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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
Death is my neighbor now
Linda Hixon
October 9, 2018

As the second week of October, 1918, began, the saying “Death is my neighbor now” could not have been more apt. By this time 100 years ago, Hopedale had seen its fifth confirmed influenza death, plus two more deaths that could be attributed to the flu.  Three of the seven deaths were workers from Draper Corporation. But the adjacent town of Milford was reeling from the pandemic.  By October 9, 1918, Milford, a town roughly five times the size of Hopedale, had seen 57 confirmed influenza deaths, plus another eight deaths to pneumonia which was often the end result of “the grip,” and three stillborn babies.  Five of these deaths were men who worked at Drapers, along with three employees of the Hopedale Manufacturing Company.  All but one of these Hopedale workers lived in Prospect Heights in Milford. Hopedale and… [continue reading]

The Littlest Victims
Linda Hixon
October 5, 2018

Photo by Linda Hixon

All of the victims of the influenza pandemic of 1918 were innocent – this was the flu, not the war, and this pandemic killed people simply living their everyday lives.  But this week in Hopedale history, a truly innocent victim was taken by this flu. On October 5, 1918, a baby was stillborn.  Hazel Barbour Davenport, the mother of the unnamed boy, was suffering from influenza and died of Broncho pneumonia on October 13, just eight days after her son.  The local newspaper at the time appears to have gotten the facts of this tragedy wrong.  The Milford Gazette noted Hazel’s death – she was 27, the wife of George Albert Davenport, and “had been married about three years and leaves besides her husband and mother, two small daughters, one only a few days old.” But the death records are… [continue reading]

Suffrage and Spanish Flu
Linda Hixon
September 27, 2018

On September 27, 1918, the local Suffrage club decided to hold a sale of “fruit, vegetables and war-time cooking” at the home of Mrs. Arthur Foster. Their timing couldn’t have been worse. The Milford Daily News noted that Bancroft Memorial Library was closed that week “on account of the grip epidemic.” In fact, the arrival of Spanish flu in Hopedale was causing several disruptions. The “no school signal” had sounded out of fear of the flu spreading to the children, and the Red Cross headquarters were closed “on account of the epidemic of grip.” Already, 400 employees were ill at the Draper plant. The first death in town, a Draper worker named Walter James Morton, died that very day. The Hopedale Sewing Circle did not meet in October of 1918 because of the pandemic. The Sewing Circle record was mum… [continue reading]

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