The Judge Harry E. Trapp Collection

Donated by the Children and Family in his Memory


Harry Edwin Trapp was born in Irwin, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1890, the son of Swan and Anna (Hjelte) Trapp from Hoganas-Skane, Sweden. The family lived in Worcester, Massachusetts for a short time, then at an early age Harry moved to Laconia, New Hampshire, and lived on a farm on nearby Cotton Hill. He attended the Laconia Elementary and Laconia High School, graduating in 1907. He worked his way through Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, graduating respectively in 1912 and 1916.

He married Florence Stetson McGloughlin on June 26, 1916. They had four children: Harry E. Jr., Virginia Stetson, Constance, and Anna Joan.

Judge Trapp was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1916. For a number of years he practiced law in association with Congressman Fletcher Hale. For some years he was manager and president of the McGloughlin Iron and Brass Foundry in Laconia in addition to his law practice.

He served as Justice of the Laconia Municipal court for more than 25 years after his appointment in 1930 by Governor Charles W. Tobey. He also served as Clerk of the Belknap County Superior Court for almost as long a period following his appointment in 1932.

Upon the establishment of the New Hampshire Juvenile Court system in 1937, Judge Trapp assumed the additional task of handling cases involving boys and girls under 18. His patience and wisdom in dealing with young people was well known. The Laconia Evening Citizen, at the time of Judge Trapp's death, quoted from its editorial a few months earlier:


In Laconia we have a municipal justice, who took office over 25 years ago at a salary of $1500, and today his compensation is only $1800, with an income tax imposed, which was not the case a quarter of a century ago. Although the work of the court has increased, the pay is about one half of what it formerly was, due to the lessened value of the dollar. Our Laconia municipal judge has done and is doing outstanding work with juveniles, in this period when juvenile delinquency has become a national problem. He is by conferences and follow up work molding the character of boys and girls who, in most cases, have no parents with enough interest to guide them in the proper direction. This is a real contribution to the community. Only a judge who was interested in the work would do it, day in and day out. The meager financial reward is certainly not the incentive.

Judge Trapp took an active role in community affairs. He served in the New Hampshire State Legislature in 1921-22 and chaired the Belknap County Delegation. He also served two terms as a city Councilman in 1927 and 1928. His continuing involvement in community affairs included service as the chairman of USO, Exalted Ruler of Laconia Lodge of Elks, charter member of the Laconia Rotary Club and its president in 1932, and member of the Mount Lebanon Masonic Lodge F and AM. He was also a longtime director of the Peoples National Bank of Laconia.


A 1955 Manchester Union Leader headline referred to Judge Trapp as the "Dean of NH Municipal Judges." His prominence in public, professional, fraternal, and benevolent activities led to his listing in New Hampshire Notables (Concord Press 1955).

Judge Trapp died on July 11, 1956. He had dedicated his life in service to others, particularly the youth. This was not for financial or personal reward but for the satisfaction of knowing he had helped mold their character and improve the quality of their lives. This attribute was aptly expressed in a poem read at his funeral:

If I were standing to be judged
Before the great white throne
Where I could hear the righteous sing
And hear the sinners moan,
I'd want no greater advocate
To make my final plea
Than just a boy who'd say
"Gee, he did a lot for me!"

The University of New Hampshire School of Law Library is pleased to commemorate Judge Harry E. Trapp.


©2010 UNH School of Law Library