Herbert E. Ward, class of 1881

Herbert was born in Plainfield, NH on February 4, 1862. His parents, both teachers, had studied at KUA before him. Herbert was here for three years and graduated valedictorian of his class. His commencement speech was entitled Ad Altiora Veniamus [Let us come towards the rather high things (in life) – Ms. Almstrom, KUA Latin teacher]. It’s interesting to note that in a class of seven women and two men, the Commencement speaker was Kate A. Sanborn who had been raised in Hanover, NH. Her father was a Dartmouth professor, and was herself an English professor at Smith College and a well-known lecturer of modern literature.

Herbert worked for a short time for his brother in Boston before he became an elementary school teacher in Plainfield, Cornish and Keene, NH. He decided on a change of profession and attended the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and graduated in 1886. He became an accountant with the Tiffany Company of New York City where he worked for 23 years. After a period of illness, he left Tiffany’s and started his own company in New York City, but spent his summers in Plainfield, NH.

In 1924, seriously ill, he returned permanently to his Plainfield home on the River Road. He was elected to the state legislature in 1930 where he served one term. To this day, the name Herbert E. Ward is well known by Plainfield Elementary School teachers and students. He was the man who established a trust fund of $1000 to provide annual prizes for essays written by eighth graders on such subjects as patriotism, politics, or cultural events, which were to be given at their graduation ceremonies. He also established trust funds for three of the town churches and for the “worthy poor” and local cemeteries.

Herbert was a classmate and friend of Carrie Brown Coolidge and enjoyed the opportunity of visiting with her stepson President Coolidge at the White House. He received the following telegram, printed in the 1928 Bulletin of Kimball Union Academy, that the editor felt expressed the President’s high regard for his stepmother. “The filial devotion of the son shown in his taking thought to send the appended telegram to Mr. Ward to be read at the Commencement exercises of her Alma Mater bears ample testimony to the success she attained in the important role she was called upon to play and the strength and richness of her character.”

The White House
June 11, 1928
To Herbert E. Ward,
Meriden, N.H.

Please extend to the graduates and alumni of Kimball Union Academy my cordial good wishes and greetings. May this Commencement mark the beginning of a period of renewed usefulness and service for the school.
Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Ward died on August 5, 1947. His legacy lives on through the children of Plainfield, NH.

Photo: Unable to locate a photograph of Herbert E. Ward and with thoughts of spring sports about to begin, I’ve chosen a photograph of the 1899 KUA baseball team. The boys’ hometowns were as close to KUA as Meriden and Norwich, VT, and as far away as Illinois and North Dakota. The boy on the left, 2nd row, looking away from the camera was Matthew Ankle (Istaqisica Ishkahula), a Sioux, who came to KUA from Fort Yates, ND, for his junior year, 1898-99. He served in World War I where he was gassed and from which he never fully recovered. Matthew died in 1930 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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