Donald Frizell Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles travel diaries and scrapbooks
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This collection 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 retrieval policies and times.
5.75 linear feet (8 boxes)
Biographical / Historical
Mary Hyde Eccles was a collector of books and manuscripts from the 1940s until her death in 2003. She was also a literary scholar and benefactor to numerous libraries and cultural institutions. 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 reputation as a 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 a 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. 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 Houghton 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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Eccles, Mary Hyde Eccles, Viscountess, 1912-2003. Donald Frizell Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles travel diaries and scrapbooks, 1912-2001 (MS Eng 1867): Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard University.
- 2019 April 30
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- 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