A special tribute to a fine lady…
Eleanor M. “Soosie” (MacLean) Harding was hired as the first children’s librarian at the Walpole Public Library in 1930. To honor the many years of kindness, support and exuberance that Mrs. Harding gave to this Library, the Children’s Room, was dedicated in her name in 1990.
Mrs. Harding passed away in Walpole, at the age of 92, January 25, 1999. She was the wife of Dr. Harry W. Harding, married 61 years with two sons, Colin and Samuel and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mrs. Harding was born in Swampscott and was the daughter of Norman Everett and Henrietta (Stewart) MacLean.
Raised in Lynn, Mrs. Harding spent summers with relatives in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. She was a member of the Silsby Street Quaker Meeting in Lynn. In 1930, she moved to Walpole and, in 1990, moved to Mattapoisett. Mrs. Harding was a 1925 graduate of Lynn Classical High School and graduated from Simmons College in 1929 with a degree in library science — quite an accomplishment for women in her day.
From 1929-30, she worked for Sun Life Assurance Co. in Montreal. Her friend and former classmate Cas Eaton gave her the nickname “Soosie” after a Harry Lauder tune, “Soosie MacLean.” She remained the children’s librarian until 1938. She was a library trustee from 1943-90.
Mrs. Harding was a lifetime member of the Walpole Footlighters; a director of the Walpole Area Visiting Nurse Association; active in the Girl Scouts and the Walpole chapter of the American Red Cross; a member of the Walpole Historical Society and was a volunteer at the East Walpole Community Library. With the Footlighters, she appeared in 29 productions and served in all but two of the positions on the board of directors. She performed in Call it a Day, Solid Gold Cadillac, The Late George Apley and The Girls in 509. Mrs. Harding was instrumental in keeping the Footlighters going during World War II and participated in a number of joint productions with inmates of the Walpole State Prison. In 1988, she received the Ruth McIntire Award for Community Theater Service.
Mrs. Harding certainly brightened her corner of our world.