A few recollections about my father's career in Draper Corp. There are a couple of really priceless
anecdotes to be included, but I won't write a book this time.
Claude Franklin Snider was recruited from the US Patent Office in Washington DC some time in about
1931, give or take, to be the Patent Attorney. First home was in Bancroft Park, but the family moved to
31 Hopedale St. before I was born in January, 1933. Our home was half a block from the main office,
which leads to Anecdote #1.
In the habit of going back to the office after dinner to get some work done in the quiet of the evening,
Claude Snider was sitting at his desk one evening in November. No other lights were on but for his
office. While he was deep in thought, Claude became aware of a figure standing in the doorway, and
he looked up to see B. H. Bristow Draper, Chairman of the Board standing there, overcoat on, hat in
"What are you doing," asked Mr. Draper mildly.
As he recounted the story later, my father replied that he had wanted to summarize the notes on such-
and-such a case, then clean up another matter, and so on. Mr. Draper listened politely, not saying
anything until the explanation was over. Then he drew himself up to his full height and said,
"Mr. Snider. At this time of night, your place is at home with your family. Now, if you can't handle your job
in normal working hours, we'll find someone who can. Is that clear?"
For the rest of his life, Mr. Snider was very rigid on the point of working normal hours, and had many
explanations of why extended workdays, heroic hours, etc. were not only unproductive, they were
symptomatic of undesirable work habits.
Some time in the 1940s he was elected to the Board of Directors, and not long after became Secretary
of the Corporation. He took on the added role of Treasurer in the early 1950s. When a heart attack put
him in the hospital for a while in '53 (?), at one point he asked his doctor if he could have his secretary
come in for a few hours a week because he was falling somewhat behind!
While I was growing up, more people worked for Draper Corporation than lived in the town of
Hopedale. (Population 3,175 at one point while I was still in grade school) Consistent with the story of
C. F. Snider's late evening in the office, the general sociological climate in the town was sometimes
described as a 'benevolent dictatorship'. Once, a feature article about Hopedale in the Boston Herald
started with the words, "This almost feudal community..."
As a school child, my impression was that, five minutes before you even thought of doing something,
the whole town was gossiping about it!
Claude Snider was an intensely private person, with not a shred of ostentation or self-importance. He
never lost touch with his roots as the son of the village blacksmith in Weston, Oregon ( pop. 400).
When he retired in 1959, his duties were assigned to 3 people, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a
Controller. Fair to say that he and Erwin Darrin were the two strongest powers supporting Tom West in
his years as President.
I promised I wouldn't write a book this time, and meant it.
Old New England Saying "If it takes longer than 40 hours, there's something wrong with the man or the
Go right ahead with that story, and any others I might send along. My youngest, Melissa Snider, has
promised to compile the family oral history when I give her the material (ahem, ahem!). My mother,
Melissa Snider, named her youngest Melissa Claire Snider, so it's only right that I should name my
youngest Melissa Marie Snider. We like to do successive generations of things. Tracing back, I have
found five generations in a row on my mother's side where someone was born on a Friday 13th. My
sister and I are two in my generation. We broke the chain, though, unless you count my middle son
who was born on Halloween. (Does a backwards 13 count?) I don't gamble, and can't afford
Speaking of Draper looms, there's a story I've never verified about Japanese looms. It was said that a
team of Japanese people came over in the late 1930s and bought a number of different looms, but
they bought only one of each kind. After the War, the story has it that whole factories of identical (to
Draper) looms were found in Japan.
December 31, 2008
At work this morning, I took a few minutes to browse your latest email and wandered onto the page of
The Larches. In that crumpled-up shot of the dining room is my father! He is looking to his left at
something Tom West has (hidden by the man back-to). I can't place the 4th man at the table, but you
might have a candid of four Draper executives there!
A little earlier in my wanderings I saw the portrait of Bristow Draper. One very similar to that - except
that he had a cigarette in his hands! - hung in our living room for years. I still have it, and will do some
Photoshop restoration to make up for years of fading. As I recall, the portrait we had was sent one
Christmas to directors, managers and such.
Thanks for the memories!
Draper Menu Memories Menu HOME
man with his back to the camera. Draper president
Tom West is at the same table, on the right.
Claude Snider delivering Draper Corporation report for 1956-
57 to the Town of Hopedale at the Draper Gym. Tom West is
on the left and Edwin Darrin to the right of Snider. At the far
right is Draper head of personnel, Hamilton (Ham) Thayer.
Claude and Melissa Snider at the airport in St. Croix, 1965