THE ADELAIDE BREED BAYRD FOUNDATION
Frank A. Bayrd, founder of the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, gathered a group of people at the office of the Malden Evening News on the evening of December 12, 1927, a few months after the death of his mother Adelaide Breed Bayrd. With him were his wife, Blanche S. Bayrd, Edna L. Henneberry (now Sayward), Rev. John W. Ward, Judge Elbridge G. Davis, Joseph Wiggin and David P. Rossiter. Opened with a prayer by Mr. Ward, one time pastor of the Maplewood Methodist Church and a long time friend of the Bayrd family, the meeting heard Mr. Bayrd outline his plan for establishing a Foundation as a memorial to his mother. It was voted to organize a Corporation under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to hold regular meetings, the first meeting starting on February 14, 1928.
Adelaide Breed Bayrd
Adelaide Breed Bayrd was born in the Breed Homestead, Breed’s Square, West Lynn, on February 24, 1843, the thirteenth child of Joseph Breed and Eliza Walden Breed. She was a direct descendant of Allen Breed who founded Lynn in 1634 and was the eighth generation from him. Graduated from Lynn High School in 1857, she was further educated by tutors and studied music. On March 22, 1870, she was married to Captain Arthur Bayrd. Her wedding trip was a voyage around the world on the clipper ship South America, of which her husband was master. During her life she had doubled both Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope and became a complete master of navigation. In the fall of 1872 their ship was wrecked off the coast of France near Dieppe. Mrs. Bayrd was the only woman aboard and was passed over the side of the ship in a boatswain’s chair when the crew was rescued by local fishermen.
When she came to Malden she attended the Maplewood Methodist Church and was for over fifty years a devoted and generous supporter of that church. Excerpts from a tender editorial tribute written by Mr. Bayrd at the time of her death indicates the great and loving regard in which her son held his mother.
“. . . . a thorough academic education supplemented by wide travel, constant study and reading contributed to make her a woman of extraordinary intelligence. She came from the best stock of Puritans, Quakers and later Methodists. . . . Her knowledge of astronomy and botany was extremely wide. She knew the stars and constellations as well as most of us know the names of the streets of our city. She loved trees and flowers. . . . She loved her home and her home village of Maplewood. . . . I am profoundly grateful to God for the long years she has been spared to guide and influence me.”
At the first meeting of the Corporation all of the original group that had met in December were elected Officers and Trustees: Frank A. Bayrd, President; Blanche S. Bayrd, Clerk; Edna L. Henneberry, Treasurer; Judge Elbridge G. Davis, Rev. John W. Ward, Joseph Wiggin and David P. Rossiter. A set of Bylaws was discussed and accepted. A preamble to it authored by Mr. Bayrd outlined the object of the Foundation. It read in part:
“Whereas the life of Adelaide Breed Bayrd was so filled with kindly and charitable deeds toward religious and philanthropic institutions and towards needy and deserving individuals, her son and only child, Frank A. Bayrd, desires to perpetuate her loving memory by establishing a Foundation which may continue to aid those causes in which his mother took an interest and to assist others whose objects would appeal to her.”
A clause in the Bylaws designated that the Maplewood Methodist Church and groups within it, the Deaconess Aid Society and the Malden Home for Aged Persons were to receive gifts each year before all others. This action was taken due to a note dated May 1, 1927, addressed to her son and found among the papers of Adelaide Breed Bayrd requesting that these gifts be made. The assets of the new Foundation consisted of a gift of $10,000 from Mr. Bayrd and a non interest bearing note from Mrs. Bayrd for $20,000. The Treasurer reported that the $30,000, except for a small savings bank deposit, had been invested in real estate first mortgages.
The only gifts voted at that first Annual Meeting were those incorporated in the Bylaws, amounting to $650. It was agreed that they be paid on February 24th. This initiated the custom of honoring the memory of Mrs. Bayrd by distributing gifts on her birthday. As the years progressed additions to the “Birthday List” were prudently made. From thoughtful discussion and an interchange of ideas at the early Annual Meetings, certain policies ensued that set guidelines which still govern the Foundation along with its Bylaws. The primary consideration of the Trustees was then and is now, the welfare of Malden and its people. They have kept a watchful eye on the needs of the city and an ear to local appeals. Mr. Bayrd nurtured the growth of the Foundation he had founded with gifts and attentive care for almost thirteen years before he was taken by death on June 11, 1940.
Frank A. Bayrd and Blanche S. Bayrd
Frank A. Bayrd was born in the Breed Family homestead in West Lynn on September 1, 1873. His family came to Malden when he was one year old. He was graduated from Malden High School in 1890 and from Boston University four years later. At Malden High he was president of the Literary Society and editor of the Oracle, an old time school paper. At Boston University he was a member of Beta Theta Pi.
His newspaper work started when as a boy he was employed in Maplewood on the Headlight. As a young man, while still a student, he became associated with the Malden Evening News when it was established in 1892. He progressed rapidly, first acquiring controlling interest and finally complete ownership of the paper. He was associated with several local banking interests and was also honored with State Public appointments. As a member of Malden organizations he cooperated in promoting the well-being and financial growth of the city. However his true sphere of influence was his newspaper. His editorials were widely read and acclaimed for their lucidity and expression of his distinct knowledge of national and world wide affairs. He could wield a vituperative pen and on occasions that warranted it he did! He considered no matter concerning his paper too insignificant to claim his personal attention. With enduring thrift he abhorred waste and needless expense on one hand and on the other closed his advertising columns to liquor advertising, a most lucrative source of income at that time. During the depression he loaned the city of Malden sufficient sums to cover its payroll so that city employees faced none of the “payless paydays” which were common elsewhere.
Mr. Bayrd and Miss Lenore Blanche Simpson were married on October 23, 1918. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Simpson of Carr’s Brook, Nova Scotia. Their life together was one of close and confiding companionship. Mrs. Bayrd came to share in her husband’s delight in his beloved village of Maplewood as she quietly blended into the aura of the community. As her knowledge of Malden increased, her unobtrusive acts of kindness became part of the daily pattern of her life. When her husband made one of his rare acceptances to speak at an event the presence of his wife was an added joy to his audience. Although their public appearances were rare, their striking personalities, one enhancing the other, were not forgotten.
They traveled a large part of the world together many times and brought back many memories. They enjoyed telling of how they faced with great trepidation during their first plane ride shortly after passenger service across the English Channel was introduced. One time they were marooned in a Swiss Alps pass during a blizzard. Found by monks with their Saint Bernard dogs they were taken to a monastery but not before they had partaken of the contents of the dogs’ casks, which as Mr. Bayrd put it “warmed the cockles of our hearts.”
When they first attended a Passion Play at Oberammergau, both were fascinated by the peaceful but busy little town and remained on for a longer time than planned. Mrs. Bayrd would spend much of her time watching the wood carvers at work while her husband wandered about the Bavarian countryside.
Both came to know many members of the Play’s cast, especially Anton Lang, who portrayed the Christus. On their return, ten years later for the next production of the Play, they were warmly welcomed. Never too far away from their own occupations, Mrs. Bayrd constantly increased her knowledge of oil painting by study with artists in Europe while her husband went through the contents of the daily mailings he received from home and hastily scratched editorials on the copy paper he always carried with him. Although Mrs. Bayrd reveled in expressing her keen perception in oils, perhaps her most cherished work was her poetry. One of her poems was accorded a double column top space on the front page of the old Boston Transcript. Others appeared in one of the country’s foremost national magazines. As they shared in all things, Mrs. Bayrd also ever had a thought for the Foundation, the ultimate heir to the financial result of her husband’s prodigious success. It remained one of her chief concerns until the time of her death on March 2, 1952. She had survived her husband by eleven lonely years and nine months before she joined him in the Breed section of Pine Grove Cemetery. It would have taken the gifted pen and knowing heart of her long departed husband to pay her a fitting tribute. Since the modest beginning in 1928, the total grants have passed the million dollar mark. The following remarks are intended to give a general idea of the amounts and nature of the gifts. Exact figures are available from the annual reports of the Treasurer.
The Development Fund and other projects of the Malden Hospital have received constant and liberal assistance for several years, the grants now totaling $386,155, of which $95,000 went to the construction of a four unit Doctor’s Residential Building for the housing of resident married doctors and their families. This gift was made in memory of Frank A. and Blanche S. Bayrd, with the understanding that the gift itself rather than the building be the memorial. The latest Malden Hospital gift was voted this year for the purchase of a prenatal cardiac monitoring machine. The Melrose-Wakefield Hospital was assisted in its building program with $35,000, due to the number of Malden physicians associated with that hospital and the consequent care of Malden patients there. Other grants that have been made in health programs are: the Malden Mental Association $26,500, the Red Cross Blood Program Building Fund $10,000, Malden Children’s Wealth Camp $2000 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to aid in their blindness prevention research $10,000.
The education of young people was an abiding interest in the life of Mr. Bayrd. He had inaugurated a program of scholarship awards for his newsboys. Reflecting his wishes, Mrs. Bayrd under the terms of her will provided ten scholarships to be awarded to Malden High School graduates each year. These awards have been supplemented in like amount by the Foundation to the extent of $36,100. Malden High graduates have also benefited from contributions to the Malden High School Scholarship Fund, Inc., amounting to $34,100, while other educational assistance of $6915 has been given. The general educational facilities of the Malden Public Library and its constant use by students, due to its close proximity to Malden High School has had the continuing consideration of the Trustees with gifts totaling $34,755. The Museum of Science was voted a gift of $75,000 for its West Wing Campaign and the same amount for the Museum of Fine Arts Centennial Development Fund. Both of these institutions have educational programs in which Malden school children participate. Television Station WGBH Educational Foundation has received $5900 and the New England Wildflower Preservation Society was granted $7000 for its “Garden in the Woods” project, where youngsters, from pre-school age on, attend nature classes and participate in planting programs.
A quarter of a million dollars in Foundation gifts have gone to various youth organizations. Of this amount, the Y.M.C.A. has received $144,188, more than half of which went toward the purchase and mortgage payments of Pine Knoll Camp in Wenham. Major repairs and renovations at the local headquarters account for much of the rest. Included also is $3000 which went toward preparing the “Y” property on Linden Avenue for the housing and rehabilitation of drug addicts. Of the $18,000 given to the Minute Man Council of Boy Scouts, $15,000 was voted this year to be paid in $5000 installments for the next three years toward the expense of employing two professional men in the Council’s program to reach more boys in this area. Other contributions included the Melrose Y.M.C.A. $2500 and the Junior Achievement League of Massachusetts $700. The Girl Scouts have received $35,750 a large part of which includes capital outlay and other expenses connected with the Mystick Side Council’s Camp Sherwood at Jaffrey, N.H. The Girls’ Club Association of Malden for such expenses as a new boiler, a fire escape and a second floor egress at Willcox Hall have received $20,425 and the Y.W.C.A. $25,010 for a first floor bath, kitchen, renovations to the basement and ground improvements. A gift of $2000 went to the Greater Boston Camp Fire Girls and one of $5000 to the Y.M.C.A. State Executive Committee of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Building for Becket Fund.
The residents of the Malden Home for Aged Persons were the grateful recipients of a new elevator placed there by the Foundation in 1962, as a part of $67,500 in grants in addition to the annual gifts provided by the Bylaws. The elderly in Malden, especially those confined to nursing homes and hospitals, have for many years been receiving the kind attention of groups associated with churches and other organizations. Contributions received through the Foundation’s birthday mailing have given aid to this work.
A grant made in 1966 to the Christ Methodist Church of Maplewood was unique in its intent. This church resulted from the merger of the Maplewood Methodist Church with three other churches in the area and a larger church edifice became necessary. When approached by the pastor with an appeal for assistance the Trustees, mindful of the Bayrd family interest, were inclined to give this request special consideration. After a thorough study of its financial condition and prospects of continuing support, the Foundation voted a grant of $100,000 toward a new building. The funds were advanced as the construction progressed. As agreed with the Trustees, a permanent marker has been placed in the new building as a memorial to Adelaide Breed Bayrd, Frank A. Bayrd and Blanche S. Bayrd whose church was the Maplewood Methodist Church. The amount given was in addition to $13,700 given in previous gifts and are the only exceptions made to the Foundation’s practice of specifically designating that contributions to churches be used for charitable purposes. Under these terms twenty-three Malden churches or church organizations, including all denominations, are now receiving annual assistance through the “Birthday List”.