55 Years at Perkins: Julian H. Mabey's Story

A chart with three columns listing activities over the years. The final column shows that the increasing number of activities produced fewer delinquencies.

A chart prepared by Julian Mabey comparing the increasing number of activities in the boys' department to the number of decreasing delinquencies.

September 20, 2017

Last spring, we received an inquiry from someone who noticed a plaque on a podium in Dwight Hall. The plaque was inscribed with Julian H. Mabey's name and noted his lengthy tenure at Perkins. Given how long he was at Perkins, we were curious about what he did during his time here.

Julian H. Mabey was born in 1867 in New Brunswick Canada and immigrated to the United States in 1883. He became a naturalized citizen on October 6, 1903. In 1940, he and his wife still lived in Watertown and Mr. Mabey served on the Watertown Town Meeting. He died on December 24, 1955. 

Mr. Mabey is listed as a staff member in the Annual Reports every year from 1893 until 1944. The Annual Reports, in fact, are where we learned more about Mr. Mabey. Here are some examples of what we found:

The 1892 Annual Report includes a report from Director Michael Anagnos that “Mr. Julian H. Mabey, who has been employed in the boys’ workshop since my return from Europe, proves to be a valuable assistant in more ways than one.”

In the 1906 Annual Report, the Director describes Mr. Mabey as a “skilled and energetic instructor.”

In 1909, the Annual Report describes the work that Mr. Mabey did with Tom Stringer: “But [Tom Stringer’s] main stay must always be industrial work of some kind. Tom is beginning the present term without a special teacher. His time has been allotted among several who can help, --especially Mr. Mabey, our instructor in manual training, who will strive to discover something Tom can do in his shop by which he can begin to earn.”

Director Edward E. Allen also included a chart in 1909 that was prepared by Mabey comparing the “activities of the boys’ department at South Boston and demonstrates how wholesome life there has been, increasing activities producing decreasing delinquencies.” 

The chart is labeled to explain that it is “showing the introduction and grown of various lines of school activity, with its consequent influence upon delinquency.” The chart displays book circulation (representing, apparently, voluntary reading), the numbers in certain activities such as athletic club, social games, music, tuning, sloyd, caning, and industrial training. The data was tracked over three years: 1899, 1904, and 1909, each in a column. Additional activities including voluntary industrial work were added in 1909. The final line of the chart notes that the average delinquency declined when more activities were added. In 1899, “15 1/5 average delinquency” while one “2 average delinquency” in 1909. 

The 1940 Annual Report announces that Mr. Mabey received a gold watch to honor his 50 years of services and notes that, “he is still going strong and plans to carry on for more years to come.” His retirement was announced in the 1945 Annual Report, after 55 years of service. 

Mr. Mabey's name on the Dwight Hall podium serves as a reminder that Perkins history is all around us and we never know where we’ll find it on campus.