpa and grandma hastily packed a grip and started off to see that wonderful baby.
And there you have it; that’s how The Sentinel told the saga of Queenie and Bristow back in 1909. The
story, along with pictures, covered most of a page, but room remained for articles titled A Woman’s
New Fad of Photographing on Tiles, England’s Quaint Kissing Customs, and Advance of the Flying
Machine. Now, to complete the tale, here’s the section of Five Generations of Loom Builders,
published in 1950, about Bristow.
B. H. Bristow Draper, fourth generation, son of the late Gov. Eben S. Draper, became treasurer and
executive manager of the corporation on the death of his uncle George A. Draper who died in February,
1923] and was made president in 1929. He died June 4, 1944, having been in full control of the
business until shortly before his death.
Bristow Draper entered the employ of the corporation with a thorough training in the fundamentals of
the business. After leaving Harvard College, he worked for a time in the Draper shops, and then
acquired a broad textile mill experience by starting as a mill hand and working up to overseer. He
joined the Draper selling force and became in turn assistant agent, treasurer, and president.
He was a man of great executive ability worthy of his long line of forebears, and with a pleasing
personality that endeared him to his fellow-workers from those who sat with him at the directors’ table
to the humblest worker in the shops.
He devoted himself to the modernization of the business, equipping the shops throughout with the
most up-to-date precision machines for building better and more efficient looms. This went along with
the development of a loom for weaving rayon fabrics and the series of high-speed looms, both of which
belong to his generation. He also started the corporation on an expansion of its facilities for supplying
some of its needed raw materials.
The story at this point devotes several paragraphs to rayon looms, self-threading shuttles and bobbin
changers, but I’ll skip ahead a bit
To Bristow Draper also must be credited the big expansion of the works at Hopedale to meet the
wartime needs of the government for internal grinders, 75 mm pack howitzers and magnetos, and the
splendid record made in their production. He enlarged the Hopedale plant for this special purpose by
the erection of a four-story modern steel and concrete machine shop. The research department was
largely devoted to special government war services. The building of looms was practically suspended
except for wartime needs, and services to the mills were reduced to an emergency basis.
And that’s it for the story on Bristow. If I can find more on Queenie, I’ll add it here. On another matter,
note that in Five Generations the buildings at Draper’s are never referred to as “the mill.” Draper people
usually called it the shop, sometimes the plant or the works, but never the mill. Mill was only used, as
in the last sentence in the paragraph above, when referring to other places; the places that used the
looms, not places that built them.
Since you’ve come this far, you might as well go on a little longer and read about the fifth generation,
B. H. Bristow Draper, Jr., representative of the fifth Draper generation in the business, entered the
employ of the company in 1929 after a course of study at Harvard. He entered the purchasing
department, and served in turn as purchasing agent and assistant treasurer. He is now 
treasurer of the corporation.