In 1904, Susan Preston Draper, wife of General William F. Draper, presented the Statue of Hope to the Town of Hopedale.  The items below give us some interesting information about the donation.


April 29, 1904
Hopedale, Mass.

Miss Anna M. Bancroft
Chairman, Board of Library Trustees

Dear Madam:

As has been stated to you in private conversation, Mrs. Draper is proposing to present a marble fountain to the Town of Hopedale, the work of the celebrated sculptor Story, which will be a great ornament to our already beautiful village.  Mr. Story has planned placing the fountain between the Public Library and Hope St. Extension, on land that was formerly under the charge of the Park Commission, but is now controlled by the Library Trustees.  I have had the permission of the Park Commission to place the fountain in this position, but owing to the delays I think it wise to receive permission from your Board.  

The matter will be in the hands of Mr. O. H. Lane, and I would be glad to have your co-operation in detail.  I propose to bear all the expense, except the expense of grading afterwards, and of course expect that the water will be supplied by the town, if they desire to have water in it, as I presume they will.  The connections I expect to make.

Please reply before Monday if possible, as I am informed that the fountain has arrived in Boston, and we wish to have it unloaded on the ground.

                                                                                                              Sincerely yours,
                                                                                                              William F. Draper


Hopedale, Mass.
May 5, 1904

Dear Miss Bancroft:

In surveying the lot yesterday morning, the only practicable way of setting the fountain seemed to be the one that the sculptor suggested, – facing Hope St., with the back toward the library.  We tried the diagonal position, which I think, (as you do) might give a better effect, but the fountain was entirely too large, and more than this, the sun would strike it in the back, and the marble man said that the figure would not look at all well without a background.  We have cut Mr. Story’s grades down considerably, and I think it will not affect the appearance of the library at all. As to the water, which you spoke about, Mr. Dunn says that by far the best method will be to connect with the service pipe in the library cellar, (putting on a separate meter, of course), and to also connect with the sewer there, for the waste. Have we your permission to do this?

                                                                                                               Sincerely yours,
                                                                                                               O. H. Lane


                                              Presentation and Acceptance of the Fountain

At the town meeting held November 8, 1904, the selectmen and trustees were appointed a committee to accept a gift of the fountain of Mrs. Wm. F. Draper, who wishes it presented to the town.  The committee met in the trustees’ room of The Bancroft Memorial Library, November 12, 1904.  Mrs. Draper was accompanied by Gen. Draper and Miss Margaret Draper, and presented the gift to the town in the following words:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am informed that the town of Hopedale has made its selectmen and the trustees of the town library a committee to receive in its name the fountain which has been erected on the public library grounds.  For the purpose of making the presentation, therefore, I have asked you to meet me, and I am very glad to turn the fountain over to the town, it being complete and in place.  A winter covering has been ordered for it, and will be included in the gift.

For several years I have had in mind the leaving of a suitable memorial in our beautiful town, and I have felt that omething artistic would be desirable, as you are sure to provide yourselves with everything that is needed of a practical character.  Being well acquainted with the eminent and representative American sculptor in Rome, Waldo Story, I took his advice, and that of others, and decided that a fountain, surmounted by a statue of Hope, would be a suitable embellishment of the town of Hopedale. Artistically I think it is a great success, and I believe the time will come when people will come from far and near to see and admire it.  As a southerner by birth I have given less thought to the utilitarian side, but I hope that the cups of water here furnished will refresh many a tired mechanic or schoolboy in long years to come.

I  hereby transfer the ownership and care of the fountain to you, selectmen and trustees, as agents for the town, and if any papers are thought necessary by your counsel, in addition to this statement, I will gladly furnish them.

                                                                                                                                      Susan Preston Draper


The gift was accepted by Mr. E. A. Darling, chairman of the selectmen, for the committee, as follows:

Mrs. Draper:  In behalf of the town of Hopedale, I have the honor of accepting your generous gift.The town is gratified to have such a magnificent work of art; beautiful in design, wonderful in carving, the work of a master.

This fountain will prove a source of education, with its perfect Carrara marble and its symbols of hope and prosperity and plenty, to us of today and to future generations.  The town appreciates  your gift, thanks you and accepts it in the generous spirit in which it is given, and for it, will ever keep you in grateful remembrance.

 Edwin A. Darling,

Chairman of the committee appointed to accept the gift of Mrs. Susan Preston Draper

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Hope in Story's studio - Rome.
Hope in Hopedale

                                                                         Hope In Rome   

Here’s a little story to go with the photos above. In January 2008, my wife Elaine and I were asked to go to the Bancroft Library to meet with Kathy Lawrence, a professor at George Washington University at the time. Kathy was writing a book about Waldo Story, the sculptor who created the Statue of Hope, and had come to Massachusetts to get a closer look at Hope and some of Story’s other work in the area.  The restoration of Hope was Elaine’s last big project when she was the library director.(Just before she retired in 2001) Also with us that day was Louise Freedman who had been the primary person doing the work on the statue. We spent several hours with Kathy, both in the library and outside, taking a close look at the statue. Since it was January, the statue had its winter cover on, so we had to unzip the door to go in and sort of crawl around on and through the cover framework. When we got back inside the library, Kathy showed us about 40 pictures of Story’s work which she had on her laptop, including the picture above that shows an early version of Hope in Story’s studio in Rome. She made a CD with the pictures and gave it to me, but asked that I not put the one of Hope online until she completed her work on Story. A few years later, I contacted her and she gave permission to use it. At that time she said that she was living in Massachusetts, and added that her husband, Fred Lawrence, was president of Brandeis University.

Below is another chapter of the Story story we learned from Kathy. It seems that just as the Statue of Hope was being created, Story left his wife for opera singer Bessie Abott. The model for the statue, perhaps? I suppose we’ll never know. Story’s wife was from quite a prominent family, and Waldo was also, so the affair became quite a scandal. The general became concerned about the completion of the statue, and wrote the following letter in which he brings up the rumors, while evidently trying not to be offensive. The rumor turned out to be true, but Story managed to find time to complete the statue, which was delivered to Hopedale in 1904. Waldo and Bessie didn’t rush into marriage. That didn’t happen until 1912. Waldo died in 1915. Bessie died in 1919 at the age of 40.

The original letter is at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin. Thanks to Kathy Lawrence for making us aware of it, and to Jean Cannon of the Ransom Center for sending a copy to us. Dan Malloy, August 2011

Above – Bessie Abott

                                           Hopedale Fountain Designer Is Dead

T. Waldo Story, the eminent American sculptor, whose work includes the beautiful marble drinking fountain presented to the town of Hopedale by Mrs. William F. Draper and her husband, the late General Draper, is dead in New York from the effects of a brain clot.

Mr. Story’s work is well known both in this country and abroad. The first statue ever placed in the British House of Commons, the figure of Sir William Vernon Harcourt, placed there in 1906, was his work.  In America his work includes the gold mosaic memorial to Mr. and Mrs. August Belmont in Trinity Church, Newport, R.I., the Hopedale fountain which was done in Rome and shipped here, and the bronze doors of the library of the late J.P. Morgan.

In the latter years of life of his father, William Wetmore Story, the noted American sculptor, who died in 1896, T. Waldo Story was associated in his father’s work and occupied the famous Story studio in the Barberini Palace. Rome, for several years after his father’s death. Milford Daily News, October 26, 1915.

From the Art Inventories Catalog of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Memorial Fountain, (sculpture).
Artist:         Story, Waldo, sculptor.
Title:         Memorial Fountain, (sculpture).
Other Titles:         Draper Memorial Fountain, (sculpture).
Dates:         Dedicated Nov. 8, 1904.
Medium:         Sculpture: Carrara marble; Platform: marble.
Dimensions:         Sculpture: approx. H. 12 1/2 ft.; Platform: approx. W. 27 ft. x D. 15 ft.
Inscription:         STORY – ROMA (On bronze plaque on back of sculpture:)
Description:         An elaborate fountain, with exedra wall and bench seating. In the center, a female figure (symbol of Hope) stands atop an orange fountain basin. The holds a diaphanous cloth above her head with both arms. Below her, the fountain base has a relief of a female face; cornucopias (symbol of prosperity and plenty) and an anchor and three dolphins (symbol of the books held in the library). The central figure is balanced by the symmetrically curved adjacent benches terminating in pedestals surmounted by carved plant forms revealing fruit. Buttressing the pedestals are eagles with their wings full back. The entire fountain rests on a platform four steps above grade.
Outdoor Sculpture — Massachusetts — Hopedale
Owner:         Administered by Town of Hopedale, Hopedale & Hope Streets, Hopedale, Massachusetts 01747
Located Bancroft Memorial Library, 50 Hopedale Street, Hopedale, Massachusetts
Remarks:         The sculpture was presented to the Town of Hopedale by Mrs. Susan Preston Draper. IAS files contain a related excerpt from the Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bancroft Memorial Library, Hopedale, Massachusetts, for the Year ending December 31, 1904, pg. 113-114. The excerpt contains a copy of the dedication speeches. For additional information see: the Milford Journal, April 7, 1908; and Margaret E. Haller’s “Libraries in New England,” Fiskdale, MA: Bookcraft, c1991, pg. 106.
Condition:         Surveyed 1996 April. Treatment urgent.
References:         Save Outdoor Sculpture, Massachusetts survey, 1996.National Park Service, American Monuments and Outdoor Sculpture Database, MA0038, 1989.Monumental News, Oct. 1902, pg. 588.
Illustration:         Image on file.Haller, Margaret E., “Libraries in New England,” Fiskdale, MA: Bookcraft, c1991, pg. 106.
Note:         The information provided about this artwork was compiled as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database, designed to provide descriptive and location information on artworks by American artists in public and private collections worldwide.
Repository:         Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture, Smithsonian American
Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 970, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Control Number:         IAS MA000113

The statue as it used to look during the winter.

This photo shows a discussion that took place early in what became quite a large, complex and expensive project to clean and restore the statue. After the work was completed, a winter covering was made for it, and it is now cleaned annually. The photos at the top of this page were taken after the restoration.

Part of the statue before the restoration work.

I believe it was in 2000 that the winter cover was first made and put over the statue, to prevent damage that the weather had been doing to it for many years. The expensive clean and repair job that had been done the year before was funded largely by the Hopedale Foundation, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the town, and  many private donors.


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