Wonderful Women of Norwood: Anna Smith Day

Wonderful Women of Norwood Anna Smith Day
Anna Smith Day (photo taken by her son, F. Holland Day)

By Norwood Historical Society Board Members Laurie Kearney, Linda Rau and Karen DeNapoli

Anna (Smith) Day was born in 1836 in South Dedham to Lyman Smith and Melinda (Guild) Smith. She was educated in local schools along with her brothers Charles and John. Her father Lyman and Joseph Day learned and worked in the leather trade in Norwood. Joseph’s son, Lewis, and Anna attended the same church and knew each other their entire lives. In 1856 they married and in 1864. their son Fred was born.

In 1859. they moved into their new home — a mansion that Tyler Thayer had built at 93 Day Street called “Bullard Farm. ” This is the present-day site of the Norwood Historical Society. By this time. Lewis was running the Day family business and was one of the wealthiest men in South Dedham. Anna was known as a generous and kind person. She was liberal-minded and unprejudiced and had a philanthropic philosophy. She worked at the North End Union and was a trustee of the Westborough Insane Hospital. She also supported many other charitable organizations.

Because of their standing in the community and their civic-mindedness, the Day Family was at the forefront of significant town events. The 1872 reception commemorating Norwood’s founding was held at the Day House.

In 1903. the Day Family donated the chapel of St. Gabriel the Archangel in Highland Cemetery as a tomb for their family and as a chapel for the town. Anna’s last wishes were for all of her remaining assets would be used to fund a home for the aged. Although this never came to be, the remaining money was donated to local institutions for the care of the elderly.

Anna died in 1922 and is entombed in St. Gabriels, alongside Lewis, in the chapel they dedicated to their parents.

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