George Albert Draper
November 4, 1855, at Hopedale, Massachusetts. His early schooling was attained in
private schools, and was effectively supplemented by his father's instructions in
preparation for the part he was destined to play in the noted Draper firm. At the age of
seventeen years he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he
studied for two years. When he was twenty he entered the office of the Draper
Company, remaining as a member of the office force for one year. Young Mr. Draper
then assumed the difficult role of selling agent for the firm, continuing on the road for
two years. He augmented this experience and training by giving his attention to the
financial side of the business, and at the age of thirty-two, in 1887, he became
treasurer of the Hopedale Machine Company. Nine years later he was made treasurer
of the Draper Company, and he held this post until death, having been elected
treasurer of the Draper Corporation when the reorganization took place in November
To the great Draper firm, George Albert Draper brought one of the keenest intellects
in the textile world. With painstaking accuracy he had familiarized himself with all the
details of the business, and much of its success may in a large measure be attributed to
his knowledge of the industry, and his exceptional executive gifts. The Draper firm is a
leader in the manufacturing of textile machines, and to its growth and success Mr.
Draper was deeply devoted, his interest centering in the supervision of the
Besides his office of treasurer in the Draper Corporation, Mr. George A. Draper held
many other positions of executive responsibility He was president of the Grafton and
Upton Railroad, and of the Harmony Mills; director in the Milford National Bank, First
National Bank of Boston, Brogon Cotton Mills Company, of Anderson, North Carolina,
and of the Calhoun Cotton Mills of Calhoun, North Carolina. These last two connections
indicate his active interest in the textile development of the South, in which he made
Mr. Draper was for many years a member of the Republican State Central Committee
of Massachusetts. For two years he served as president of the Home Market Club,
founded by his father, one of the strongest and most influential protective associations
in New England.
George Albert Draper was known as a generous and charitable man, a contributor to
many public enterprises. Together with his brother, the late Governor Eben S. Draper,
he gave to Hopedale the present Unitarian Church in memory of their parents. He
sustained the generous policies of his house in regard to their employees, He was one
of the trustees of the Children's Hospital which benefited by his executive ability and by
his generosity. The imposing Community House was constructed at Mr. Draper's
expense as a memorial to Mrs. Draper and given to the people of Hopedale. He was
very fond of art and poetry, familiar with the classics, and possessed an esthetic
Mr. Draper was affiliated with many Boston social clubs, and was a patron and a
guarantor of the Boston Opera Company, and the Chicago Opera Company.
It was Mr. Draper's custom to spend his winters at his Boston residence, at 297
Commonwealth Avenue. At such times he kept in close touch with the affairs of the
Draper Corporation by his daily visits to Hopedale. Although in somewhat delicate
health after an operation in 1922, he felt strong enough to make plans, a few weeks
preceding his death, for a trip abroad with his daughter, Helen, a journey which was to
take four months. His sudden end at the Phillips House, private wing of the
Massachusetts General Hospital, was a great shock to his family, and to the people of
his beloved town, Hopedale, where no man was held in more grateful esteem.
Died at Boston, Massachusetts, February 7, 1923.
Married at Wickliffe Place, Lexington, Kentucky, November 6, 1 890, Jessie Fremont
Preston, who was born December 12, 1855, died at Boston, Massachusetts, February
11, 1917, daughter of Major General William and Margaret Howard (Wickliffe) Preston.
1. Wickliffe Preston Draper, born at Hopedale, August 9, 1891; was graduated from
Harvard, B.A., in 1913; at outbreak of World War I volunteered in British Army
September, 1914; became first lieutenant, 1st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; served at
Salonica in 1916, Messines and Ypres in 1917; wounded July 4, 1917; resigned from
British Army and returning to the United States became captain in the United States
Field Artillery; was honorably discharged in December 1918; served as a lieutenant
colonel in the United States Army during World War II.
2. Jessie Preston Draper, born December 25, 1892; died at Narragansett Pier,
Rhode Island, August 12, 1894.
3. Helen Howard Draper, born August 12, 1895; died at Dover, Massachusetts, July
27, 1933; married, first, February 10, 1917, Wallbridge Taft [a nephew of President
William Howard Taft ]; married, second, May 24, 1924, Nathaniel F. Ayer, who died July
Draper, Preston and Allied Family Histories, pp. 30 - 41
Draper Tombs, Hopedale Village Cemetery Draper
The Draper Foundation, in memory of her Kentucky-born mother, Mrs. Jessie Preston
Draper. She gave Berea (College) $200,000 from this fund with the stipulation the
money should be used to aid in educating students from Appalachia. Other gifts,
including $50,000 given in memory of Henry C. Munger by his sister, brought the total to
$340,000, with which this colonial-style structure was built in 1938 (modeled after
Independence Hall in Philadelphia).
It contains 24 classrooms and offices for teachers, reading rooms, campus ministry and
the audio-visual aids department. A large projection room and a complete, electronically
equipped language laboratory also are located at Draper.
In June 2000, renovation began on the Draper Building tower for the installation of a 56-
bell Carillon. The carillon is an instrument consisting of bells that can be played like a
piano or organ. The musical instrument weighs 11 tons. The Berea College Carillon is the
largest in Kentucky. http://www.berea.edu/campus-map/draper-building/
This paragraph below on George and Jessie's two children,
Wickliffe and Helen, is from a book about Wickliffe, The
Funding of Scientific Racism by William H. Tucker.
Schenectady Gazette - June 3, 1930
Nashua (NH) Telegraph
September 9, 1930
By the early twentieth century, and possibly a bit before that, the Drapers spent much
of each year living in Boston. Summers were spent in Hopedale and in various resorts.
The above is from the 1886 Assessors' report. Mr. Draper was 31 at the time. By
the time he died in 1923, the list of his assets would have been much longer.
Below - The interior of the George Albert and
Jessie Preston Draper home in Hopedale.