engraving of Edwin S. Hopkins. A middle-aged, balding man with a mustache and somewhat of a squat appearance. He is wearing a suit and bowtie.

Edwin S. Hopkins in 1881.

Also known as: Edward or E. S. Hopkins

Born: August 11, 1845, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Died: October 9, 1893, Rutland, Vermont, United States

Nationality: American

Active: 1859-1893

Associated acts:

  • The Bohemian Troupe of Fancy Glass Blowers
  • Goodwin & Carling’s Original Bohemian Troupe of Fancy Glass Blowers and Spinners
  • The Great Bohemian Troupe of Fancy Glass Blowers
  • Woodroffe Brothers’ Celebrated American and Bohemian Glass Exhibition
  • Woodroffe’s Original Troupe of Glass Blowers, Spinners, and Workers
  • King & Hopkins’ Original Bohemian Glass Blowers
  • Woodroffe & Co.’s Original Bohemian Glass Blowers

Brief biography

Edwin S. Hopkins was born to Thomas Hopkins and Isabella Hopkins (née Grines or Guire) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 11, 1845. His father and older brothers were crown and flint glassworkers, so it is no surprise Hopkins himself learned the trade. According to a biographical sketch, he was trained by his older brother William at the New England Glass Company, and developed his lampworking skills in his spare time.1

The same sketch states that Francois Pierre, another fancy glassblower at the company and co-manager of the Bohemian Troupe of Fancy Glass Blowers, noticed Hopkins and invited him to join the troupe. His first appearance was in Salem, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1859. He met at least one of the Woodroffe brothers through the troupe in 1862, likely George. This meeting began a long connection with the Woodroffe family.

Hopkins enlisted as a musician in the Massachusetts 5th Infantry on July 15, 1864, during the American Civil War. His regiment was assembled in response to an emergency call by President Lincoln for troops to defend Washington, D.C., against the Confederate army. Their assignment lasted for 100 days, during which time they were stationed in Baltimore, Maryland. Hopkins was mustered out on November 16, 1864, at Readville, Massachusetts.

Hopkins toured with a number of Bohemian troupes2 throughout his career. He traveled with George Woodroffe’s troupe to Jamaica in 1869 and performed at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, also alongside the Woodroffes. In the late 1870s and early 1880s he toured with William Woodroffe’s troupe, before splitting off with fellow member Clarence M. King to form King & Hopkins’ Original Bohemian Glass Blowers in 1882.

King & Hopkin’s troupe toured for at least two years, but seems to have disbanded after a tragic accident in 1884. Earlier that year, Hopkins had married his brother William’s widow, Esther C. Wyman. She apparently joined them on tour and drowned in a boating accident on the Mohawk River in Schenectady, New York, on September 21. After only a week’s delay, the troupe continued their tour through the rest of the year, but may have separated after the conclusion of the season in early 1885. Hopkins continued glassworking, joining Woodroffe & Co.’s Original Bohemian Glass Blowers as late as 1888 and touring with the group through 1893.

Hopkins committed suicide on October 9, 1893, in Rutland, Vermont, after appearing at a county fair in the area. He left his possessions to Esther and William’s son, Joseph, in East Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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