THE DRAPER ROOM IN THE GROUT-HEARD HOUSE MUSEUM

Evelyn Wolfson & Kate Jenney

(All of the furniture in the Draper room was bequeathed by the Draper family.)

To the right of the front door is the handsomely decorated Draper room, filled with furnishings and paintings belonging to the Draper family. Although no Drapers ever lived in the house, their presence can be easily imagined. The hard work and foresight of Mabel S. Draper helped to convince Raytheon Company to donate the Heard House on Old Sudbury Road to the newly founded Historical Society in1955. She served as the Society’s first curator from 1954 to 1964, chairing the Society’s school coordinating committee. She was also one of the founders of the Wayland Junior Town House, and a much-loved teacher and principal who taught for 32 years at the Center School and later as administrative assistant and guidance director at the Junior High School. When the Grout-Heard House was moved to its present site, she arranged for Charles Malcolm Campbell, a friend, to move into the house and serve as the Society’s first resident custodian. Mabel was born July 31, 1887 at the family homestead on Bow Road. She married Ernest S. Draper and the couple had two children. After Ernest died, at the age of 38, Mabel continued to live in the home of her father, “Pop” Small, at 39 Old Sudbury Road with their children until her death in 1970. During Mabel’s long career in Wayland, she continued to uphold the legacy of four generations of Draper family service to the town. As first curator of the Society, she oversaw restoration of the house and encouraged residents to contribute valuable papers, artifacts and furnishings.

Three significant portraits hang in this room, two side by side on the south wall. They are of James Sumner Draper and his wife Emeline Amanda Draper, painted sometime in the 1830s. Under the Draper portraits sits a Chippendale country style desk made from tiger maple. The desk holds silk worm cocoons, dating from the early 1800s, and a sample of raw silk. The Drapers raised silk worms for silk production but their efforts failed in Wayland’s climate. The third portrait, which hangs above the mantle, is of Abbie [Drury] Draper as a young child. Two silhouettes rest on the mantle: the larger is the father of Emeline Draper, Nathaniel Reeves, who died in 1815, and the smaller, made in about 1800, is Lydia Richards Draper, who died in 1811, mother of Deacon James.

A unique collection box, made by cabinetmaker Samuel S. Noyes, sits on a table between the two front windows. It was used in the First Parish Church. Above the box, is the banjo clock once owned by Malcolm Campbell. On either side of the table is a pair of Chippendale side chairs with rush seats. On the wall, to the left of the clock, is a list of scholars at the Center District School. Among them, are James Sumner and Emeline Reeves Draper.

Against the south wall is a replica of an architect’s desk, which James Sumner and his son Charles had seen in England in 1872. The top slides up and is angled when open. Drawings were held in place by a ledge at the bottom to prevent slippage. There are candle holders on either side which slide open and hold candles when needed for illumination. Above the desk, is a stencil painting on velvet by Eliza Gleason memorializing Abigail and Liberty Gleason, sister and brother, who died in the early 1800s.

The set of china on display in the built-in cabinet next to the fireplace was used at the wedding of Judge Mellen in 1831. On the bottom shelf is a carrying case for tea. In front of the cabinet are a square Queen Anne table and two complimentary Queen Anne chairs.

About 1850, Anna Dudley did the watercolor painting of the Old Red Store which was originally built about 1750 as a two room schoolhouse. Nathaniel Reeves bought it and opened a store after the 1808 Center School was built. Later, Newell Heard ran it for 40 years as a dry goods store. In 1874, Lorenzo K. Lovell purchased the store, built a barn, attached the store to the south end of the barn and enlarged it. It was used as a carriage house for many years and stands today on the original Lovell property on Cochituate Road.

Over the years, many contributions to the Society have made it possible to open the front door of the Grout-Heard House Museum and step solidly into the past.

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Editor’s Note:

Marian Draper (1914-2009) was the daughter of Ernest Sparrell (1883-1921) and Mabel Small Draper (1887-1970). Ernest was the son of
James Austin Draper (1835-1903) and Mrs. Anna Wheeler Wellington (1839-1923), widow of William Dexter Draper (1840-1864). James was the son of James Sumner (1811-1896) and Eveline Amanda (Reeves) Draper (1810-1875). Thus, the portraits are of Marian’s great-grandparents.

For those who may be interested in more details of the Draper family genealogy, our Curator Emerita, Jo Goeselt, maintains records dating from the early 1800’s when Ira Draper moved from Dedham to Wayland and settled on the Wayland-Weston town line, near the present Draper Road.