May 1, 2009
Hopedale History
No. 131
Claude Snider

Hopedale in April  

Here, sent by Peter Metzke, is
a video of a loom. Itís not a Draper loom, but it gives a good idea of what a loom looks like (and sounds like) in action. Thanks to Peter for also sending this video of sock knitting machines at work.

Draper slideshow. Then and now. Music by Hvbris Ė A Shell.

If you'd like to purchase fabrics woven on a Draper loom in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, take a look at
Pete and Laurie Eaton's site. (You can see 36 pictures of their products by going to "Gallery" once your on the homepage.) To get an idea of what they had to do to get an old Draper loom running again, see a bit of the story here.

April 24 [1959] Ė Due to improved business conditions, Draper Corporation will be closed for only one week during the week of July 4, instead of two weeks as in previous years. Milford Daily News

The Blackstone Valley Community Concert Band is performing a free concert at  7:00 PM in the Northbridge High School Auditorium.  We will be performing songs that represent the different seasons of the year as well as a few other great pieces ("Circle of Life" from the Lion King will surely be a favorite!).  Mr. Jeff Keay, a music teacher at the ELC in Uxbridge will also be performing a flute solo with band accompaniment. The 58-member band has been working very hard over the past few months and would love to perform for a large audience.


Claude Snider   

In the mid-twentieth century, Claude Snider was in the upper level of Draper Corporation management. The anecdotes below, sent by his son, David, tell not only about Mr. Snider, but also about the company and the town.

Claude Franklin Snider was recruited from the US Patent Office in Washington DC some time in about 1931, give or take, to be the Patent Attorney. First home was in Bancroft Park, but the family moved to 31 Hopedale St. before I was born in January, 1933. Our home was half a block from the main office, which leads to Anecdote #1.

In the habit of going back to the office after dinner to get some work done in the quiet of the evening, Claude Snider was sitting at his desk one evening in November. No other lights were on but for his office. While he was deep in thought, Claude became aware of a figure standing in the doorway, and he looked up to see
B. H. Bristow Draper, Chairman of the Board standing there, overcoat on, hat in hand.

"What are you doing," asked Mr. Draper mildly.

As he recounted the story later, my father replied that he had wanted to summarize the notes on such-and-such a case, then clean up another matter, and so on. Mr. Draper listened politely, not saying anything until the explanation was over. Then he drew himself up to his full height and said, "Mr. Snider. At this time of night, your place is at home with your family. Now, if you can't handle your job in normal working hours, we'll find someone who can. Is that clear?"

For the rest of his life, Mr. Snider was very rigid on the point of working normal hours, and had many explanations of why extended workdays, heroic hours, etc. were not only unproductive, they were symptomatic of undesirable work habits.

Some time in the 1940s he was elected to the Board of Directors, and not long after became Secretary of the Corporation. He took on the added role of Treasurer in the early 1950s. When a heart attack put him in the hospital for a while in '53 (?), at one point he asked his doctor if he could have his secretary come in for a few hours a week because he was falling somewhat behind!

While I was growing up, more people worked for Draper Corporation than lived in the town of Hopedale. (Population 3,175 at one point while I was still in grade school) Consistent with the story of C. F. Snider's late evening in the office, the general sociological climate in the town was sometimes described as a 'benevolent dictatorship'. Once, a feature article about Hopedale in the Boston Herald started with the words, "This almost feudal community..."

As a school child, my impression was that, five minutes before you even thought of doing something, the whole town was gossiping about it!

Claude Snider was an intensely private person, with not a shred of ostentation or self-importance. He never lost touch with his roots as the son of the village blacksmith in Weston, Oregon ( pop. 400).

When he retired in 1959, his duties were assigned to 3 people, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Controller. Fair to say that he and Erwin Darrin were the two strongest powers supporting Tom West in his years as President.

Click here for more of Davidís memories of his father and of Hopedale in the mid-twentieth century.


Recent death:

Frank A. Garofano, 86, April 19, 2009.

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