Draper Hall

Warren Fales Draper was born at East Dedham, Massachusetts, fitted for college at Phillips Academy (class of 1843), graduated at Amherst in 1847, and started work at Andover Theological Seminary. Failing eyesight, however, compelled him to abandon his studies, and in 1849 he entered the employ of Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell, printers in Andover. In 1854 he became sole proprietor of the establishment, which he conducted until 1887, publishing more than six hundred volumes, some of which had a very large sale. He accumulated through enterprise and thrift a considerable fortune which he dispensed in charities, his total donations to Andover institutions amounting to over $100,000. He was most generous to Abbot Academy; but he also gave, in addition to the prize fund, a scholarship, a cottage (the Draper), and other contributions to Phillips Academy. He was a notable example, as it has been fittingly said, "of the old New England type of a Christian business man." (Claude Fuess. An Old New England School. A History of Phillips Academy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1917.)

Warren Fales Draper

Both Andover and the Andover press were always fortunate in the type of men who controlled the publishing house and Warren F. Draper, the last and most notable of the long line of names associated with it, carried on the tradition of the "Christian business man." He was a graduate of Phillips Academy in 1843, of Amherst in 1847, and began his studies at the Andover Theological Seminary, but failing eyesight compelled him to resign. In 1849, he entered the employ of Allen, Morrill and Wardwell, then the proprietors of the press, and in 1854 became the sole proprietor. Before he relinquished control in 1887, he had published more than 600 volumes, some of which had a very large sale. He accumulated during his life a considerable fortune, a large part of which he devoted to charitable objects, his total donations to Andover institutions amounting to over $100,000. His most generous gifts were to Abbot Academy, New England's first private girls' school, of which he was trustee and treasurer, but he also gave to Phillips Academy the Draper Prize Speaking Fund, Draper Cottage, and a scholarship. In March, 1904, the Andover town meeting passed a resolution of gratitude to Mr. Draper, who had done so much for the town, and who, on his eighty-fifth birthday, had sent $1,000 to the selectmen to be used for the benefit of the school children. (Scott H. Paradise. A History of Printing in Andover, Massachusetts, Andover: Andover Press, 1931).

In 1832 the press moved to a new brick building situated in front of the present Adams and Bishop halls, where it remained for the next thirty years. Warren F. Draper, its last proprietor, estimated that in its first seventy years the press had published the equivalent of 233 octavo volumes of 500 pages each. More than one hundred titles were written by Andover professors, with a total circulation of 400,000. Nor did the press lack women authors. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, with others, produced books through the Andover press which reached a combined circulation of over a million. Finally, the press handled many assignments outside Andover, such as the publications of the American Tract Society, the Temperance Herald, and Bibliotheca Sacra. In many ways, it was the most outstanding achievement of the Andover Theological Seminary. (Frederick S. Allis, Jr. Youth from Every Quarter. Andover: Phillips Academy. 1979.)

An important part of the campus, literally and symbolically, was and is the "Circle," which was formed when Draper Hall was built in 1890, even before the old Davis Hall was replaced by McKeen, and soon began to be talked about by name. The term was used not only for the walk itself but for the grass plot enclosed by it which, it was authoritatively understood, must never be trod upon except on such great occasions as Commencement in the sunny hours or when it was glorified at night by the ring about it of Japanese lanterns. There was another exception to the rule: Miss Bailey encouraged the girls to stage on the lawn any colorful activities, such as the winding of the Maypole, so as to be seen by Mrs. Draper, whom she called Abbot's fairy godmother, sitting in the window of her house across the way. (Jane B. Carpenter. Abbot in the Early Days, 1959.)

It was also in January, 1919, not long after the death of Mrs. Draper, that the Draper Homestead was opened, furnished as nearly as possible as it had been through the years, and fitted for student use. When the house had been completed in 1869, the local papers commented, "It is worth miles of travel to see the exterior, to say nothing of its internal beauty." There the Drapers lived very frugally and saved their money to give away. (Ibid.)

Mr. Draper, whose service as treasurer follows next, is well remembered by successive generations of students of his time, and the calm, benevolent face in Miss Patterson's portrait has been making its impress upon the girls as they have passed and repassed it. He was the school's greatest benefactor, his gifts amounting in all to at least $100,000, and yet absolutely modest and unassuming. The frugality which he himself practiced, saving that he might give, can hardly be understood by the young people of the present. In the same way, his economy in the care of school funds was painstakingly calculated to the finest point. When he was asked for something which he could not see his way clear to grant, he would often put his hand in his own pocket. Mr. Draper was wise and just, thorough and persistent. His conservatism was balanced by his absorbing desire for the best things for Abbot.

Large plans looking far into the future were under consideration early in this period. Then the Academy and Smith Hall were moved to give room for growth, Draper Hall was built [in 1890] and the campus took on something of its present appearance. As the years went on, the items in the treasurer's books began to show the trembling hand of age, and before he had quite rounded out twenty-five years of service, Mr. Draper laid down his task, though he still remained on the Board. (Ibid.)

The McKeen Sitting Room

There were engaging possibilities in the new Draper Hall, and the first senior class to live there, '91, tried many of them in a real "progressive" party. The guests were received in the precious Senior Parlor and repaired to the Reading Room for the diversion of a game, consisting of drawing animals on a blackboard for jibing critics to name. They went to the dining room for refreshments and to the third floor corridor and music room for dancing!

The Drawing Room

In the following years the dining room was used at such times for various purposes --- for dancing and for tableaux as well as for refreshments. In the event of plays, however, which came to be often introduced as the contribution of the senior-middlers, the party began in Abbot Hall. In 1904 a more formal Senior Reception with outside guests took the place of the family party. At that time, too, with the coming of Davis Hall and its beautiful stage, the senior play acquired a new dignity. There was a gradual growth in importance of dramatics after the building of Draper Hall, following the trend of the times.

Fireplace in the Recreation Room

In the meantime, many other kinds of good times grew up naturally. There were exchanges of courtesies between Draper Hall and Smith Hall, corridor parties, Hallowe'en festivities, divers entertaining devices and games. Some of them were engineered by seniors, and gradually more and more by other groups, such as the Christian Association.

The Senior Parlor

Fräulein Schiefferdecker's students will pleasantly remember the German picnics which she used to arrange at Sunset Rock and elsewhere. She provided charming German prizes for winners in the games --- on one occasion for the four girls who were able to stand before the company and repeat "with perfect composure" a humorous German rhyme. The parties always ended with the singing of German and English songs.

The Music Studio

Just before 1900, following an increased interest in outdoor sports, the custom of Field Day was instituted, which, with its gay class costumes, mascots and all, afforded a new outlet for energy and ingenuity, and gave a chance for more general participation.

The Library

An important date in this story is 1908, when the Draper Hall sitting room, or recreation room, was provided as a social center and formally accepted by the students in a pretty ceremony, described by Miss Kelsey in her "Sketches", of dedicating the fireplace. Dancing after dinner was revived from the old Smith Hall custom of "dancing in the cozy music room while waiting for the mail", and in various other ways family unity was strengthened by this common accessible meeting place. (Ibid.)

For some years there had been a fallow period with few changes in the plant, so that now in preparation for the coming of the new Principal a great deal of modernization was imperatively needed. The Trustees were well aware of this situation and were waiting for an appropriate time to take action; it was hardly credible that it could have been delayed so long. Alterations and improvements made later from time to time will also be noted for the record.

In Draper Hall strategic changes were effected. There had not even been a regular office for the Principal. This essential convenience was supplied by taking over the bedroom which opened from the McKeen Rooms. Then a suite for her, a room and bath, was provided at the end of the south wing. Communication with the outside world had depended in the past on a single telephone in the School Office. An extension in the Principal's Office was at once arranged, and later separate lines for the housekeeping department and the Infirmary, while a private system between buildings saved many steps. Soon an electric clock was added, eliminating the ringing of bells by hand.

The room opposite the School Office, which had sometimes been used for an alumnae guest room, was made into a pleasant sitting room for the Faculty. The Recreation Room for student gatherings was made more attractive by the gift of a window seat and draperies. After the Gargoyle and Griffin Clubs were formed, the shield marked for Club victories was hung there.
The McKeen Rooms were twice enlarged, by the removal of closets and an alcove, to make a straight vista through to the Drawing Room. In the "Mason Drawing Room" (which had at first been handsomely furnished through the generosity of Mortimer Mason, a Trustee) there had formerly been on the right of the entrance an alcove partially shut off from the room, which, because of its semi-privacy, was much in demand on "calling nights" and the first guest to arrive claimed it. The story is told that once the second in line preempted a coveted chair in it by tossing his topcoat on to it over the head of the boy in front of him. Soon after Miss Bailey's coming this alcove was made an integral part of the room, which was redecorated in accordance with prevailing styles.

In 1918 the dining room was completely transformed. With the help of gifts from alumnae groups, draperies and carpet runners were added. The long tables were replaced by small round ones which, as a Courant editorial put it, "gave a sense of intimacy and close relationship" and encouraged a more subdued tone of conversation. This more homelike atmosphere was enjoyed only briefly, for soon the number of boarding students was increased by extra rooming space provided on the fourth floor of Draper Hall and in the newly opened cottages. It was not long before Miss Bailey remarked jocosely, "I am obliged to admit that I do not invite a guest for dinner unless there is a reasonable prospect of sending a girl to the Infirmary!" This crowded condition finally became serious. Alternative remedies were offered. A drastic remodelling of Draper Hall was not then considered feasible. The recurring suggestion for a new dormitory with its own dining facilities always met with protest from Miss Bailey, for it was a matter close to her heart to keep the family tie strong by breaking bread together. It was therefore peculiarly fitting that in the extensive changes of 1941, the spacious dining room should be named in her honor, Bailey Hall. (Ibid.)

Draper Hall, the last building to be added to the Academy in the nineteenth century, was erected on the land which had been purchased in 1877. The stone foundation was completed in November 1888. The opening reception was held on January 21, 1891, but the building had been occupied since September 1890. The funds for this project had been acquired through a subscription drive conducted by Miss Philena McKeen, Principal of the Academy. The major donor was Warren F. Draper, Trustee and Treasurer for many years; consequently, the new building was named Draper Hall in his honor.

The building, set back from and facing School Street, was made of brick with brown stone and terra-cotta trimmings. The front part of the "L-shaped" structure was 156 feet by 59 feet and was three stories high. The "L" portion was 100 feet by 43 feet and four stories high. The architect was Hartwell and Richardson of Boston, the contractor was Hardy & Cole. The contract price was $72,672.

The basement contained the kitchen, pantries, housekeeper's, servants' and janitors' rooms, two laundries and the dining rooms. On the first floor were the Principal's suite, a 20 foot by 29 foot library room, a 36 foot by 18 foot reading room looking out to the famous old oak tree on the lawn, a general parlor the same size as the reading room, a girl's parlor, school office, two housekeeper's rooms and sixteen bed and study rooms. The entire second floor was occupied by 33 bed and study rooms. Eleven music rooms and 14 bed and study rooms accounted for the third floor and a suite of four art rooms, six servant's rooms and trunk rooms comprised the fourth floor.

The bed and study rooms consisted of a large parlor and either a separate bedroom or a bed alcove. Each girl's room was fitted with an oak bureau with mirror, a commode, table, two chairs with flag seats, an iron bedstead painted white and a rattan couch.

The 40 foot by 40 foot dining room located in the basement was reached by a winding staircase in the round tower.

The Library contained a number of works which were donated to the Academy and included books published by Mr. Draper and donated by him. The furniture for the Library was donated by the November Club of Andover. The Reading Room was supplied with furniture by the Classes of 1881 and 1882 and contained the Jackson Memorial Library in Memory of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. S. C. Jackson. The Senior's Parlor opening off the Reading Room contained cabinets, casts, photographs, pictures and rare art books.

The students of Phillips Academy donated a fine English hall-clock which was positioned on the broad landing of the south staircase.

The McKeen Memorial Rooms on the first floor were alloted to the Principal of the school for her residence. The design of these rooms was in a quiet phase of the Byzantine Romanesque. The principle decoration was a brick panel in the mantel which was sculptured to represent "Search for Truth". The fireplace in the room was a round arch and the woodwork of the rooms was quartered oak. The music rooms on the third floor were constructed to be soundproof. The walls were padded, the floors were doubled and double doors were installed.

Unfortunately the frugality with which the building was first constructed left it short on radiators and electric fixtures and its fire protection and hot water systems were entirely inadequate. Warren Draper himself came back from retirement as Trustee Building Superintendent in 1897 to help salvage his Hall.

On July 24, 1896, Draper Hall was badly damaged by fire. The blaze originated at about 10 A.M. at the foot of the clothes chute in the basement and was attributed to spontaneous combustion. The fire was contained and extinguished fairly rapidly but not before about $10,000 damage had been done. The loss was covered by insurance and repairs were made in sufficient time to permit normal school opening in the fall.

A new infirmary was furnished in Draper Hall in 1896 by the Abbot Club.

The Dining Room was completely transformed in 1918 and the long rectangular tables were replaced by small round ones. This change led to a more congenial atmosphere among the students.

In the 1930's the effects of the pinch-penny construction were already beginning to tell. The foundation under the dining room staircase began to sag, the supports buckled and the staircase leaned. This problem was fixed by a new concrete foundation and steel bracing. A great deal of the fourth floor space was lost because of fire regulations. There were major plans for a new Draper Hall but as a result of the 1938 Recession they had to be severely curtailed. The Trustees had to reduce these plans to the removal of the top two floors and the construction of a new roof and exterior in the Bulfinch style. Two wings were added in 1941 but the roof project was abandoned after the builder discovered that the west foundation was weakly made of "field boulders poorly laid with large voids" and had to be rebuilt.

This remodeling activity of 1941 added two new sections to Draper Hall. In one new wing a new library was built to accommodate the Academy's collection of about 12,000 volumes; it is a memorial to Emily Adams Means, Principal from 1898 to 1911. It also contains a 100 foot by 40 foot main reading room and a leisure reading room panelled in American knotty pine and artistically furnished. This leisure reading room is a memorial to Rebekah Monroe Chickering, teacher of English from 1898 to 1937. Above these rooms are two floors of students' rooms.

The other new wing which connects the library wing with the old wing contains a charming Colonial dining room which can seat the entire school. This room is a memorial to Bertha M. Bailey, Academy Principal from 1912 to 1935.

Following the merger of the Academies, Draper Hall became a boy's dorm. It closed after the 1976-77 academic year. Plans are in process to convert the building for use as apartments. (Robert A. Domingue. Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. An Illustrated History of the Property (including Abbot Academy). Wilmington, MA: RAD Publishing, 1990.)