MILFORD, Feb. 27, [1927] -- Is Princess Boncompagni, the beloved Margaret P. Draper, cast for the
    leading role in a drama of real life that may bring about the complete reunion of the Draper family and
    incidentally bring a change in the industrial life of this section?

      This is the question that all Milford and Hopedale are asking today following the meager reports of
    the possibility of the merger of the Hopedale Manufacturing Company of Milford and the Draper
    Corporation of Hopedale.

      On the face of it this fusion of the two industries each among the most important in their respective
    towns, would be nothing more than an ordinary transaction such as big business is accustomed to
    note in passing and then forget.  But in Milford and Hopedale at least, there is a dramatic and romantic
    significance that might well dignify the pen of a playwright.  And in the foreground is the gracious
    democratic figure of this daughter of the late Gen. William F. Draper of Civil War fame.

                                                                          Founded as "Community"

      The setting for this industrial drama goes back to the days of Ebenezer Daggett Draper and George
    Draper.  It was these members of the Draper family who formed the cornerstone of the great industrial
    structure they and their successors have erected in Hopedale.  Back in the 50s they became identified
    with the so-called Hopedale Community, an idealistic co-operative enterprise.  They were among the
    largest stockholders.

      After a time, however, they became doubtful of the success of the industry at Hopedale and wished
    to withdraw.  Their interests ere so large, however, that they were obliged to take the plant of the
    community, assuming the debts and continuing the business as a partnership.  To their surprise,
    however, business prospered and their capital increased.

      When Ebenezer Draper decided to withdraw from the firm his interest were brough by Gen. W.F.
    Draper, eldest son of George.  Gen. Draper in later years served his state in Congress and was the
    Ambassador to Rome.  The firm name when he joined, became George Draper & Son.  In 1877,
    another son was admitted to the firm and the name was again changed, this time to George Draper &
    Sons.  The late Gov. Eben S. Draper was admitted to the firm in 1880.

                                                                        Sons Continue Business

      After the death of the father, the three brothers, Gen. William F. Draper, Eben S. and George A.,
    continued the business which continued to expand and which became world famous for the
    manufacture of cotton looms.  From time to time there came other changes in the firm, with other
    members of the Draper family being admitted to carry on as their fathers had.

       But what interested the people of Milford and Hopedale was the report that there had suddenly
    come a rift in the relations between Gen. Draper and his brothers.  It caused long and earnest
    discussion among the townspeople.  Every movement of the various branches of the Draper family
    was regarded as significant.

      The circle of discussions widened.  From Milford and Hopedale it spread throughout the New
    England industrial world and in society circles of Massachusetts.  It caused a mild sensation, this
    report that a family of such distinguished public service and so all-important in the industrial life of the
    state had come to a parting of the ways, not only in their social life, but in a business way as well.

      This was in 1895 or thereabouts, soon after President William McKinley had sent Gen. Draper to Italy
    as the ambassador.  The added prominence which this appointment gave to the family only increased
    the discussion.

      But from the Draper family there came no word of explanation.  They went about their ways
    apparently undisturbed by rumors that spread.  Hopedale and Milford residents, however, claimed
    then to observe that the cordiality that once had existed between the families was no longer apparent.

                                                                         Gen. Draper Withdraws

      Then came the word that Gen. Draper was no longer associated, at least actively, with the Draper
    Corporation.  He was reported to have gotten out of the company completely and to have disposed of
    his stock.

      The reasons were never made public but various stories gained circulation.  One was that while he
    was in Italy looking after the interests of the United States his salary as an official of the Draper
    Corporation had been drastically decreased, so much so that he was greatly displeased with the
    action.  Still another story had it that he did not like large expenditures of money for experimentation
    purpose during his absence.  [Most accounts have it the other way around - the general favored more
    research while his brothers wanted to lessen the emphasis on it.]

      But whatever the reasons the break between the brothers was no longer a secret and at that time
    formed one of the principal topics of conversation.

       Eventually it led to the formation of the Hopedale Manufacturing Co.  The company during the life of
    Gen. Draper did not attain the prominence that came later, but it was the general who laid the
    foundation for it with the aid of James H. Northrop, who contributed much to the advancement and
    progress of the textile industry through his inventions, principal of which was the automatic loom
    which virtually revolutionized the industry.

      And through the years, while time is said to have softened somewhat the rift between the branches
    of the Draper family it is said that the breach never was entirely repaired until the recent homecoming
    of the Princess Boncompagni, which was followed soon afterward by reports of the pending merger of
    the Hopedale Company. and the Draper Corporation

    .                                                                    Cousins Head Companies

      During the years that have intervened since then, Draper and his brothers dissolved their business
    connections the Draper Corporation has been carried on by sons of the late Gov. Eben S. Draper
    while the Hopedale Company interests have been advanced by sons of Gen. Draper.

      Today B.H. Bristow Draper, son of the late governor is the virtual head of the Draper Corporation, with
    which Eben S. Jr., who has served his state as a state senator is also affiliated, while Clare and
    George O. Draper, sons of Gen. Draper, assist in carrying on the Hopedale Manufacturing Company.,
    of which James Northrop is president.(I believe the last sentence stating that the president of the
    Hopedale Manufacturing Company was James Northrop is incorrect. James had been in California for
    some years by 1927 when that was written, and company publications list Jonas Northrop as the

      The Princess Boncompagni is a half sister of Clare and George O. Draper, being a daughter of the
    general by a second wife.

      Both the Draper Corporation and the Hopedale Manufacturing Company have been engaged in the
    manufacture of textile machinery, the Drapers specializing in cotton looms and the Hopedale
    Company in silk looms.

      Princess Boncompagni, who married an Italian nobleman, while spending much time abroad has
    frequently returned to the scene of her girlhood days.  In Milford and Hopedale she is regarded by the
    poor as a fairy princess because of the charity work she has carried on in a quiet way.  But it was not
    until she came back to the ancestral home a few months ago that Milford and Hopedale began to
    vibrate with the reports that she was seeking to bring about a reunion of the Draper family branches
    and unite them not only in a social way but in an industrial way as well.

                                                                           Princess Deplored Rift

      The Princess, it was reported, had always deplored the rift in the family.  Gifted with a pleasant
    personality she was beloved by all of the Drapers.

       Milford and Hopedale were aquiver with the gossip that the princess had lost no opportunity to
    express her wish that they might all be reunited.  This gossip reached the climax with the report that Mr.
    and Mrs. Clare Draper entertained at dinner for Mr. and Mrs. B.H. Bristow Draper while the princess was
    visiting and that a week later the Bristow Drapers had returned the compliment.  During this time Eben
    S. Draper, jr., was in Europe, it is said, but was apprised of the happenings which, it is reported, had his

      Officials of both the Draper Corporation and the Hopedale Company say that there has been no
    merger, but they will not discuss the report that negotiations are under way which may bring it about.  
    They have no information to give, they reply to all questions.

      It is admitted, however, that some of the employees of the Hopedale Company have been given
    notices that their services will no longer be required.  No large number have been given any specified
    time for completing their services but there has been a gradual dropping of employees, the number of
    which is now about 300.

       In the meantime, Princess Boncompagni is reported to be in Washington watching developments
    with interest.  Her main object, it is said, was the establishment of cordial relations between the
    members of the family. Worcester Telegram, February 28, 1927


      In 1927, Clare Draper, unable to compete with the larger Draper Corporation, closed the Hopedale
    Manufacturing Company and sold the 147 patents his company owned to Drapers for one dollar.  He
    received a seat on the Draper board of directors, the position of manager of the experimental
    department and a sales management position for one of his sons.

      The Worcester Telegram article above suggests that Princes Boncompagni was the prime mover in
    ending the Draper feud.  The clipping was found with other Draper family material that had been saved
    by William (Bill) Draper, the son of Clare Draper.  However, Bill also had the following letter, written to
    the princess by her cousin, Dorothy Draper Gannett.  Dorothy was the daughter of Eben Draper and
    the mother of Bill Gannett.  Bill Draper had been given many of the letters, clippings and papers that
    his aunt, the princess, had  saved, at the time of her death.  I can't be sure what he saved on his own
    and what came from her, but probably the article above and certainly the letter  below came from her
    collection..  Unfortunately, the year isn't given with the date on the letter, but the context indicates that
    Dorothy is trying to "break the ice" and end the feud and hadn't been previously contacted by the
    princess on the matter.  The last sentence in the first paragraph of the letter suggests progress had
    already been made by one of Dorothy's cousins.  Helen was almost certainly Helen Draper, the
    daughter of George A. and Jessie Draper, and according to the letter, was in contact with the princess.

                                                                   Station Post Office and Telephone
                                                                                Hyde Park, Mass.

                                                                                                                                                           Brush Hill Road  

    Dear Margaret,

      It has been very much in my mind and heart during the months since you have returned to this
    country, to want to see you.  I have hesitated, in view of the many years since we used to play together
    in Hopedale, to take the first step toward you, as I do not know what your feelings are about us as a
    family, and about future relations with us all.  But when Helen told me that she was going to stay with
    you, I felt that the past would be allowed to rest as the past and not direct our future course.

      I would like to say very frankly that I would like to see you, that I have only the most friendly feelings
    toward you, and that after all you and I are first cousins, very nearly of the same age, and it seems a
    great pity to me that we cannot be friends with the multitude of early associations of Hopedale which
    we share.

       If you do not feel as I do about this, please say so quite frankly; it is not likely that our paths in life will
    ever be very closely connected and yet when you are in this country, it would be a pleasure to me to
    see you, and to have you know my husband and children.  I am sending this letter to Helen as I am
    not sure of your address, and have asked her to give it to you when she is with you.

      It gives me the opportunity to at least express my real feelings to you, regardless of what your attitude
    may be.

                                                                                                                                        Affectionately your cousin,
                                                                                                                                        Dorothy Draper Gannett
                                                                                                                                        April the twenty second

            Eben Draper's Account of the Feud             The feud and the Hopedale Manufactuing Company    

                                              Draper Menu                                              HOME   

Draper Princess May
Unite Famous Family
And Weld Industries

Hopedale and Milford Hear
Reconciliation Will  Bring Merger
Old Rift Recalled

Separate Concerns Result
of Disagreement of  Years Ago