Three local luminaries, all with ties to Boyden Library, have been recognized by the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in connection with the county’s 225th anniversary celebration in 2018.
The late Helen Fuller, as well as 19th-century inventors Seth and Uriah Boyden, were selected by registry officials to represent Foxboro in a pair of signature booklets that single out notable figures from each of Norfolk County’s 28 communities.
The two booklets are associated with the Registry’s “notable land records” project, which highlights contributions by area residents since Norfolk County was established by cleaving 21 communities, including Foxboro, from Suffolk County in 1793.
The original volume, released last year, featured Seth Boyden and his younger brother, Uriah, who helped finance a public library to be established inside the newly-constructed Memorial Hall building in 1870.
Born on Oak Street in 1788, Seth Boyden was called “one of America’s greatest inventors” by no less an authority than Thomas Edison. While still a youth, he repaired watches, made his own telescope and microscope, painted miniatures and invented a contraption for manufacturing wrought-iron brads and nails.
After marrying at age 27, Seth relocated to Newark, N.J., where he developed leather-splitting machinery (perfecting the patent leather process), a locomotive designed to navigate especially steep grades and produced the first daguerreotype in America.
He was joined in Newark by brother, Uriah, who was 18 years his junior but every bit his equal as an inventor. Uriah developed the so-called Boyden turbine, used at the first Niagara Falls hydroelectric plant in 1895, and at the time of his death left funds for an observatory, which was erected in Peru by Harvard University.
The county’s second volume, released earlier this month in conjunction with a re-dedication of the Registry of Deeds building, recognized Fuller, who died in 1982.
Considered one of the preeminent public servants of her era, Fuller was born in 1900 and during World War II served as a captain in the state Women’s Defense Corps. Later, she was active on the Massachusetts Homemakers Council, the Women’s Educational Industrial Union, the Wellesley College Club and the Women’s Aid Auxiliary at Norwood Hospital.
But her greatest passion was reading, and in 1930 she was appointed to a seat on the Boyden Library board of trustees — a position she held for the next 50 years.
So great was her influence on the institution that library trustees paid tribute to Fuller following her death by naming a room in her honor, a permanent tribute to a lasting legacy.