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Hopedale Women
The official site of the Hopedale Women's History Project


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About Us

In 1848, the women of Hopedale began a group – and a tradition. They started sewing to raise money for abolitionism. Later, they used their needles to help their neighbors. They sewed for the less advantaged or sold their work to raise money for causes close to their hearts – widows, orphans, even the Contrabands, those slaves who escaped their masters during the Civil War to the safety of the Union lines.
That tradition continued. Hopedale has an almost unbroken 150 year record of women sewing and raising money for beneficent causes, helping the needy both within and outside their community.
The Hopedale Women’s History Project seeks to unlock that record and follow the voices of these strong, benevolent women. Our goal is to tell the story of Hopedale through the eyes – and words – of its women. It’s a story that is ready to be told filled with voices that need to be heard.
Latest posts
Linda Hixon
February 13, 2021

The Hopedale Women’s History Project is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization! It has become obvious that finding, saving and sharing women’s history is now more important than ever.  HW is currently working on several community history projects, including the story of the women of the original Hopedale Community, Hopedale during the “Roaring Twenties,” and coming to terms with Hopedale’s racist past. If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities – transcribing handwritten records, doing genealogical research, conducting oral histories – please contact Linda Hixon at hopedalewomen@gmail.com for more information.

The Dread Influenza
Linda Hixon

The influenza pandemic of 1918 was the largest loss of human lives in the shortest span of time. So many died that the exact death toll is unknown – mostly due to inconsistent records but also because of the devastation of the Great War, which was still raging as the pandemic hit. Milford, Massachusetts suffered losses above the average for an American town. Many who died were poor immigrant workers living in the Plains and Prospect Heights sections of town. This was not a democratic disease.  Few wealthy people died of “the grip.” Its victims were the working poor and their children. Between September, 1918 and the end of that year, 105 Milford residents died officially of influenza, with dozens more dying of pneumonia. Almost two dozen babies were stillborn, six taking their mothers to the grave. The Hopedale Women’s… [continue reading]

Where are their voices?
Linda Hixon
June 13, 2019

Anna Bancroft grew up in Hopedale.  Born in 1853, she was college educated and active in town, serving on boards and taking part in local women’s groups.  Yet none of her personal letters can be found. In fact, we’ve only found the group records of women with last names like Draper, Dutcher, Northrop, and Osgood, and we’re starting to wonder why? The Hopedale Women’s History Project is looking for the personal writings of women from all walks of life who lived or worked in Hopedale.  We don’t care if the words are a century old or written a decade ago, all women’s voices are important.  Please contact hopedalewomen@gmail.com or like us on Facebook at Hopedale Women. Here’s a list of names that repeat in the Sewing Circle records for generations, and these are just a few of the surnames of… [continue reading]

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