January 1, 2012
Hopedale in December
Susan Preston Draper
Hopedale in 2011 – slide show on YouTube
There’s an original portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier in the Bancroft Library. How did it end up there?
Click here to find out.
Here’s an article on Wikipedia about an interesting character with a Hopedale connection – Willam
Tebb. Among many other things, “In 1896 he had co-founded the London Association for the
Prevention of Premature Burial, that campaigned for burial reforms to ensure that those buried were
certainly dead.” He married Mary Elizabeth Scott in Hopedale in 1856. I thought at first that there was a
connection with Cora Scott, (November 15 story) but have concluded probably not.
Video from radio controlled plane over Milford. Sometimes it takes ten to twenty seconds or so after
the page pops up before the first frame of the video appears.
Library Reports? Not a very exciting title, is it? But here you are; you haven’t moved on to another site
yet, hoping it might be worth a couple of minutes of your time. What you see below is a much
shortened version of what I’ve copied from the library reports that are printed in the town reports, while
trying to solve a couple of mysteries at the library. Click here if you’d like to read the complete version.
1886 – At the first opportunity after the incorporation of Hopedale as a town, its citizens expressed a
desire and intention to have a Public Library, and at a caucus for the nomination of the first board of
town officers, the Trustees of the Public Library were included.
Frequent inquiries had been made of the Trustees about the time when a reading room or library
would be ready for use, but no suitable place could be found until Mr. George Draper generously
offered us, rent free, the rooms formerly occupied by the Post Office, (probably on the site where the
police station is now) and on December 27 the rooms were opened for a reading room and reference
1887 –The library held off in buying books this year, expecting to move into the town hall. Completion of
the building was delayed by a fire at the mill of the contractor who was doing the interior woodwork.
1888 – This report contains a list of many items from the early days of Hopedale that had been
obtained, as well as a portrait of Adin Ballou that was hung on the wall of the reading room.
On the twenty-fifth of October the Hopedale Town Hall was dedicated with appropriate exercises, of
which the chief feature was an oration by ex-governor John Davis Long of Hingham.
1899 – The end of 1899 finds the library permanently settled in its new home. The Bancroft Memorial
Library, which has been so generously given to the town by Mr. Joseph B. Bancroft in memory of his
wife, Mrs. Sylvia W. Thwing Bancroft.
1903 – At the request of several residents of South Hopedale, we opened a branch library on March 6,
when seventeen books and eighteen cards were given out. Mrs. A.F.W. Smith offered to take charge of
the work, without compensation.
1906 – The walk in front of the fountain has been completed this year in a most satisfactory manner,
after the plan of Mr. Manning, the landscape gardener.
1908 – The only addition to the Local History Collection has been in the form of photographs for the
loose-leaf album. Of these thirty-five prints, nearly all are of older Hopedale, as it no longer exists.
1910 – Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Osgood presented the picture of Whittier, a brief history of which seems
well worth recording. (If you’d like the rest of this story, click on the Whittier link near the top of the
1911 – The value of our library is much increased by our branch in So. Hopedale. Mrs. Smith has
distributed two thousand one hundred and sixty five books and it is remarkable that from her own
home and in a rather scattered community, she has found it possible to accomplish so much.
The means of supplying water for drinking from the fountain has proven something of a problem. The
new law forbids general drinking glasses and, though three experts were consulted, no practical plan
was presented. We hope to solve the problem in a satisfactory manner next spring.
We are proud of our percentage of circulation per capita and justly so, since ours is nearly eleven
percent and that of the entire state is less than four percent.
1912 – Mrs. Smith has doubled the size of the original room, had bookcases built around the sides
and given the whole place a very business-like appearance. (South Hopedale Branch Library)
We have adopted an approved plan for disinfecting books.
It has not yet been found possible to arrange for general drinking purposes (from the Statue of Hope)
and retain the wonderful beauty of the fountain.
To try to equalize the heat and have it more uniform, a thermostat has been presented, which is
already proving its worth. (Donated by Anna Bancroft, who also donated two light fixtures.)
The salary of the janitor has been increased to cover the increase in his rent. The increase in the price
of coal has made another item of extra expense.
1913 – Of the 398 libraries in our commonwealth we were the seventh in per capita circulation in 1911.
Following the experiment tried in a library in Wisconsin, we have adopted the plan of giving a concert
on a Victrola, the first Sunday in the month, during the hours the library is open for reading.
We have bought ten books in German this year and John Foster Carr’s Guide to the United States for
the Italian Immigrant has been given; these are the additions to our necessarily small collection of
books in foreign languages.
1914 – After a successful experiment with a loaned machine, a Victrola was presented by Anna M.
Bancroft. This has been used not only for the regular concerts, but has been used on the story hour
days to acquaint the children with some of the finest compositions and voices that are now before the
1915 – Total attendance at the Victrola concerts was 371 as against 296 in 1914.
The twenty Italian books loaned to the library by the Massachusetts Library Commission circulated 42
times during the year and a new set was loaned from the same source in October.
1918 – The library closed for six weeks due to the flu epidemic.
A new cover was made for the Statue of Hope. Something more permanent is recommended.
Adin Ballou’s desk was donated by Mrs. George H. Davis.
1919 – A telephone was installed in the library.
Mrs. Frances Colburn donated $10,000 to the library.
1920 – The library obtained 156 books in Italian. Lists of the books were sent home from school with
children of Italian families.
Due to severe storms, there was no trolley service to South Hopedale from February 6 to April 2, so
books couldn’t be sent to the South Hopedale Library during that time.
1921 – The library received books in Polish and Armenian from the Massachusetts Library
1927 – The Children’s Room, including a new entrance, bathrooms, and furniture, was donated by
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