Mary Hyde Eccles papers
- Majority of material found within 1939-2003
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
The bulk of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library, but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and for retrieval policies and times.
Conditions Governing Use
Extent88 linear feet (84 boxes, 3 pf boxes, and 7 volumes)
The Property Files series includes documentation of life at Four Oaks Farm, as well as general files relating to the Four Oaks Farm library collection, and material on Mary Hyde Eccles's other residences in North Carolina and England.
The Correspondence series consists of letters to and from friends, fellow Johnson scholars, dealers and collectors, publishers, and research libraries. Among the most frequent correspondents are: Walter Jackson Bate; W.H. (William Henry) Bond; Julian P. (Julian Parks) Boyd; David Buchanan; R.W. (Robert William) Chapman; James Lowry Clifford; Malcolm S. Forbes and his family; Philip Hofer; Arthur Amory Houghton; William A. (William Alexander) Jackson; Robert F. (Robert Frederic) Metzdorf; Lawrence Fitzroy Powell; and William Zachs. The collection also includes letters by Nicholson Baker; Edward Heath; Lady Bird Johnson; John Major; George C. (George Catlett) Marshall; and Christine Todd Whitman.
The Clubs and Organizations series includes particularly extensive documentation of involvement in: the David and Mary Eccles Centre for American Studies; the Grolier Club; Houghton Library (particularly the construction of the Donald Frizell Hyde Rooms); and the Johnsonians.
The Compositions and Research series includes drafts of most of her major works of scholarship; extensive research files for The Thrales of Streatham Park and other works; unpublished plays and fiction; texts of numerous speeches; and research files on the letters of Samuel Johnson, including photocopies of the majority of surviving letters.
The Visual Materials series consists mostly of snapshots taken from 1939 to 2003, depicting social events at Four Oaks Farm and abroad.
Biographical / Historical
She was born Mary Morley Crapo on 1912 July 8, to parents Stanford Tappan Crapo and Emma Caroline Morley Crapo. Her early years were spent in and around Detroit, Michigan, where her father was a prosperous railroad executive and cement manufacturer. She received her B.A. from Vassar College in 1934, and her Ph.D. in English from Columbia in 1947.
Mary Morley Crapo married lawyer Donald Frizell Hyde (1909-1966) on 1939 Sept. 16. He was a graduate of Ohio State University and Harvard Law School. During the first year of their marriage, they resided in Grosse Point, Michigan, and then moved to New York City in January of 1941. They spent part of 1942 in Washington, D.C. before returning to New York City. In 1943, they purchased Four Oaks Farm, a large estate in Somerville, New Jersey, which became their primary residence.
Soon after their marriage, the Hydes began collecting books and manuscripts relating to Samuel Johnson and his circle, making their first major acquisitions at the A.E. Newton sales in 1940 and 1941. As they continued to expand their collection, Four Oaks Farm became an important site for research into Johnson and his circle. The Hydes were instrumental in founding the Johnsonians, a select club of American Johnson enthusiasts, which first gathered at Four Oaks Farm on Johnson's birthday in 1946. In 1948, they acquired the great R.B. Adam collection, which established them as the foremost Johnson collectors in the world.
The Hydes had numerous other collecting interests in addition to Johnson. They began collecting Japanese prints and illustrated books in 1960. They also assembled an important collection of Oscar Wilde material, which was later left to the British Library.
Mary Hyde established her repuation as an important literary scholar after Donald Frizell Hyde's death in 1966. She had already published Playwriting for Elizabethans, 1600-1605, an expansion of her doctoral dissertation, in 1949. Her two monographs on Johnson's circle, The Impossible Friendship: Boswell and Mrs. Thrale (1972) and The Thrales of Streatham Park (1977), remain important works in their field. She edited Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence (1982) and co-edited James Boswell's Book of Company at Auchinleck, 1782-1795 (1995). Her research, collections, and financial support played an integral role in the publication of The Letters of Samuel Johnson (1992-1994), edited by Bruce Redford. Many of her shorter works were collected in 2002 as Mary Hyde Eccles: A Miscellany of her Essays and Addresses.
In addition to her scholarly and collecting activities, Mary Hyde was an important supporter of cultural institutions in the United States and Great Britain. With her first husband, she established the Four Oaks Foundation in 1953 to provide financial aid to college students. Her Japanese collection was auctioned in 1988 to benefit the Pierpont Morgan Library. She was also the primary supporter of the 1998 effort to restore Auchinleck, James Boswell's ancestral estate in Scotland. Harvard University's Houghton Library owes her a special debt. She funded the construction of its Donald Frizell Hyde Rooms (completed in 1979), and bequeathed the Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson to the library in 2003.
In 1984 she married David Eccles, Viscount Eccles (1904-1999), a prominent book collector who had served as Great Britain's education minister. They maintained dual residences in England and at Four Oaks Farm, and she assumed the title of Viscountess Eccles. Together they established the David and Mary Eccles Center for American Studies at the British Library in 1992. Lord Eccles died in 1999, and Lady Eccles on 2003 August 26.
- I. Personal papers: A. Chronological records: 1. Appointment books
- I. Personal papers: A. Chronological records: 2. Calendars
- I. Personal papers: A. Chronological records: 3. Diaries
- I. Personal papers: A. Chronological records: 4. Guest books
- I. Personal papers: B. Christmas plans
- I. Personal papers: C. Diplomas
- I. Personal papers: D. Financial records
- I. Personal papers: E. Memorabilia
- I. Personal papers: F. Travel files
- II. Property files: A. Four Oaks Farm: 1. Development easement
- II. Property files: A. Four Oaks Farm: 2. Events
- II. Property files: A. Four Oaks Farm: 3. Farm
- II. Property files: A. Four Oaks Farm: 4. Houses and grounds
- II. Property files: A. Four Oaks Farm: 5. Staff
- II. Property files: B. Four Oaks Farm library files
- II. Property files: C. Other properties
- III. Correspondence
- IV. Clubs and organizations
- V. Compositions and research: A. Articles and books
- V. Compositions and research: B. Plays, poems, and stories
- V. Compositions and research: C. Speeches
- V. Compositions and research: D. Research notes
- V. Compositions and research: E. Compositions by others
- V. Compositions and research: F. Letters of Samuel Johnson
- V. Compositions and research: G. Manuscripts of Samuel Johnson
- VI. Visual materials: A. Artwork
- VI. Visual materials: B. Photographs
- VI. Visual materials: C. Oversized photographs
- VI. Visual materials: D. Film reels
- VII. Donald Frizell Hyde Papers
- VIII. David Eccles, Viscount Eccles Papers
- IX. Additional material received after the bequest
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004 and 2005.
2004M-135 arrived in 2005 via Sally Bullard, grandniece of Mary Hyde Eccles.
2011M-93. Received from Sarah Crapo Bullard: 2011 October 11. 2020M-19. Found in records of the Printing & Graphic Arts Department, 2019 July.
- Austin, Gabriel, ed. Four Oaks Farm (Somerville, N.J.: privately published, 1967)
- Austin, Gabriel, ed. Four Oaks Library (Somerville, N.J.: privately published, 1967)
- Bond, W.H., ed., Eighteenth-Century Studies in Honor of Donald F. Hyde (New York: Grolier Club, 1970)
- Zachs, William, ed., Mary Hyde Eccles: A Miscellany of her Essays and Addresses (New York: Grolier Club, 2002)
- Eccles, Mary Hyde. Mary Hyde Eccles papers, 1853-2005 (MS Hyde 98): Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard University
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA