The Rices & the Brattleboro Reformer: Chestnut Hill Road

Howard C. Rice

The Brattleboro Daily Reformer. Photo courtesy the Brattleboro Historical Society.

Howard C. Rice was the first editor/publisher of The Brattleboro Daily Reformer, which printed its first edition in 1913 under the ownership of the Brattleboro Publishing Company, of which Rice was a shareholder. The newspaper was founded as the weekly Windham County Reformer in 1876 by Charles N. Davenport and changed ownership three times before it became a daily.

In an historical memoir written for his family in 1958, Rice said the decision to publish a daily newspaper was bold for the time. “Despite the belief of many local residents that we were crazy in our view that Brattleboro would support a daily newspaper, plus our own ignorance of the technique of daily publishing, The Reformer did well from the outset,” Rice wrote. “…Readers accustomed to getting their local news in weekly doses were a bit skeptical of having to read it every weekday evening, but without too much resistance these habits changed.”

Interestingly, another long-time editor and publisher of the Reformer, John S. Hooper married the Rice’s eldest daughter Marion Stetson Rice in 1931 in the rose garden behind the house at 105 Chestnut Hill, which was built in 1912 for Howard Rice and his wife Amy Jones Rice, who resided in there until their deaths in 1965, just 9 days apart.

Marion McCune Rice

Marion McCune Rice. Photo courtesy of Stephen Hooper.

His sister Marion McCune Rice was a World War I American Red Cross nurse for four years and wrote many letters home describing the war and took hundreds of photographs. A documentary film “An American Nurse at War” focuses on Marion Rice’s wartime experience. The film was produced by her grandnephew Stephen L. Hooper, a Brattleboro native who currently lives in Keene, NH. In 1925 she was named director of the Simmons School of Public Health Nursing in Boston. She resided during the summers and retired in a small cottage on the opposite side of the reservoir at 90 Chestnut Hill until her death in 1955.

Howard C. Rice Jr.

Howard and Amy’s son Howard C. Rice Jr. and his wife France Chalufour Rice lived at 160 Chestnut Hill in a house closer to the Retreat Tower. Howard C. Rice Jr. was appointed to the staff of Princeton University Library in 1948 and served as assistant librarian for rare books and special collections, with rank of associate professor, until his retirement in 1970. He wrote several books on Rudyard Kipling and his research papers are housed at the Marlboro College library named in honor of Howard C. and Amy Rice. Interestingly, another long-time editor and publisher of the Reformer, John S. Hooper married the Rice’s eldest daughter Marion Stetson Rice in the rose garden behind the house at 105 Chestnut Hill in 1931.

 

chestnut hill reservoir and Crowell Park and Fresh Air House - 1910

Chestnut Hill Reservoir and Crowell Park and Fresh Air House, 1910. Courtesy Brattleboro Historical Society.

On The Map

105 Chestnut Hill, Brattleboro, VT

Abijah Prince Road

About the Research sites

The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Research Teams – classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours.

Research Team Leader

Steve Hooper

Steve Hooper

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