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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1269

Correspondence between Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes, 1932-1947


Correspondence between Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes primarily during their courtship and during Margaret's hospitalization for mental health treatment.


  • Creation: 1932-1947


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.83 linear feet (2 file boxes)

The correspondence between Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes contains letters exchanged by Margaret and Alexander primarily during their courtship and during Margaret's hospitalization for mental health treatment. Margaret's letters from 1932 to 1933 include accounts of travel, descriptions of country club activities including golf and tennis, betting on horse races, and news of friends and family. Her letters from 1945 include descriptions of the staff, facilities, and other patients at New York Hospital in White Plains, New York, where Margaret was treated for an unidentified mental illness. Letters indicate Margaret received electric shock treatments, either while at the hospital or before her stay, but otherwise contain little information about her treatments. Margaret's letters also contain accounts of efforts to monitor and manage her diabetes, including urine analysis, diet, administration of insulin, and instances of insulin shock she suffered during her stay. Several letters link Margaret's menstrual cycle and impending menopause with incidents of insulin shock. Alexander's letters largely record his love for Margaret and his attempts to get her to marry him. His letters also include news of friends and family and accounts of playing golf and bridge. A few letters mention his work as a stockbroker and the impact the Depression had on the market and brokers. Some of Margaret's letters include mentions of feeling depressed and Alexander's responses contain assurances that those feelings are normal and temporary.


Margaret Kidder Hayes, daughter of Emily Fielder Bliss and William Magee Kidder, a Wall Street broker, was born September 18, 1898. She graduated from Miss Porter's School in 1916, and in 1934 married Alexander Tillison Hayes (1889-1970), who was trained as a mechanical engineer at Cornell (1914) and later worked on Wall Street. The couple lived in New York City and had one daughter, Sarnia. Margaret was diagnosed with diabetes in the early 1940s and was hospitalized for mental illness in 1945 and again in the early 1950s. On December 20, 1950, she was given a lobotomy. After several years of declining health, Margaret died of heart failure on December 28, 1958. More information about Margaret and Alexander Hayes, including Margaret's struggles with mental illness, can be found in their daughter, Sarnia Hayes Hoyt's memoir, Letters From My Mothers: A Daughter's Memoir.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 94-M178

The correspondence between Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes was given to the Schlesinger Library by Sarnia Hayes Hoyt in December 1994.

Processing Information

Processed: December 1994

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional description added: February 2024

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Hayes, Margaret Kidder, 1898-1958. Correspondence between Margaret Kidder Hayes and Alexander Tillison Hayes, 1932-1947: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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