portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier came to the library. In the search I found that the reports included
mention of a number of other donations and various bits of other library business. I thought it might be
worth having this information in one place, rather than scattered over more than one hundred town
reports, which is why I have written what you see below. Of course, in some years there were fairly
significant happenings and others, not much. Naming the years for the reports isn’t as simple as it
might seem. The first town report is dated 1887, but the library report in it is for 1886. Also, for many
years the town report was done by calendar year, but beginning in 1978, that changed to fiscal year.
I’ve been able to find some of the things I was looking for, but others remain a mystery. I think during
the first year, until the town hall was opened, the library was housed at what had been the Home
School of the Hopedale Community, at the corner of Hopedale and Depot streets, where the police
station is now, but I can’t be certain of that. I expected to find mention of the origin of the grandfather
clock and a few other items but didn’t. However a good deal of interesting information has turned up.
For many years there were reports from both the trustees and the librarian, but eventually they came
from the librarian only. I haven’t separated them here. Looking for more than I could find in the reports,
I’ve also included some items from the Trustees’ minutes. Those are indicated with asterisks. Thanks
to Ann Fields for suggesting that excellent source of material. Most of the wording is as written in the
reports, but occasionally I’ve reworded a bit to shorten sentences, while not altering the meaning. In a
few places I’ve added comments that I’ve put in italics and in parentheses. I’ve capitalized as it was
done in the reports, which sometimes changed from year to year, as did the various versions of
In the case of items that occurred regularly, I’ve just included them a few times rather than every year
in which they were mentioned, such as donation of flowers, activities and donations of the Friends of
the Library, assistance from the Hopedale Foundation, groups meeting at the library, and
maintenance such as painting and floor cleaning.
More detail can be found for many of the items below by consulting the original reports and minutes.
Dan Malloy, February 2012. (Written as part of the senior tax credit program.)
1886 – The first library report lists William Goddard as Librarian and Ellen F. Welch as Assistant
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, (as noted above, likely on the site
where the police station is now, according to an 1870 map) and on December 27 the rooms were
opened for a reading room and reference library.
Friday preceding the opening of the rooms to the public, an invitation to inspect them was extended to
the different boards of town officers and their friends. A good number were present, and the early
circulation of books was made possible by gifts of $500 each, from Mr. Eben S. Draper and Mr.
George A. Draper, the amount to be expended for standard works in the various departments of
literature. By the liberal contribution of Gen. William F. Draper, we have been able to furnish the
reading room with a valuable reference library. The keys of the library rooms were delivered to the
Trustees on the twenty-sixth day of October, by the janitor, Mr. Julien Shaw.
1887 – The Librarian reported that he had ascertained that the books formerly belonging to the
“Hopedale Library,” (the existence of which was previously unknown to the Trustees) had been stored
in the Church for some time before the parlor and kitchen were added, and that Mr. John L. Smith of
Milford said he had bought the books at that time from Mrs. Colburn for old paper. That Mr. George
Draper had protested against their sale in this manner preferring to have them sold or given to some
institution or person that could make good use of them. Mr. Smith had destroyed some of the books
and sold a small number to individuals but the larger portion of them he had kept until September
1886 when he had sold them for about $30 to one Andrew McCance, a second hand book dealer in
Boston. An early inquiry of Mr. McCance shows that he had been able to dispose of the greater part of
them and that only about 30 of the less valuable ones were still in his possession. These were
purchased for $0.30 each and are now in the library. Mr. Smith found a few and gave them to the
At the beginning of 1887, the library consisted of about one hundred volumes of reference books
which we had been able to purchase through the liberality of General William F. Draper, besides a
considerable number of current periodicals. The reading room had been then open but one week.
Although the donations of Mr. George A. Draper and Mr. Eben S. Draper were available for the
purchase of books for circulation, it was thought best to delay purchasing and circulating them until
they could be permanently located; for the building designed and erected for town purposes by the late
Mr. George Draper contained rooms destined for the use of the library and was rapidly approaching
completion. Unfortunately, however, the work was not completed at the expected time, for the interior
finish had been destroyed by fire while still in the mill of the contractors. This accident, with other
circumstances, caused so long delay that the Trustees decided to purchase books and begin to
circulate them from the temporary rooms. On the fourth of June the registry for borrowers was opened
and four books were delivered.
1888 – This report contains a list of many items from the early days of Hopedale that had been
obtained. A portrait of George Draper and a portrait of Adin Ballou were hung on the wall of the reading
room. (The location of the Ballou portrait became something of an issue between the Trustees and
other town officials, and the dispute goes on for pages in the minutes.)*
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.
1889 – Among the donations of Rev. Adin is a manuscript catalogue of 356 books of the “Hopedale
Library” (Hopedale Community library) loaned to the “Hopedale Mechanics Association.” The report
includes a list of those publications concerning Hopedale history.
A portrait of Rev. Adin Ballou has been hung upon the wall of the reading room. Like that of Mr. George
Draper, it is a production of Mr. Otto Grundman of Boston, and in the opinion of all who have seen it is
a most striking picture, exhibiting the power of the artist as a delineator with a rare perfection of finish.
1890 – The Trustees wish to make public acknowledgement of their indebtedness to Mrs. Ellen F.
Babcock for the able and kindly manner in which she has assisted them and for valuable suggestions
as to the management. (Mrs. Babcock was listed as assistant librarian, while Frank French was named
librarian. French was a member of the Board of Trustees. It appears that in the early years a member
of the board would be named librarian, but the assistant librarian probably did the day-to-day work
somewhat similar to the library director of more recent years.)
1891 – The sum of $800 was appropriated by the town, together with such sum as might be returned
to the town by the County from the dog tax.
1892 – This has been the most prosperous year since the library began because of the increased
amount of money appropriated, enabling the trustees to furnish the patrons with nearly double the
amount of new books this year over last. This is attested by about one thousand more visitors during
the year, and more than this number of books taken for home use.
Mr. French, as Librarian, reported that he had received and accepted the resignation of Mrs. Ellen
Babcock as assistant librarian, and that he had engaged Mrs. Georgianna Bailey in place of Mrs.
Babcock at the same salary, which was unanimously accepted.*
Voted – That no books shall hereafter be bought without the consent of the majority of the Trustees.*
1893 – The prosperity and usefulness of the Library have continued through this year, and also show
a marked increase over last year, both in cardholders and volumes taken out. Visitors to reading room
– 8,166. Books taken out – 8,813. Card holders – 898.
1894 – The scholars from the different schools continue to patronize the library for reference, and the
trustees have endeavored to assist as far as possible with the money at their disposal by procuring
such reference books as would be of use to them.
1895 – The sum of $1000 was appropriated for the use of the Library for the year 1895, together with
the amount that shall be returned from the county of the dog tax.*
Voted – To take down the large single light in the reading room and put up the regular fixture, and put
three of the new gas burners on in place of this one such as are furnished by the Gas Company, and
have two of the same on in the library room; one over the desk and one over the book case.*
Reading room visitors – 8,523 Books taken out – 8,429
1896 – The number of visitors to the reading room was 9194 (this does not include those who came
to the library merely to take books) and the number of books taken out was 12,757, an increase over
the last year of 28 percent.
1897 – Through the munificence of two of our townspeople, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Bancroft, the
library is in possession of $1000, the income from which is to be available for the purchase of books.
1898 – Some very fine books have been added to the library. We have to thank Mr. Frank J. Dutcher,
and through him the Hopedale Sunday school, for some five hundred volumes, almost new.
Through the courtesy of Mr. J.B. Bancroft, the trustees have been given an opportunity to carefully study
the plans of the memorial building he is erecting as the permanent home of the library. It carries out
the latest ideas in library architecture as regards beauty and convenience, and will stand a blessing
and example to future generations.
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. For beauty, elegance of finish, and perfect adaptation to the
purpose for which it was designed, nothing is left to be desired. It will long remain as a fitting
memorial of a noble woman, and the thanks, not only of the present, but of future generations, will
descend upon the generous giver. In no other way could so many lives be reached and benefited as
by a public bequest of this kind. (Much more can be found on the move to the library and the
dedication, including newspaper clippings of Rev. Wilson’s address, Mr. Bancroft’s letter of gift, and Mr.
Osgood’s acceptance, in the Trustee’s minutes. The minutes also include a list of the furniture in the
library, plus other items, right down to things such as a screwdriver, a wheelbarrow, feather dusters and
Portraits of Joseph and Sylvia Bancroft were donated by Mr. Bancroft, and by his request, the library
also received portraits of Warren and Malinda Dutcher, Ebenezer and Anna Draper, and George and
Voted – To employ Miss Sornborger for the coming year for the same pay as at present - $450.*
1900 – The trustees have endeavored to extend the usefulness of the library in every way possible,
and to that end a number of books have been sent to the school at South Hopedale. These books
have been loaned for home use, just as from the main library, the teacher kindly acting as librarian.
It seemed wise to the trustees that the office of Librarian be held by the person directly in charge of the
management of the library. Miss A.M. Bancroft resigned and by vote of the trustees Miss H.B.
Sornborger was elected to the office of Librarian.*
1901 – Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Day have given the bronze by Bouchon, “Science et progres,” which
has been placed over the fireplace in the trustees’ room. (It’s now in the reference room.) The cast
which has been placed over the door leading to the librarian’s room is the gift of Mrs. F.E. Colburn.
1902 – Our unique gift of the year is from Mr. Eben S. Draper, and is the first copy of “The Mammoth,” a
four-page, 4 in. by 6 in. in size paper, published in 1845 by Adin Augustus Ballou, son of Rev. Adin
Ballou, and so framed that the four pages can be read.
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, and the books were received at and delivered from her home for five
months, when her removal from town necessitated a change. Then Miss Dewing assumed the
responsibility and the experiment is still going on.
It was decided not to sign the blank of the General Theological Library asking Mr. Andrew Carnegie for
It was voted to have the books for the South Hopedale Library carried back and forth by a boy if one can
1904 – The branch library at South Hopedale has been discontinued.
The account of the presentation of the beautiful fountain, placed on the land south of the library and
given to the care of the Trustees, has a special place in the report elsewhere.
Decision made that General Draper be granted permission of the Trustees to place the statue as
stated in his letter.*
Voted – That children under age who willfully break the rules and claim to be 12 years old for the sake
of entering the stacks be deprived until 13 years old, of the use of the stacks.*
1905 – We had a second exhibition of amateur photography and this year proved more successful that
the one preceding; 309 pictures were exhibited and 804 people visited the library during the two
weeks of the exhibit – a larger number than last year.
The work about the building and the fountain as planned by Mr. Manning, the landscape gardener, is
not quite completed.
Voted – That Mr. French order 30 tons of coal from the Hopedale Stable.*
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.
1907 – Early in the year Mrs. A.B. Heywood completed our file of the “Practical Christian.” This was a
semi-monthly paper which was published for twenty years under the editorship of Adin Ballou.
Voted – To send the duplicate copies of the Practical Christian (given by Mrs. Heywood) to the State
Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.*
The Massachusetts Library Club held its June meeting in Hopedale.*
Permission was given to the Librarian to have a bulletin board in the recreation room of Hopedale
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.
To answer the question, how largely is your reading room used by men, an account has been kept
during the year. Only wage earners or those having plainly reached men’s estate were counted. This
was quite possible in a town of our size where the desk attendant is acquainted with all the users. The
record shows that 2,935 readers or nearly one-third of all the users were men.
Voted – That Gen Draper’s book, Recollections of a Varied Career cannot be renewed as long as the
demand for it continues so large.*
1909 – Voted – To grant the Librarian a years leave of absence from active duties.*
Voted – That Miss Lucy Day be given the position of Librarian during the year’s leave of absence of
Miss Sornborger at a salary of $600.*
Miss Grace Dutcher has contributed 54 numbers of Our Church Home, but our file is still incomplete.
Voted – This Library will be closed until October 29 out of respect for the memory of Mr. J.B. Bancroft,
1910 – The Sunday opening still seems wise. We have had an average of 11, the largest number for
any one Sunday being 23 and this makes the trustees feel warranted in keeping to the plan adopted
ten years ago.
Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Osgood presented the picture of Whittier, a brief history of which seems well
worth recording. This original portrait of Whittier was done by an artist, Mr. Thompson, then greatly in
vogue, for the publishing firm of Fields, Osgood and Company, about the time Mr. Whittier came most
prominently before the public. After the dissolution of the firm, Mr. James R. Osgood owned the portrait
and greatly prized it, especially as Mr. Whittier always very much liked it himself. Mr. James R. Osgood
gave it to his brother, Mr. Edward L. Osgood, and as the portrait has grown to be of importance, Mr.
Osgood felt it should be in a public place somewhere in New England, as Mr. Whittier is so identified
with this part of our country, with its history during a very stirring period and comes so closely to the
hearts of its people, Mr. Osgood’s choice for a place to hang the portrait was the Bancroft Memorial
Library and with the approval of the trustees it was placed on the walls.
At the present rate of adding new books to the library, in two years the shelf room will be filled.*
Voted – That Miss Sornborger confer with Dr. Campbell about the safety, from a medical standpoint, of
library books being taken by nurses or patients to the Milford Hospital.*
Voted – That Mrs. A.F.W. Smith of South Hopedale be asked to have a deposit of books from the
Library, as she did eight years ago. This time she is, however, to be paid ten dollars for the year.*
Voted – That no more water be allowed to run in the fountain this season, because of the new drinking
cup law which went into effect Oct. 1, 1910.*
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.
Mr. Osgood’s death on June tenth was a distinct loss to the library. The trustees had always found him
an agreeable, intelligent and interested co-worker. He served the town as a Trustee more than twelve
years. He gave it the handsomely framed portrait of Whittier, the favorite picture of the author himself.
He gave the typewriter which has been found indispensable in the work of the library. No year has
passed but a goodly number of books or magazines have been added to the list through his
generosity and interest.
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. We want ours to be a “modern public
library,” which as someone has said, “is the change from a museum or repository of books to that of a
dynamic social agency.”
Voted – That the water be turned on in the fountain as usual on suitable days.*
Voted – That Miss Sornborger look after the construction of a fumigating apparatus for library books.*
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 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. Then, too, the price of fiction and some non-fiction
has increased on an average of 20 percent within the past two years, a fact deplored by all trustees
and librarians in the country. We respectfully recommend $3000 and proceeds of the dog tax for the
expenses of the coming year.
Voted – That for various reasons, especially the compactness of the town population, a telephone is
unnecessary in the library.*
Voted – That the sincere thanks of the Trustees be extended to Mr. Messenger for his gift to the library
of the sterilizing case.*
1913 – Of the 398 libraries in our commonwealth we were the seventh in per capita circulation in 1911.
We have received a gift of one thousand dollars from Lilla Bancroft Bracken, for which the Trustees
desire to thus publicly express their thanks, in behalf of the citizens of Hopedale. The money is to be
called the Sarah M. Whipple Fund, the income to be spent annually for books for children.
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.
Again this year our Local History Collection has been increased through the kindness of Mr. F.J.
Dutcher, in giving copies of the Christmas program for 1880-1881, program for the dedication of the
town hall, Citizen’s ticket ballot for 1886, and a pamphlet, Non-resistance in relation to human
governments. At present this material has no systematic arrangement though carefully preserved, and
with the present amount of routine work and assistance little can be done. Extra service could be used
to lasting advantage in putting this valuable material in permanent, classified form that could be easily
The large leaded glass windows in the reference room were in such a state of disrepair that they were
sent to the factory and the glass entirely reset.
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
The Library was closed afternoon and evening January 23) out of respect to the memory of Mrs. Lura
Bancroft Day, the youngest daughter of the giver of our library building, who died January 20, 1914.*
Under the will of Lura Bancroft Day, twenty thousand dollars was left to the library to be used as the
Joseph B. and Sylvia W. Bancroft Fund, and five thousand dollars to be used as the Bancroft-Day Fund.
Voted – That the salary of Mrs. A.F.W. Smith, the branch librarian, be increased to $30 a year.*
Voted – That the Librarian’s salary be increased to $300.*
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.
The systematic arrangement and cataloging of the local history material already collected is now
ready to go to the bindery. Miss Bailey has made three valuable additions to the collection, one an
invitation to a “Social Gathering of the Young People of Hopedale” held at the Chapel, March 14, 1857,
the other two programs of more recent date.
The Draper Company on application from the library for missing numbers of Cotton Chats gave us a
complete file already bound.
Voted – That the selectmen be asked to appoint Walter Meade a special police officer when he begins
his service as janitor.*
1916 – Susan Thwing Whitney donated a portrait of her father, Almon Thwing.
Miss Bancroft reported that Mr. Evans would send an expert workman in the spring, if desired, to
examine the Fountain, and try to removed the discoloration; and that he would give instructions to the
Janitor on how to keep the Fountain in good condition.*
1917 – Mrs. A.T. Gifford of Fitchburg donated four daguerreotypes of Community people with their
names, and the Water Cure Journal for 1851, bound. Mr. F. J. Dutcher donated three photos of older
Hopedale houses, one of which was the Parsonage in the early days.
The Librarian spoke of a new kind of electric light which is considered superior to the tungsten
burners. She was authorized to secure one and try it out.*
Mr. Walker’s plans for the new Children’s Room were discussed.*
Mr. Robert Allen Cook presented a set of revised plans for the proposed Children’s Room.*
The question of a suitable covering for the fountain was discussed.*
The Librarian reported that 472 people had contributed over $500 for the War Library Fund, thus
making Hopedale’s contribution four times its quota.*
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.
In accepting this desk, (the Ballou desk) the Trustees reserved the right to give it to the Mendon
Historical Society if no suitable location could be found.*
The latch from Adin Ballou’s study door was given to the library by Mr. J.E. Barnes of Milford.
F.J. Dutcher gave a picture of the early shops framed in wood from the Temple Shop. (It was a hand-
colored enlargement from a daguerreotype according to the minutes of the June 3 Trustees’ meeting.)
1919 – For the first time, the children of grades one, two and three were invited, in January, to stop at
the library on their way home from school, Monday afternoon, and the librarian would read to them.
This was an overwhelming success, and because of numbers, adjourned from the Trustees’ Room to
the basement. The children continued to come until warm weather, with a total attendance of 716 for
the sixteen weeks.
The question of a telephone was presented and it was voted to install a two party line in the Library as
The most noticeable improvement this year has been the installation of telephone service. This has
already proved of great assistance, and its increasing use indicates that the patrons of the Library
appreciate its convenience and the many advantages it affords.
After twenty years of service the old heater has been replaced by a new one of greater heating
capacity. This is rendering excellent service.
After a careful survey of the situation, it was voted that the war having stopped, the Library should
return to its former efficiency.*
In addition, she (librarian, Harriet Sornborger) has arranged for an Americanization movement for the
benefit of the Italian residents of the Town, and she has given much time and effort towards helping
them understand our language and customs. During October the librarian called on the families of
Italian birth and invited the women to come to the library on the afternoon of October 21 and meet their
compatriot, the Princess Boncompagni. Miss Bancroft and the librarian told of the advantages with the
library wished to furnish them. Miss Powell, the district nurse, told of her work. The Princess, after her
own word of greeting, explained in Italian what had been said by the previous speakers. The princess
also donated 156 books in Italian.
The Branch Library in South Hopedale continues to develop each year. An attractive sign was added
early in the spring. Although this Branch is open but one day each week, it has circulated over 3,000
books during the past year. Mrs. Smith is entitled to great credit for this notable showing.
Mrs. Frances Colburn donated $10,000 to the library.
1920 - Total circulation was over 28,000. This means that on average every man, woman and child in
Hopedale has borrowed a book from the Library once every four and one-half weeks.
The floors have had their annual refurbishing and some of the walls and ceilings have been
The Victrola concerts were discontinued, as they did not make the same appeal as when the Victrola
was more of a luxury and less of an article of household furnishing than at present. Likewise the
attendance on Sunday afternoons has not warranted opening the Library at that time, and after
nineteen years it has seemed wise to break the custom.
The telephone has now been in operation for over a year and it was decided to continue the service.*
Mr. Barney (Hopedale Coal & Ice) stated that he would be able to supply the Library with egg coal for
the winter, but that fuel regulations forbade him to furnish any while our present supply held out.*
It was voted that no teams would be allowed to drive on the lawns for the purpose of delivering coal or
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.
Friends of the Library have contributed $125 toward the purchase of books for the blind, and soldiers
and sailors in Massachusetts’s hospitals.
W.H. Jordan gave a copy of the Practical Christian for October 12, 1844, and containing a notice of the
marriage of Joseph B. Bancroft to Sylvia W. Thwing in Uxbridge on Sept 11. by Samuel Clarke, and
followed by a copy of the hymn sung on the occasion. Mr. John S. Henry has contributed two excellent
pictures, showing transportation conditions during the heavy storm last February.
1921 – The library received books in Polish and Armenian from the Massachusetts Library
The local history collection has become a living and much used part of the library this year through the
decision of the Rounabout Club to study for the season The Hopedale Community.
Various repairs have been made to the roof and stonework, much of the woodwork and several of the
walls have been painted, and the floors have had their annual finishing.
It was voted to make Mrs. A.F.W. Smith’s salary $100 a year beginning July 1*
Adin A. Messinger gave a souvenir of the dedication of the town hall, the marriage card of Bryan J.
Butts and Sarah B. Bryant, and other items.
1922 – Donations of books and papers connected to Hopedale’s history were made by Rev. Lewis
Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Drown, Frank Dutcher, Princess Boncompagni, and Charles Foster.
When measles held sway (in the Smith home, South Hopedale Branch Library) books were brought
directly from the main library in baskets and were placed in the yard beside the road, and here – the
weatherman being kind – all exchanges were made until the house was fumigated. In the worst
weather in winter one of the sons sometimes delivers books by sled.
1923 – Items of value to our Local History Collection have been given by Miss Anna M. Bancroft, Mr. B.
H.B. Draper, Miss Grace Dutcher, and Mr. J.S. Henry.
1924 – Harriet Sornborger was again listed as librarian, but the report was signed by Walter Meade,
Voted – That Miss Bancroft write Mr. Smith a letter of sympathy and appreciation of the loyal and faithful
services of Mrs. Smith over a long period of years.* (Mrs. Smith died in January 1924.)
The Branch was established in its new headquarters at the home of Miss A.A. Caldwell in February.
Miss Caldwell is much interested in her new duties as Branch Librarian and is accomplishing
1925 – Librarian – Harriet Sornborger, July 1898 – September 1925 Walter R. Meade, October 1925
– (A tribute to Miss Sornborger was included in the report.)
Princess Boncompagni gave $500 for book purchases, and a framed picture of her father, General
Draper, which has been placed in the Trustees’ Room.
1926 – The Library has received the very generous bequest from the Ruth Day Williams Trust Fund of
$18,415.25 which is to be added to the Bancroft-Day Fund, the income from this fund to be used
entirely for Library purposes.
1927 – The chief and most important physical change in the Library since the dedication of the
present building is the establishing of a separate department as a Children’s Library under a Children’
s Librarian. (Madeleine Burrill) A separate entrance has been built, coat and wash room furnished,
and a large room downstairs fully equipped with book cases, tables, chairs, lights and heat – all
selected and installed with a view to the comfort of the youngest people of the Town. This change has
been made possible by the very generous gift of Miss Anna M. Bancroft, Chairman of the Board of
1928 – The Children’s Room (Zeta Snodgrass, assistant, in charge) is one of the busiest departments
of the Library, and on winter evenings, the most popular place in the town. With the juvenile books of
only 1873, there was a circulation of 15,648, or a circulation equal to each book circulated eight times.
Mr. Meade’s vacation – Clerk instructed to arrange with Mr. Meade on basis of regular three weeks
vacation, and that if he takes further time that he shall pay for any extra services required to keep the
library work up without detriment to the service.*
1929 – The attention give to the preservation of the building has kept it in excellent condition and it
does not show its thirty years of constant use.
Voted – To allow the Librarian to use this (new) desk and the Trustees Room for such work as he
1930 – During the past year, as the people of Hopedale began to feel the effects of the world-wide
business depression, the value of the library to the Townspeople has been proved as never before.
The occasional borrower has become a regular patron, the regular borrowers are coming oftener and
the few new people coming into town have registered at once. In November we established a new
(one month) circulation record of 4, 032 volumes. Many more men are coming to the library than in
normal times. Many of their requests have been for books and information on such subjects as aircraft
engines, iron and steel, textile color and design, machine tools, weaving, accounting, time study, and
many other subjects.
1931 – In the death of Mr. Walter R. Meade, the Bancroft Memorial Library has lost an able and efficient
Librarian – Walter R. Meade, October 1925 – March 18, 1931.
Madeleine R. Burrill, May 1931 -
A framed picture of Fanny Osgood with her golfing medals was donated by her brother, Dana Osgood.
(Miss Osgood had died the previous year.)
In the closing of the South Hopedale School, a deposit station was lost which yielded a circulation of
about 500 books yearly.
During summer vacation, three book clubs were formed and many of the weekly meetings were held
in the Parklands.
A marble bust of Psyche was bequested by the will of the late Mrs. Austin S. Garver, widow of Rev.
Austin S. Garver, who was once minister of the Unitarian Church in Hopedale. Mr. Clare H. Draper has
very generously given the library 242 volumes from his private library.
1932- The importance of the Library to the Town is shown by the fact that over sixty percent of the
inhabitants are registered borrowers of books, and the circulation equals 14 books per year for each
inhabitant of the Town.
4050 more books were circulated in 1932 than in 1931, which means that we have reached the zenith
in the history of the library.
Although our appropriation from the Town was reduced by three hundred dollars, our total receipts
were not reduced because a balance from the Fund money. It is difficult to refrain from paying tribute to
those who made possible this endowment which is so greatly appreciated in this crisis.
1933- Due to better business conditions and longer hours of labor, the circulation of books from the
Main Library had dropped back a little to a more normal position, but the fact that the circulation equals
over thirteen books for each inhabitant shows something of the importance of this institution in the
educational and social life of the townspeople.
A lock and key from the workshop door of Rev. Adin Ballou with the original screws has been
presented to the library this year by Mr. Warren H. Stevens of Milford and will be kept with our other
local history material.
1934 – The matter of Miss Burrill’s marriage in the fall discussed and voted to allow her to remain as
Librarian after her marriage if she so desires.*
Librarian – Mrs. Madeleine Woodbury (formerly Madeleine Burrill)
May 17 this library was hostess to the Bay Path Library Club. The meeting was held in the Community
House with a few more than a hundred present. Miss Sornborger spoke briefly of the General Draper
Memorial Room at the High School and invited the Club members to visit it. Luncheon was served in
the Unitarian Church.
We were very generously given the opportunity to choose books from the private library of the late Mr.
George Albert Draper. Two hundred fifty books were taken. Two splendid bookcases with glass doors
were also donated. One is used in the Children’ Room to store the Helen Draper Ayer collection.
1935 – When it is considered that two-thirds of the total population hold library cards, that the
circulation is larger than in many towns having twice the population and that this circulation is equal to
every resident of Hopedale taking from the library a book each month during the year 1935, something
of the importance of the contribution of the library to the educational and social life of the town can be
The method of charging the books has been changed this year. Each borrower retained his old
number, but he now has only one library card, whereas with the old system he was obliged to have
from one to four cards.
Voted – To hire some worthy young man to dust books during the summer at a total cost of not over
1936 – The Trustees have improved the heating system by the installation of an oil burner.
In common with all other libraries throughout the country, the circulation of books from the Main Library
has decreased considerably due to better business conditions and longer hours of labor.
1937 – The library has for many years been entrusted with valuable papers, files of old newspapers,
books and writings relating to the Town of Hopedale, Adin Ballou, the churches and their various
organizations and many of our honored citizens. For the protection and safe-keeping of these valuable
records, a fire-proof cabinet has been installed.
1938 – Mr. W.I.Stimson and Mr. H.A. Billings were appointed a Committee to investigate and arrange
for the matter of heating the building from the Draper Corporation main power house and to make
whatever arrangements were necessary to have steam pipes go through the library proper.*
Mr. Carlos F. Hunt and his sister, Miss Shirley Hunt, presented the library with portraits of William
Henry Humphrey and Almira Brown Humphrey which were painted by their daughter, Elizabeth Bullock
Humphrey. They also added another copy of Child Life by Miss Humphrey to our local history collection.
Three dozen lantern slide plates showing views of the town in Community days have been given to us
by Mrs. Frank Dutcher. Zeta Snodgrass, who had been children’s librarian for thirteen years, resigned
after marrying, and was replaced by Rachel Day.
1939 – Trustee Wallace Stimson died and was replaced on the board by Rev. J.B. Hollis Tegarden.
Voted – To approve the easement of Bancroft Memorial Library to Draper Corporation, giving the right,
privilege and easement to lay pipes through the grounds and at the building, as shown on a sketch
drawn by R. Smethurst, dated January 2, 1939.*
Two books of watercolor sketches of wild flowers were presented by Mrs. Grace Mayhew in loving
memory of Anna Thwing Field, a pupil of Elizabeth Humphrey.*
The total circulation including the South Hopedale Branch was 32,337.
1940 – The resignation of Mrs. Madeleine Woodbury, as Librarian, became effective Feb. 1, 1940, and
the position has been ably filled for the balance of the year by Miss Rachel Woodworth
Miss Anna M. Bancroft gave postal cards for the picture collection.
Mr. Ernest R. Dalton has loaned the library for an indefinite period a copy of his paper on the History of
the Hopedale Community. Appended thereto is an interesting and valuable bibliography which
describes source material concerning local history. (About a dozen of Dalton’s articles on the
Hopedale Community were published in the Milford Daily News in 1938. They can be found in a
scrapbook at the Bancroft Library.)
The importance of the Children’s Room is shown by the number of visitors – 7,942.
1941 – Because of the longer working hours due to Defense Work in our local shops, the number of
visitors to the reading room has decreased 27 ½ percent, yet the circulation of all books is a little in
excess of last year. (Why the effect shown in a report for the year ending only three weeks after the start
of the war? Was Draper Corporation involved in defense work even before the Pearl Harbor attack?
Lend-lease work, maybe?)
Mr. Harry A. Billings presented to the library a written record of the history of the Grafton & Upton
Railroad, prepared by Mr. A.D. Johnson and Mr. L. R. Dodge.
1942 – Miss Anna M. Bancroft, a Trustee for more than forty years, and for many years Chairman of the
Board, died May 31st, 1942, in her ninetieth year.
Miss Bancroft’s father, Joseph B. Bancroft, in 1899 gave the handsome stone building, its elaborate
furnishings and equipment, as a memorial to her mother, Sylvia T. Bancroft, a noble woman whose
life had reached and benefited many of the townspeople outside the family circle.
The pageant which celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Hopedale
Community was the occasion of several interesting and valuable additions to the local history
collection in the Library. Mrs. Ruth D. Beals presented two typed copies of the pageant; Miss Lucy E.
Day, a spike taken from the Old House; Mrs. Charles A. Forster, a copy of the first annual sermon
before the Hopedale High School delivered by Mr. L. G. Wilson; Mrs. Sophia Walker Piper, a
photograph of the Old House; Miss Emma Wells, five photographs of Hopedale taken around 1885;
and Mr. James Young, a map of Hopedale made in 1916.
1943 – Miss Rachel Woodward resigned as Librarian, effective September 1, 1943. She was replaced
by Mrs. Rachel P. Day. Mrs. Day was replaced by Mrs. Edna Damon as Assistant Librarian.
In 1886 the first library board was elected and it was voted that the library be named the Hopedale
Public Library. No record of a vote changing the name could be found, and the Trustees voted to
change the name to “Bancroft Memorial Library.”
The coming year marks twenty years of service by the South Hopedale Branch of the main library
under the supervision of Miss Adeline A. Caldwell. Once a week the Branch Librarian has opened her
home to the public in this district for the circulation of books and the use of reference material.
1944 - Mrs. B.H.B Draper, Sr. has given an interesting collection of foreign coins and paper money. Mr.
B.H.B. Draper, Jr. presented the library with photographs valuable for local historical records. Mr. H.H.
Townshend has given many albums of foreign views and art, as well as photographs of people
prominent in early days in Hopedale and vicinity.
1945 – Since the ending of the war it has been a great delight to welcome young men back from years
of service. Already return to normal ways of living is reflected in increased circulation.
Important additions to the library’s collection of local history came from the Osgood-Townshend
Estate in the way of books, photographs and pieces of furniture. A picture of Hopedale’s “old house” is
a treasured gift from Mr. B.H.B. Draper, Jr.
1946 – Bunches of late summer flowers were a welcome gift from Mrs. Stuart Weatherhead. Mr.Young
provided a beautiful Christmas tree for the Children’s Room, complete with new ornaments and string
of colored lights.
Friends of the library have given of their time and experience in passing judgment on 76 fiction books
as to their value for purchase.
1947 – An art exhibit, “Significant War Scenes by Battlefront Artists,” in photographic prints, attracted
favorable attention. Among the pictures was a reproduction of a painting by William F. Draper entitled,
“Helldivers on an Essex Class Carrier.”
1948 – Miss Caldwell’s interest in the reading programs of her community has been much
appreciated, and the good-will of many friends goes to her in her retirement, (She had operated the
library out of her home for twenty-five years.) The Branch Library has found a suitable location at the
home of Mrs. Asa A. Jones, a place centrally situated in this fast-growing district.
Mr. S.F. Smith presented the library with a framed group photograph of the Hopedale Zouaves, dated
Mr. C.F. Merrill delighted the children at Christmas Story Hour with his moving pictures.
1949 – The large number of books from the estate of Mrs. B.H.B. Draper, Sr., filled a need for popular
fiction besides providing many books of high literary value. Juvenile books, the gift of Miss Helene
Draper, have been very welcome. Rare manuscripts dealing with early Hopedale days presented by
Adin Ballou’s granddaughter, Mrs. John Holden, as well as children’s books once in the Ballou family,
sent by Miss Letty Davis, have added greatly to the interest and value of the early Hopedale items.
Thanks are due to Mrs. Ira Noyes for sharing her Kodachrome pictures with the children at the Library
and providing two delightful Christmas parties for the younger children.
1950 – The collection of local history book, pictures and maps furnished pleasure and interest to
many who visited the Library booth at the Town Hall Hobby Show. Much of this material pertaining to
early Hopedale days is often of use in the schools. Especial thanks are due to Mr. Gordon Norton of
the Community House for his help in arranging pamphlets, books and pictures in our historical
1951 – Through the kindness of Mr. Eugene S. Newhall the Library received a framed picture of the
Grafton and Upton Railroad engines beginning with and since 1874. This interesting photograph now
hangs in the Reference Room.
1952 – Mr. B.H.B.Draper, Jr., has presented the library with many bound state financial records and a
large framed picture of Governor Draper and his cabinet. (The picture is now at the Town Hall.)
To our senior trustee, Mr. Harry A. Billings, we are indebted for the gift of a portrait of Mrs. Billings with
her baby boy, Robinson. This charming picture is especially appropriate for the Children’s Room, for a
generous fund in her memory provides juvenile books.
1953 – Librarian – Rachel C. Day, Sept, 1943 – Sept. 1953
Irene H. Ferguson, September 1953.
Special thanks are due our library friend and neighbor, Mrs. Ira Noyes, for her help in making the story
hours attractive with her picture-story equipment.
Near the close of the year the librarian regretfully ended her years of service due to compulsory
retirement age. It is a pleasure to know that the work is being carried on in the efficient hands of the
new librarian, Mrs. Irene Ferguson, with her assistant, Mrs. Marjorie Hattersley, in charge of the
juniors. (Mrs. Day later became a librarian at Emerson College.)
Valuable gifts from the great-granddaughter of Reverend Adin Ballou include the family Bible, portraits
in oil of Reverend Ballou and his wife Lucy, and an oil painting of the “Old House,” the Community
home of Hopedale’s first settlers.
1954 – The major project of the year was the renovation of the Children’s Room. The transformation
was brought about by repainting the walls and adding fluorescent lights.
Leaks have been repaired in the roof, trimmings of the building painted, and a gold leaf sign over the
door reading “The Bancroft Memorial Library” was added.
1955 – Mrs. Hattersley, Children’s Librarian, made visits to the schools throughout the year to
publicize the coming events and to tell the children of the new books. This resulted in an increase in
juvenile registrants and a revival of the children’s interest in reading.
In the Reading Room and Foyer modern lighting has been installed to harmonize with the lights in the
1956 – The trustees have continued their policy of maintaining the building as nearly as possible in its
original beauty. In accordance with this policy, the floors have had their refinishing and troublesome
leaks in the walls and roof have been repaired. The installation of an ornamental iron railing on the
entrance steps has added greatly to the safety of persons using the library.
During the year, Mrs. Hattersley inspected and mended 331 books, saving us considerable money
and at the same time keeping the appearance of the shelves neat.
In June, Mr. James Young resigned from his position as custodian. He had served in that capacity for
31 years. His kindness and courtesy and his interest in the welfare of the library will be greatly
missed. The Trustees appointed Mr. Gerald Dee as custodian.
1957 – Now we face the challenges and problems of the atomic age. In the midst of the confusion and
fear, it is ours to guard and develop one institution that is a heritage to our American freedom, the
The major project this year took place in the main part of the library, where the antiquated fixtures were
removed and modern indirect lighting installed to harmonize with the lights in the Reading Room.
1958 – Mr. Harry Billings, our senior trustee, a member of the board since 1922, tendered his
resignation the first of this year. We were extremely sorry to lose this conscientious member of our
In October the Hopedale Community Historical Society held its first annual exhibition in the library. In
spite of the time and effort required on the part of Mr. Gordon Norton and his committee the exhibit
seems to have been eminently worthwhile in calling the public attention to “Old Hopedale” and the
1959 – Librarian - Mrs. Irene Ferguson, September 1953 – August 1959.
Constance Clark, August 1959 –
Due to the fact that the Junior-Senior High School now has a Library for its students, we were
somewhat apprehensive about the use of our reference collection. However, during the first few
months of the present school year, we still had a good many students coming to us for research for
their papers in various courses. We have cooperated with the School Librarian, Mrs. Stearns, (formerly
one of our part time workers) and have loaned books to supplement the school collection.
1960 – Our heartfelt thanks go to Mrs. Irvin Ammen and Miss Helen Butterworth for their gift of a
beautiful fifty star flag.
1961 – The total circulation figures for the year are 48,330. That includes the circulation from the
Branch Library, which was 3,365.
In November, Mrs. Marjorie Hattersley, the Children’s Librarian, successfully passed an examination
given by the State Division of Library Extension. This certifies her and gives her the classification of
1962 – The Garden Club has continued to put flower arrangements in the library each month.
All the walls of the adult section of the Library were freshly painted during the month of July, so the
Library now presents a bright “new look.”
The Bancroft Memorial Library is now a member of the Central Regional Area of Massachusetts,
which has its headquarters in Fitchburg.
1963 – Mrs. Constance Jones, Branch Librarian resigned in July of 1963. She had held this position
since February of 1949 and was an enthusiastic and interested Librarian. Mrs. Elizabeth Butcher was
appointed by the Trustees to take her place. Mrs. Butcher has contacted the administrator of the new
Hopedale Garden Nursing Home and is going to take books to the patients there once a week as an
added library service.
$5.00 will be given to the janitor to hire extra help to wash windows, put up storm windows and
Janitor – The present man is not doing the job properly and resents any direction by Mrs. Clark. Mr.
Wade will talk to him and go over a list of his duties.*
It was definitely decided that we need a new janitor.*
Mr. Wade feels the safe containing the historical papers should be moved to the basement – the floor
is sinking under its weight.*
1964 – The total circulation figures for the year are 53, 213.
We recommend that brass nameplates be affixed to all portraits in the Library*
The marble (statue) needs repointing and an estimate should be obtained before it is covered for the
winter. It is actually the Town’s responsibility and Mr. Wade will confer with Mr. John Dawe, one of the
selectmen, about it.*
Plaster is falling from the ceiling in the Government Room, caused by water seepage from outside
1965 – In March, the two Librarians, Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Hattersley, gave book reviews at the Evening
Alliance of the Unitarian Church.
In view of the large expense incurred yearly to drape and undrape the statue, it was suggested that we
try the Brennan Awning Co. of Milford instead of using men from the Draper Shop. It could reduce the
Mrs. Clark feels that the library should be kept open during July to avoid the end of June and first of
August rush and to accommodate those staying in town.*
1966 – Mrs. Butcher visits the Hopedale Garden Rest Home with books and the Main Library takes a
deposit of books to the Griffin Apartments about every 6 weeks.
During National Library Week in April, we displayed a few of our books as usual in the window of the
1967 – The figures this year show a decrease in our circulation and read 55,463 as against 56,553 for
The Rev. Frederick Meek of Old South Church, Boston, would like us to consider exchanging certain
materials, mainly pertaining to Adin Ballou, for the Library’s portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier. This
was given by Edward Osgood in 1910. Mr. Gordon Shaw, town legal counsel, will be consulted to
ascertain whether we have the legal right to dispense of the portrait in such a manner.*
The Town Finance Committee informed us that there is a substantial gap between the School and
Town Librarian’s salaries. A 10% increase has been granted to Town professional employees for
1967. It is the decision of the Trustees to ask for a budget increase to cover further salary increases
for Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Hattersley.*
Instead of a Story Hour during vacation last week (April), Mrs. Hattersley invited Mrs. Noyes to show
movies of her trips to Hawaii and Montana. Almost three hundred children came to the Community
House to see them and it was very successful.*
Whittier portrait: It was decided that we would ask the Childs Gallery on Newbury Street, Boston, to
appraise the portrait. Dr. Meek will have his material appraised.*
1968 – The Trustees, Mrs. Northrop, and Mrs. Huff met with Dr. Frederick Meek to look over some Adin
Ballou material which he brought in hopes of making an exchange. After careful examination, the
Trustees concluded that the material and $50.00 (as a contribution toward a proper room in which to
house our priceless Adin Ballou collection) would be a fair exchange for the portrait of John Greenleaf
Whittier. Dr. Frederick Meek of 645 Boylston Street became the owner of the portrait on January 4,
The Trustees and the Library staff wish to acknowledge with great appreciation a gift made to the
Library of a Book Deposit. This was made possible through the efforts of Postmaster John Bresciani
and Assistant Postmaster Robert Weaver who were able to procure an old mailbox which has been
refurbished and painted. Our thanks go to Mr. Alan Luce, who did the lettering and decorating and to
the many other people involved in this project.
1969 – Mr. Harold Anderson, Draper Division, North American Rockwell, gave us his recommendation
for a new heating system: 3-zone forced hot water supplied from two 275 gallon tanks.*
Mrs. Marjorie Hattersley reports 81 new borrowers in the Children’s Department.
1970 – We are offering a new service to the people of Hopedale by circulating records. These may be
taken out for two-week periods, the same as books.
Mr. Childs said he would talk to the people who take care of the stones in the cemetery re cleaning,
repairing and pointing the statue. There is some feeling that it could be left uncovered if this were
1971 – Mrs. Northrop reported that Mr. Drisko had contacted Mr. Moore regarding the Fountain, and
that Mr. Moore agreed that this was a necessary step, even agreeing to furnish the lumber for the
scaffolding. The Industrial Department of the High School will furnish the labor. Our next step is to
decide upon a suitable covering.*
Mr. William Child resigned from the Board of Trustees in August and Mr. Sewall Drisko was appointed
to fill out his term. We were all saddened to lose him by death after having served for only about two
months. Mr. Howard Smith was then appointed to fill out the term.
1972 – The Trustees met with members of the Historical Society. It was decided that as soon as our
heating problem is rectified, provision will be made for storage and display of certain historical
We will now have available Talking Books to be used by the blind or people who are handicapped and
unable to hold regular books. We also have a Talking Book Machine record player, which may be
borrowed from the Library.
1973 – Mrs. Elizabeth Butcher has resigned as Branch Librarian. She has served well in this capacity
for ten years. Mrs. Elizabeth Thayer has been appointed to take her place and opened in her home at
25 Warfield Street in November.
The Trustees met with Mr. Jack Erickson and Mrs. Reid of the Microfilming Corporation of America.
They said that a legal contract would be presented in the future if an agreement could be reached in
reference to microfilming the library’s collection of Hopedale history.*
1974 – We were very fortunate to acquire a copy machine in June, and are pleased to report that it is
being used a great deal. The public appreciates this service and it is a great help to the students.
Rockwell International will continue to provide heat for the library at a charge of $124.25 per quarter.*
1975 – There were 198 new borrowers registered during the year; 95 in the children’s room, 94 in the
adult section, and 9 at the branch.
Two rooms at the town hall have been renovated, and the library has requested a permanent loan of
portraits of Adin Ballou, George Draper, and Governor Draper and his Council to hang in them.
Mrs. Stearns spoke of the item in the Milford News stating that the Library Trustees had requested that
a recirculating pump be installed in the Statue of Hope, and that the Statue be floodlit. As the Trustees
had in no way discussed or requested this attention, Mrs. Stearns felt that the Selectmen should be
confronted with our denial of such a request. The Chairman will take care of this matter at the Town
Mrs. Stearns is to investigate the procedure for cleaning the Statue of Hope.*
1976 – Mr. Stock spoke with the Trustees about making some improvements in the empty room
downstairs, but said that not enough funds were available to make the complete changes that the
Trustees would like. Mrs. Clark requested that the old magazines be removed.*
The microfilm of the Adin Ballou papers has arrived and is in the safe.*
Mrs. Clark retired on June 30 and was succeeded by Mrs. Marilyn Keay.
The (October 6) meeting was devoted to discussion and planning for “Connie Clark Day,” Sunday,
October 17, 1976.*
1977 – The Trustees of the Library voted to close the branch which had been in the home of Mrs.
Elizabeth Thayer. Our thanks to Mrs. Thayer for her diligent efforts during the time when the branch
was in her home.
We are grateful to the family and friends of Mrs. Bessie Tiffany for their generous establishment of the
Bessie Tiffany Memorial Fund.
The lanterns outside the front door are in need of replacement. Mrs. Stearns suggested that instead of
asking the town for the money, that a Friends of the Library group be organized.*
The Hopedale Garden Club has disbanded and has turned over approximately $200 that was left in
the treasury to the library.*
A new tarp is needed to cover the Statue of Hope.*
Mrs. Nancy Twombly volunteered to supervise a series of five children’s craft programs during the
month of August. These programs had an average attendance of 38 children.
Adults were afforded the opportunity of seeing film classics each Monday night, beginning in October.
Miss Joyce Ripley volunteered to act as projectionist for these weekly events.
The film “Hopedale, Reflections of the Past” was donated to the Library by the Merrimac Valley Textile
Museum for use in the community.
Mrs. Keay reported that the heat from the plant (Drapers) was still connected, and even though the new
heating system was still being worked on, the Library now has heat. (October 12)* (Because of the
impending closing of the Draper plant, the library, as well as other town buildings, had to install their
own heating systems. A shed was erected at the back of the library property, and heat from an oil
burner installed there went to the library through underground pipes.)
1978 – In 1978, the town (and presumably all towns and cities in the state) began publishing their
town reports by fiscal year, rather than calendar year, which had been the practice up until then. In the
copies of these reports at the library, years 1978 through 1984 are bound together. The years from
1978 through June 30, 1983 are mixed together in the book. Only the report for FY83-84 appears as a
separate report. There are very few reports from town departments included, and I didn’t see one for
the library until the 83-84 report. Mainly, they include town meeting warrants, town meeting minutes,
election results and lists of town office holders. Perhaps this was the result of the dire town budget
situation in those years.
Oil already received has cost $1400. The fuel budget is $1800. It takes three day to bring the
temperature up three degrees after the weekend. (January 4)*
The next oil bill is expected to be in the $7000 to $10,000 area.*
Mrs. Keay told the Trustees that she had written a history of Hopedale, and that she would like us to
read it, but that it had not yet been finally typed. She told the Trustees that they would not like the history.
Mrs. Hattersley wishes to try Charlene Pedroli for one month for help in the Children’s Room. It was
unanimously decided to offer Fred Oldfield the position of Janitor.*
It was decided to terminate Mrs. Keay on June 17, a week before her resignation was to become
Heating system problem – especially bad in the Children’s Room. The Administrative Assistant says
the heating problem is up to the Trustees. The Trustees feel that the planning and installation of the
present system was undertaken by the Selectmen and we had no voice in the matter. However as the
health and well-being of the Staff is of first importance we have contacted a Mr. Peter Briggs, a heating
engineer, who will come to assess our needs and recommend necessary action.*
Mr. Stock, the Administrative Assistant, has the only key to the boiler house. We should have one..*
1979 – The new lamps have been installed at the front of the library. The furnace blower has been
fixed and the temperature in the library is comfortable.*
The Librarian told the Trustees that she intends to move some of the Adin Ballou pieces to the
The purchase of a window fan to help air circulation this summer was discussed.*
Mr. Briggs has recommended that we purchase 5 fans to put in the upper reaches of the Library
ceiling to put some of the hot air down near the floor. We have located some copper-toned ones and
will purchase them and hire Mr. Phillips to make the necessary changes.*
1980 – Our new head librarian is Mrs. Sue-Ellen Deiana, a young lady who lives in Milford and who is
married to a Hopedale man. She will receive her MLS from Simmons in May.*
Our loan-out copy of History of Hopedale was taken in September by a person who gave a fictitious
name and address, and it has been decided not to loan out any more historical papers or books.*
Olga Till and Russell Tiffany of the Historical Commission met with the Trustees to clear up some
misconceptions they had about being dispossessed from the Library. We have made arrangements
for them to come back at a later date to look over the utility room downstairs with an idea of what they
might do to display some of their artifacts.*
The Librarian inquired of the Trustees as to thoughts of forming a Friends of the Library group. She
was told that it would be very beneficial if she could form such a group.*
The librarian was requested to inquire if it would be necessary for the Library to pay to have the
scaffolding for the cover for the Statue of Hope put into place for the winter season.*
1981 – The Librarian reported that the Friends of the Library were meeting on September 9th to
organize, elect officers, and make final plans for the Fall Book Sale.*
It appears that our furnace is taking a large toll each year from our Trust Fund, and it is hoped that the
Selectmen and the Finance Committee might permit us to try to accumulate some money in the Trust
Fund so that we might rectify this quite intolerable state of affairs.*
1982 – In regards to the budget cuts, it was voted to close the library Mondays and Tuesdays, effective
December 1st. (At the next meeting, it was decided to close on Wednesdays also. The library was
open Thursday and Friday, 2-8, and Saturday, 10-2.)*
It was voted to submit a letter to the Town Accountant with a carbon copy to the Town Office instructing
the use of State Funds before Trust Funds when the municipal funds are depleted.*
1983 – The library was open eleven days in February and thirteen days in March.*
The Library was restored to full hours and services this year after the massive budget cuts of the
Microfilming Corporation of America is phasing out their operation but will arrange with another
company to fulfill their contract with us.*
University Microfilm International is taking over for Microfilming Corporation of America.*
In the fall a tour by high school students to examine historic buildings natural rock formations resulted
in a restoration committee being formed to raise funds to repair the Statue of Hope on the library lawn.
“Hope for Hope” raised $5000 through toll roads, public and private contributions and a matching
grant from the Hopedale Foundation.
1984 – The library trustees purchased an Apple IIe microcomputer for public use. One hundred twenty-
six adults and students registered as computer users and actively use the 27 programs available at
the library, or their own discs.
Funds raised by the “Hope for Hope” Committee have cleaned and restored the marble Statue of
Hope, her base and walkways. Friends of the Hopedale Library have provided a free pass to the
Boston Children’s Museum, repaired our grandfather’s clock, encapsulated two newspapers from
1865 reporting Lincoln’s assassination, restored 16 historic books, and the 1868 map of Hopedale.
It was voted to write a letter to the Town Accountant requesting that he set up a revolving fund for the
fines, such as the accounts set up for the school department.*
1985 – Following a successful book sale in September, the Friends restored the Historic Register
and purchased glass-front display cases to exhibit book, documents, pictures and artifacts which
reflect Hopedale’s historical past.
The Children’s Department under the direction of Mrs. Marjorie Hattersley offered two very special and
heavily attended programs. In November the puppet show, “Kids on the Block” was presented to an
audience of 175 children and parents. In April the Pumpernickel Puppet Theater presented “St.
George and the Dragon” at the Community House. About 150 – 170 children and parents enjoyed the
show which was funded by the Hopedale Arts Council.
The Milford Exterminating Service will take care of the two bathrooms downstairs and the rest of the
exterior this month. (November)*
1986 – We agreed to hire Caroline Donick during Sue Ellen Deiana’s maternity leave, as temporary
The Trustees will attend the new Milford Town Library dedication on April 6.*
One of the highlights of the year was the Centennial presentation given by John S. Garner (author of
Model Company Town) on October 25th in the High School Auditorium.
A gift of six original pen and ink drawings of historic town buildings was presented to the library by
artist Mary Ohnesian of Milford and was hung in the reference room. (They’re now along the stairway.)
Margery Hattersley’s physical was approved and the Retirement Board approved her working at the
library for another year.*
One estimate has been received for replacing the furnace - $65,000 to $70.000.*
Large-print paperback books will be included in our orders from now on. Also, the next order placed
for our Children’s Room will be for at least 300 books. We need to update our children’s collection.*
1987 – Sue-Ellen Deiana resigned as library director in November after almost eight years of
dedicated service to the Hopedale community. Ann Robinson was appointed as the new director.
Fred Elias from Prout Engineering spoke with us in regards to a proposed study for a handicapped
entrance to be located in the Archives Room.*
The Apple IIe computer was replaced. Over twenty new programs as well as donated programs were
used by 62 adults and children. A pamphlet file was initiated in July with the donation of an oak file
cabinet by the Friends. The library began to receive compact discs from the Regional Office in March.
The Friends framed a historical map and worked on the historical collection. The Friends book sale
enabled them to purchase a large bulletin board, oak file cabinet, display case, folding table, and a
1988 – The Friends continue to support the restoration of the historical collection by having three
historical atlases restored.
The dumbwaiter will be fixed by Fran Hanam for the cost of material.*
1989 – Ann Robinson resigned her position as library director after eighteen months of excellent
On May 10, over 150 people viewed the Hopedale film, “Reflections of the Past.”
Many emergency meetings were held by Gail Mikolaycik and Nancy Cyr during the summer months
trying to replace Ann Robinson who handed in her resignation in July. Elaine Malloy was appointed as
director in September.*
The program room was painted, bookcases added and carpeting installed, thus providing meeting
space for interested groups.
The Friends of the Library donated many useful items this year – a new sign listing hours of operation,
a new bookcase, an oak table, a dictionary stand, and brass name plates for the portraits. A magazine
rack, a paperback book rack, an A-V cart, a film machine table, and librarian’s chair were bought for
the Children’s Room. New draperies were purchased for the Trustee’s Room and the director’s office.
1990 – A new gas heating system has been installed. Also, windows were reglazed and painted.
Friend’s donations included an Encyclopedia Britannica, glass for the table in the trustee’s room, the
Civil War video tapes, a paper cutter, an oak filing cabinet, a new vacuum, and passes to several
museums. The Friends also framed a picture of the library and paid for repairs on the grandfather
clock and the lawn mower. A special thank you to the person who anonymously donated funds for the
new and much needed book drop. (Now it can be told – the donor was Helen Shimkus.)
1991 - The Hopedale Foundation again supplied passes to the Boston Museum of Science and the
Aquarium. A special thank you to the patron who saw the need for a flag at the library and donated one.
1992 – The Friends of the Library purchased the Compton’s Encyclopedia, the Junior Britannica, two
wall maps, five Weekly Reader programs for the computer, a computer trolley, a flag, a clock for the
Program Room, a glass top for a table, Christmas decorations, two cases of archival paper, and
passes to the Danforth Museum, Garden in the Woods, Worcester Science Center and Boston by
Foot. Plaques, donated by the Friends, were presented to those in the Brownie Troop of Pat Mitchell
and Tina O’Connell, and to those in Wendy Sullivan’s Daisy Troop who participated in the clean-up.
The nucleus of this commendable group included Maureen Lutz, Claudia White, Ginny Griffin, Nancy
Hession, Sue Goddard, Ross Mazzarelli, Thelma Swanson, and Cheryl Overs.
1993 – A Tea for Senior Citizens was held at the library in early December. Approximately seventy
people attended. A tree, decorated with handmade ornaments crafted by Elaine Malloy and Ann
Englund, were distributed as favors. This tremendously successful event was sponsored by the
Friends. All agreed it should be a yearly happening.
Hopedale selectmen recently presented a plaque to Mrs. Marjorie Hattersley, children’s librarian, in
appreciation of and honoring her for 40 years service to the library.*
1994 – The Bancroft Memorial Library pays tribute to Marjorie E. Hattersley. She served the town for
more than half a century. Mrs. Hattersley began working at the library in 1928. In 1938, she left to raise
her family. On September 1, 1953, she returned as Children’s Librarian. She remained in that capacity
until her retirement on March 31, 1994. Sadly, Mrs. Hattersley passed away on June 13, 1994.
Hopedale has lost a truly dedicated servant.
A plaque will be placed outside the door of the Children’s Room of the library which will hereafter be
designated as the Marjorie Hattersley Children’s Room.*
Dorothy Suszanska again volunteered her services every other Monday to conduct evening story hours.
Jammie Time always attracted a huge audience. Dorothy also organized a Children’s Art Show, which
was held at the library.
1995 – The annual Spring Clean-Up was successful with Ross Mazzarelli, Nancy Hession,
Rosemarie Trevani, the Robert Colcord family, Sue Ciarimicoli and sons, and Girl Scouts Elizabeth
Mitchell and Laurie and Carly Moniz.
The Christmas Tea for Senior Citizens, our third, had an attendance of 97.
The library is proceeding toward automation of services. An on-line affiliate membership was
established this year with CW Mars. A retrospective conversion of the shelf listings is being conducted
so that Hopedale’s holdings will be included in the CW Mars database. Under the direction of David
Williams, a public computer resource center has been set up with software for word processing,
publishing, research, games, and a music program with a 120-voice synthesizer. Both patron
computers are linked to the Internet.
1996 – The library is proceeding with the phase-in process of making the facility accessible to the
physically challenged. The entrance at this point is near completion. The next step calls for an
accessible restroom. Retrospective conversion of the library’s shelf listings into the CW Mars
database continues, eventually leading to automation of services.
The Hopedale Foundation sponsored a cooperative project between the Hopedale and Millbury
libraries, The Mill Town Library, a Photographic Exhibit. The thirty-eight photos, poster size, are now
traveling to different locations in the Blackstone Valley for viewing. The Foundation also, in addition to
generously supporting the Friends of the Library, provided passes to the Boston Museum of Science,
the Boston Aquarium, and the Sports Museum.
The Bancroft Memorial Library continues to be a popular place to hold meetings. Several scout troops
met on a weekly basis. The library also provided space for a children’s art show that was sponsored
by Laura Williams. In September the library was the setting for a luncheon for the Society for the
Preservation of New England Antiquities. The event was sponsored by the Hopedale Foundation and
co-hosted by Barbara Kochon, Town Clerk, and Elaine Malloy, Library Director. Lee Packard, portraying
Reverend Adin Ballou, made an appearance.
The Friends of the Library provided passes to the Heritage Plantation, New England Science Center,
Southwick’s Zoo and the Discovery Museum. They also sponsored the Christmas Tea, the reptile
show, a magician, Louise May Alcott, Lunch with Santa, author Susan Meddaugh, and the Native
Voted – To name the Trustee’s Room in honor of Howard Smith, a former library trustee who served
for many years.*
1997 – The Board of Trustees remained the same – David Williams, Chairman, Roger Edwards and
Frederick Oldfield. Staff includes Elaine Malloy, Director, Elaine Kraimer, Children’s Librarian, Anne
Mattie, Senior Library Technician, Dot Stanas and Pat Colcord, Circulation, Alexander McCarthy-
Donovan and Jessica Lavigne, Pages, and Walter Manczursowsky, Custodian.
This year mirrored the wave of the future for libraries – a far greater in-house usage (computers and
the Internet) rather than circulation of materials. This is reflected in the fact that nearly one thousand
more people actually visited and utilized library facilities.
The summer reading program, “Catch the Summer Spark,” was successful, having well over one
hundred participants. The winter season included story hours that ran in six-week sessions. Dorothy
Suszanska and Jackie Burberry continued to dazzle youngsters with story and song.
The library is proceeding with the phase-in process of bringing the library into compliance with ADA
regulations. The accessible walkway is completed, and the restroom is near completion. The next
phase includes a stairway and elevator.
The photography exhibit, The Mill Town Library, funded by the Hopedale Foundation, won first prize in a
state-wide contest, sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Association.
1998 – The Christmas Tea for Senior Citizens, sponsored by the Friends, was the biggest and best
yet – one hundred ten attended. People from the churches, town hall, police and fire departments
were present. Helpers included Friends, library staff, Peg Allen, Lenore Doucette and Paula Malloy.
We thank June Wright for her delightful portrayal as Mrs. Clause and Donald Stewardson for his
famous and now traditional role of Santa at the children’s party.
After ninety-nine years, air-conditioning was realized, and bathrooms were renovated, now with heat.
1999 – The summer reading program, Unlock the Mystery – Read was a success with 105 children
enrolled. Many weekly programs were held, with an average of forty children and twenty parents at
each event. Kudos, Mrs. Kraimer!
On August 15, 1998, a Centennial Celebration was held on the side lawn. This was accomplished
through funding from the Hopedale Foundation and hard work of the Friends. All food items reflected
yesteryear prices – five cents. A postal worker stamped envelopes with a commemorative cancellation
stamp, depicting the library. Centennial tee-shirts were also sold. Children played games of long ago.
Over six hundred attended.
In November, thirty-eight descendants of Mr. Clare Draper held a family reunion. Paul Curran of Milford
coordinated a tour of Hopedale for them. The library was designated as the last stop. Mrs. Malloy
prepared and hosted a luncheon. She was assisted by Hilda Hammond, Judy Brown and Mary Saras.
Replicas of the Little Red Shop, made by the director and her husband, Dan, were distributed as
favors. The group enjoyed viewing old materials and scrapbooks about the Draper family.
2000 – Renovations at the library to bring the facility into compliance with ADA regulations continued
this year with the installation of a new stairway and limited access elevator. The project, phased in
over several years, is now completed.
Funding is now in place to refurbish the Statue of Hope Fountain. Susan Preston Draper, when she
presented the statue in 1904, charged the town with its care and maintenance. It’s gratifying to see
that long-ago commitment being honored.
On December 14, 1899, Joseph Bancroft wrote a letter, turning the library over to the Town of
Hopedale. A reenactment was held on December 14, 1999. Over one hundred twenty guests helped
the library celebrate this historic event.
2001 – The Statue of Hope Fountain project is now complete. This was accomplished through a
preservation grant secured by Representative Marie Parente, town appropriations, assistance from
the Hopedale Foundation, and fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Hopedale Library. Elaine Malloy
secured a grant from the Blackstone Valley Corridor to obtain a bronze plaque denoting the fountain’s
history. Walter Swift was awarded the contract to refurbish the garden. To further enhance the
grounds, Daniel Klinkman, who is seeking the rank of Eagle Scout, approached the Trustees about
creating a small garden near a tree at the edge of the lawn area. Two granite benches will be installed
for people to visit and rest.
2002 – The search for a new Library Director was made necessary by the retirement of Elaine Malloy,
who left the position after thirteen years of service. Malloy was honored for her dedicated service to the
Library and the Town at the spring Town Meeting. In September the Library Board appointed Beth
Hoffer as Library Director. Hoffer holds a Master’s Degree in Library Science and is an experienced
Two long-time members of the library staff retired this year. Dot Stanas left after fourteen years, and
Anne Mattie had served on the library staff for twenty-six years.
Children’s programs offered by Children’s Librarian Elaine Kraimer included weekly story hours, a
“pajama” story time, the summer reading program, a puppet workshop, “Fun with Science” with Dan
Malloy, a Tie-Dye workshop hosted by Wendy Sullivan, “How the Stars Came to Be,” sponsored by the
Arts Council, Pioneer Days with the help of Donna Kenton and Elaine Malloy, Herbs with Terry Swain,
Jay Mankita’s Amazing Time Travel Show, Dorothy Suszanska’s ever popular Teddy Bear Picnic, and
“Owl Moon” programs, and many more.
2003 – The members of the Board of Trustees of FY03 were Nancy Verdolino, Chair, Edward Spillars,
and Frederick Oldfield. At the end of the year, Spillers stepped down at the end of his term. Katherine
Wright was voted Trustee during the Town elections.
Pandora Pillsbury and Sara Sartori joined the library staff. Wendy Sullivan was promoted to the
position of Senior Library Assistant/Technical Services.
A $10,000 matching grant was awarded to the library to be used for the repair of the library’s leaded
2004 – The project on leaded glass windows was completed by Art Glass of America. Painting of the
trim on the windows and the front door was also done. The book drop was refurbished and repainted
to match the trim. The new library sign was designed and erected by Rocco Caballero of Cavallaro
Signs through donations from the Friends and the family of James H. Young.
2005 – The Trustees would like to express their sincere appreciation to the staff of the library for their
cooperation during the summer months when the search for a new Library Director was conducted.
Their efforts kept the library operating smoothly as they assumed tasks that they do not normally
perform. Many thanks to Elaine Kraimer, Wendy Sullivan, Pandora Pillsbury, Sara Sartori and Walter
Manczurowsky, Sr. as of September 7, 2004, Merrily Sparling, the new Library Director, assumed her
duties and immediately jumped into the work needing to be completed.
The major accomplishment of the year was the implementation of the online circulation system with
the Central and Western Massachusetts Resources Sharing (CWMARS) Network on November 1,
Eagle Scout Project – Steven Mazzarelli, Eagle Scout candidate, completed an inventory of the library's
collection of historical materials.
2006 – A pilot project called “Digital Treasures” was offered by CWMars library network and allowed
the library to digitize twenty photos of early Hopedale on the Digital Treasures website.
2007 – The library has been busier than usual at times during the past year as our colleagues at the
Milford Town Library renovate their building. While Milford was closed during part of the year, the
Hopedale library hosted Milford patrons and provided passes to their residents from their own pass
program. Our staff is pleased to be of assistance to our neighboring community and hope that many
will continue to visit Hopedale’s beautiful library.
The Library has been awarded a Planning and Design Grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library
One piece of new technology, Playaways, provides unabridged books on a small device about the size
of a deck of cards, and requires only a set of “earbuds” to listen to an entire book without any other
2008 – The library continues to expand services to the public by making wireless Internet services
available to anyone with a laptop computer and a wireless card.
Merrily Sparling, our Library Director, retired June 30, 2008. The Board of Trustees would like to thank
her for her years of service and wish her well in her retirement.
2009 – Ann Fields assumed the duties of the Library Director on September 22, 2008. A native of
North Carolina, she came to Hopedale after working as Library Director in Rogersville, Tennessee,
and as a Reference Librarian in Abington, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The library was open 36 hours a week (except during July and August) and averaged 490 patron visits
per week. Our terrific volunteers donated in excess of 550 hours and our Senior Tax Program workers
put in many hours keeping the books shelved and assisting with an assortment of library jobs.
Computer use has continued to increase with an average of 28 people per week using the three
computer stations. More people are coming in to use our wireless connections to the Internet, and the
library has added three laptop computers which connect to the wireless system for patron use in the
library and a wireless printer. We now have library catalog computers on each level so patrons can
find locations and call numbers for materials in the library.
In June, Mrs. Kraimer started her 16th year as Children’s Librarian here and the Children's Room
continues to be a busy area. Total attendance at 74 children’s programs was 2,205 children and
In October the leaded glass window restoration was finished and the final three windows installed.
The painting of Governor Eben Draper which has been with an art restorer for four years has been
returned and is in the library’s Reading Room.
2010 – In tough economic times, free access to books, DVDs, books on CD, magazines, online
databases, online encyclopedias and high speed Internet is an increasingly valuable community
asset. The Bancroft Memorial Library continues to provide an excellent variety of materials and
services to the citizens of Hopedale through the dedication and hard work of the Library Trustees,
Friends of the Hopedale Library and Library Staff.
Bancroft Library - more history Bancroft Library Website Statue of Hope HOME
Hopedale Library at the Town Hall
Library Reading Room at the Town Hall
The Bancroft Memorial Library
has presented two bronze tablets to be placed at the (town hall) outside entrance. They bear in raised
letters the words, 'Public Library and Reading Room - Free to All.' The Dutcher Temple Co. has
finished them and firmly secured them to the building. The material, aluminum bronze, is imperishable
and the invitation will never grow old. We have never heard questioned the absolute freedom of Public
Libraries from sectarian or political influences, except perhaps in the composition of boards of
management, and whatever these may be, the searcher for knowledge in a free public library is given
the book he asks for and may read what he pleases." For the Library Trustees, William N. Goddard,
secretary, February 1, 1889.
The plaque was at the town hall where the library was located, until the opening of the Bancroft Library
in 1899. About fifteen years ago it was retrieved from there and can now be seen above the inner front
door at the Bancroft Library