Those words were the first words of a paper about Mary Hyde that I read before the Florida Bibliophile Society in February 2006. And in November 2008, I posted that paper, "Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit," to one of my blogs. To date, there have been 1,146 page views* of "Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit."
*update: 2,134 page views as of Oct 30, 2014. 3,317 as of Dec 15, 2016, 4,544 as of Feb 21, 2018, 5113 as of Jun 27, 2020
Today I will take you on a virtual tour of my extensive Mary Hyde Collection –– and I do mean extensive. I will present books, pamphlets, and other items by or about Mary Hyde in chronological order, interspersed with some of the books she acquired along the way. Afterwards, I will display the remainder of the books and papers she formerly owned that are now in my own library. Mary Hyde had many names throughout her life: Mary Crapo, Mary Morley Crapo, Mary Crapo Hyde, Mary Morley Crapo Hyde, Mary Hyde Eccles, Mary Viscountess Eccles, and Lady Eccles. But for simplicity's sake, I will refer to her as Mary Hyde.
Now On With the Tour!
The toad bookplate isn't the only bookplate Mary Hyde used. She shared a bookplate with her husband that came in four different colors.
John Overholt, Curator of the Hyde Collection of Samuel Johnson at Harvard, remembers reading somewhere that each color denoted the season a particular book was acquired.
I will begin this tour with a news article from 1923, displaying a younger Mary Hyde, a twelve-year-old Mary Hyde, christening her father's cement carrier, the John W. Boardman:
Mary Hyde was a reader. Here is her copy of Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader, New York, 1925, with her owner signature on the ffep dated '30:
Now why would I have a copy of the March 1934 issue of Theatre Arts Monthly in my Mary Hyde Collection?
Mary Hyde played Valya in Hallie Flanagan's Vassar production of the Russian play Fear. The insert block beginning with "Soviet Play 'Fear," refers to an article in the Jan. 13, 1934 issue of The New York Times.
Mary Hyde, as you will see, enjoyed reading and researching the published letters of various people; practices I enjoy as well. Here is her copy of Vincent Van Gogh: Letters to Emile Bernard, New York, 1938, with her name, Detroit address, and date on the ffep:
Mary Hyde had an excellent teacher at the Vassar Experimental Theatre, Hallie Flanagan. Here is Flanagan's book about the Vassar Theatre that was published in New York in 1943:
Hallie Flanagan taught her actors "to plunge deeply into the characters themselves," and sometimes had them make up rehearsal scenes of the character's past life. Here is Mary Hyde's rendition of her character Valya's past life in the play Fear:
Mary Hyde not only performed in plays, she wrote them. And poems and stories too! Here is a list of her plays, poems and stories.
Mary Hyde's essay, "Shakespeare Jr.," is one of the essays included in To Doctor R, a festschrift of essays published in honor of Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach's seventieth birthday in 1946.
Mary Hyde's essay is about William Ireland's Shakespeare forgery, Vortigern. Here is an offprint of her essay:
Each year, on or about September 18th, Samuel Johnson's natal day, Johnsonian enthusiasts gather together to do him honor. Mary Hyde, her husband Don, and their friends began this custom in America at Four Oaks Farm, New Jersey on September 18, 1946. Since then, someone usually publishes a keepsake to present to the Johnsonians attending the affair. This is the first one:
In 1951, Mary Hyde read a paper on "The History of the Johnson Papers" before the Bibliographical Society of America. The paper was published by the Society the same year. Here is an offprint:
Here's an interesting one: Memoir and Select Letters of Samuel Lysons 1763-1819, by Lindsay Fleming, Oxford, 1934. The author inscribed the book on 22 April 1952, but did not identify the recipient. However, the Guide to her papers at Harvard reveal that Mary Hyde visited Malahide (Ireland) and London (England) and made diary entries, "Apr 11 through Apr 14, and Apr 23, 1952 (No. 77). Moreover, I received this book with other books from the Four Oaks Library.
Johnson and Journals was written and privately printed by Donald and Mary Hyde. There is n.d. (no date) but WorldCat suggests 1952 as the publication date.
Donald and Mary Hyde compiled the keepsake, Dr. Johnson's Second Wife, for the celebration of Dr. Johnson's birthday held at Four Oaks Farm on Sept. 18, 1953.
Donald and Mary Hyde collaborated in the compilation of the keepsake, The Johnsons Photographed, published for the annual meeting of the Johnsonians in 1956.
As President of the Johnson Society in 1957, Mary Hyde delivered her presidential address, "Tetty and Johnson," at the annual supper in the Litchfield Guildhall. Her address was published in the Society's Transactions 1957:
In 1958, Donald and Mary Hyde, together with E.L. McAdam, edited Samuel Johnson: Diaries, Prayers, and Annals, New Haven. A number of the manuscripts and printed sources are from the Hyde Collection. Here is a copy of the cover of the 1967 third printing:
Also in 1958, the Hydes received a copy of James Thomson (1700-1748) Letters and Documents, edited by Alan Dugald McKillop.
Mary Hyde's sister, Catherine Crapo Bullard, the family genealologist, wrote a book about the descendants on their mother's side of the family, Morley Memoirs, New Bedford, 1959:
Mary Hyde was the President of the Shakespeare Association of America from 1956 until its demise in the early 1970s. Both Mary and her husband Donald Hyde were members of the editorial board of the society's paper, the Shakespeare Quarterly. In 1972, J. Leeds Barrroll formed a new society with the same name. And the Folger Library took over the publication of the Shakespeare Quarterly.
Mary Hyde wrote an article about their Samuel Johnson collection which appeared in the May 1960 issue of Vassar Alumnae Magazine. She graduated from Vassar in 1934.
It has long been the custom for bibliophiles to send copies of their works to their associates. Here is a reprint of The Book Collector 9 (1960) issue which contains "Some Books of Early English Provenance in the Library Company of Philadelphia" by Edwin Wolf 2nd. EW2 sent this copy to Mary and Donald Hyde:
In 1962, the Johnsonian, L.F. Powell gave Donald Hyde a copy of Letters of Sir Thomas Bodley to Thomas James, First Keeper of the Bodleian Library, by G.W, Wheeler, Oxford, 1926, "in appreciation of your magnificent gift to the library."
Powell received this book in 1934 from S. Gibson, Sub-Librarian of the Bodleian Library, in appreciation of his work during a Samuel Johnson exhibition at the Bodleian.
Donald Hyde paid for repairs to the ceiling of Duke Humphrey's library.
In Oct. 1963, the Hydes received an interesting copy of Letters of George Birkbeck Hill, London, 1906 from David Buchanan, the author of __The Treasure of Auchinleck: The Story of the Boswell Papers__ New York, 1974, whose full name is Eric David Buchanan (EDB).
In a pencil note in her hand, dated July 1964, Mary Hyde cites that this book was previously M.M. Holloway's copy with notes in his hand. She also provides an inventory and disposition of the inserted items. The Strode letter and the Ashley clipping remained in the book; but the GB Hill letter was removed and placed in the manuscript file.
Here are some notes in M.M. Holloway's hand.
Mary Hyde made her own extensive notes on the rear endpapers, essentially making her own index.
In 1964, Shakespeare 400: Essays by American Scholars on the Anniversary of the Poet's Birth was published. Mary Hyde contributed an essay on "The Shakespeare Association of America."
In 1965, Mary Hyde sent Courage, Barclay & Simonds an offprint of "Not in Chapman," a checklist of Samuel Johnson's letters which were not included in R.W. Chapman's 1952 edition of the letters. Two of the letters were to John Perkins, one of the owners who purchased Henry Thrale's brewery in 1781. Courage, Barclay & Simonds was the corporate name of the brewery in 1965. It has since changed.
The Winter 1965 issue of the Keats-Shelley Journal contains a remembrance of William Alexander Jackson and an account of his memorial service by Mary Hyde. Jackson was the head of the Houghton Library at Harvard and was involved in the Keats-Shelley Association.
Here is an offprint containing Mary Hyde's piece. Although there are no marks of provenance, both copies of the Journal are from the Four Oaks Library.
Donald Hyde was the President of the Keats-Shelley Society.
The Winter 1965 issue of The Book Collector contains "Some Memories" of John Hayward by John Carter, Mary Hyde, and many others in the book world. John Hayward was the editor of The Book Collector. John Carter sent this copy to Mary Hyde, inscribing it on the top of the cover.
He inserted marginalia to the obituary reprinted from The Times:
Mary Hyde left no comments, but may have corrected a typo on page 484 of her piece.
She made no corrections to the copy of the reprint even though it came from Four Oaks Library as well. Technically, this pamphlet is not an offprint, and may not even be considered a reprint because the pagination was reset.
There are no issues of periodicals in my library which contain an obituary of Donald Hyde. But on the University of Michigan website is the Feb. 1966 issue of The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, which contains a memorial to Donald Hyde. I printed a copy of the memorial for my library.
An exhibit for 1966 was already scheduled at the Houghton Library, and the following pamphlet was already printed: An Exhibit of Books and Manuscripts From the Johnsonian Collection Formed by Mr. and Mrs. Donald F. Hyde at Four Oaks Farm:
Here is Mary Hyde's copy of Chichester Towers by L.P. Curtis, New Haven, 1966.
Before Donald Hyde died, he got together with his wife and his friends and they planned a set of books about Four Oaks Farm and Four Oaks Library. These books, edited by Gabriel Austin, Donald and Mary Hyde's friend, were published in 1967. The books are a biography of sorts because they told me quite a lot about Donald and Mary Hyde and the books they collected. And they were the first books in my Mary Hyde Collection. Four Oaks Farm is about the home of Donald and Mary Hyde, and the good times they had there as the foremost Samuel Johnson collectors in the book world. Four Oaks Library is about the book collections of the Hydes. If you thought all they had was a Samuel Johnson Collection, you would be wrong. They had a number of other collections, including a James Boswell Collection, an Oscar Wilde Collection, a Henry Fielding Collection, a Japanese Books and Manuscript Collection, and a collection of Elizabethan books and early drama.
On Bloomsday, 1967, Richard Ellman sent Mary Hyde vols. two and three of Letters of James Joyce. Gilbert Stuart edited vol. one ten years earlier, but that book was not included when I acquired these two items.
In 1968, Robert F. Metzdorf sent Mary Hyde an offprint of his chapter in Four Oaks Library which covered the other 18th Century authors in the Four Oaks Library: Swift, Pope, Defoe, Steele, Addison, Savage, Dodd, Sterne and more.
The inscription reads, "Another for 'the shelf' - but this isn't Shelley! RFM 1968."
I have two copies of Ladies in My Library by Norman Strouse. One of the copies came from Four Oaks Library, but without any marks of provenance. Mary Hyde, however, was one of the ladies in Norman Strouse's library. A note may have been clipped on at one time because the pamphlet came with a paper clip. I removed the paper clip.
The Grolier Club published an exquisite book "in honor of Donald F. Hyde" in 1970:
Charles Ryskamp sent Mary an offprint of his essay to Eighteenth Century Studies:
Boswell, Johnson, and the Petition of James Wilson, Cambridge, 1971 was dedicated "To the Founding Members of the Johnsonians." The founding members were Donald and Mary Hyde. The pamphlet was reproduced "from the copy presented in 1967 to the Houghton Library by Henry H. Crapo in memory of Donald F. Hyde."
In 1971, Mary Hyde privately printed a keepsake for the members of the International Bibliophile Congress who visited Four Oaks Farm. The keepsake was an article which first appeared in the Autumn 1955 issue of The Book Collector.
Mary Hyde had written the first draft of The Impossible Friendship: Boswell and Mrs. Thrale while her husband was still alive, but it wasn't published until 1972.
Mary Hyde was a Shakespeare scholar. She received her doctorate in 1945. For her thesis, she examined early dramatic works in the collections of Carl H. Pforzheimer, A.S.W. Rosenbach, and John Fleming, and wrote a set of rules on how to write plays during the Elizabethan period. Her thesis, Playwriting for Elizabethans 1600-1605, was published in 1949. Here is a 1973 reprint of the work:
In 1973, Mary Hyde attended the Third David Nichol Smith Memorial Seminar in Canberra, Australia, and presented her paper, "Boswell's Ebony Cabinet." Her paper was published in Studies in the Eighteenth Century III, Canberra, 1976. Although there are no marks of provenance, this copy came from the Four Oaks Library:
On Sunday, May 11, 1975, Mary Hyde gave a lecture at the University of San Francisco on "The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. at Four Oaks Farm. She was there to receive the Sir Thomas More Medal for Book Collecting. The keepsake for the event contains illustrations of two of the four breakup letters between Samuel Johnson and Mrs. Thrale.
"The Thrales of Streatham Park" was first published serially in the Harvard Bulletin in seven issues from April 1976 to July 1977. I have the July 1976 and April 1977 issues.
"My Life With the Thrales," a talk by Mary Hyde at the Grolier Club in April 1976 appeared in the June/December 1976 issue of the Gazette of the Grolier Club. In this talk, Mary Hyde related how she acquired Mrs; Thrale's journal.
The Houghton Library published The Donald Hyde Rooms in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, n.d. but WorldCat suggests 1977.
The Thrales of Streatham Park by Mary Hyde was first published in Cambridge, Ma. and London, England in 1977. I have a copy the 1978 third printing.
Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence by Mary Hyde was first published in London on 1982.
This is Mary Hyde's copy with her note on the ffep.
In 1984, an exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of Samuel Johnson's death was held at the Houghton Library. The exhibit contains books and manuscripts collected by Donald and Mary Hyde, Arthur A. Houghton Jr., Robert Metzdorf, Amy Lowell, Harold Murdock, Houghton Mifflin Co. and more. Here is the exhibition catalogue.
On October 22, 1985, Mary Hyde, now Mary, Viscountess Eccles –– she married Lord David Eccles in 1984 –– wrote a letter on Samuel Johnson letterhead to a friend in Florida. On October 5, 2009, I posted a blog entry on how I acquired the letter: "An Unexpected Find in Umatilla, Florida."
When Mary Hyde gave the Hyde Collection of Henry Fielding to Harvard in 1987, the books were absorbed into the Houghton Library stacks with no provenance information recorded that the books were from the Hyde Collection. The best resource about this collection is the chapter written by Hugh Amory in Four Oaks Library, Somerville, New Jersey, 1967. Amory also compiled a catalogue of the exhibition of the Hyde Collection at the Houghton Library from Jan. 12 –– Mar 6, 1987. Amory's catalogue served as the source document when I catalogued the Hyde Collection of Henry Fielding on Library Thing in 2010.
On October 7, 1988, Christie's sold the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Japanese Books and Manuscripts for the benefit of the Pierpont Morgan Library. This collection is currently being catalogued by David C. Larkin on Library Thing. I gave him one of my two copies of the auction catalogue.
The Oxford University Press published a paperback edition of Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence by Mary Hyde in Oxford and New York in 1989.
In a talk at the Grolier Club in 1990, Mary Hyde reminiscenced about her adventures in the book world. Her talk, "Unending Pursuit," was published in the Gazette of the Grolier Club, Number 42, 1990.
Someone, possibly, Mary Hyde, copied each page and bound it together in a make-shift binding.
The Pursuit of the Boswell Papers by Mary Hyde Eccles was first published in the Yale University Library Gazette Vol. 66 Numbers 3-4, April 1992. Here is a reprint of her paper.
The Hyde edition of The Letters of Samuel Johnson was a mammoth project that Lord Eccles urged his wife to undertake, and undertake she did. With Bruce Redford as the editor, vols. 1, 2, and 3 were published in 1992, and vols. 4 and 5 were published in 1994.
In 1993, Mary Hyde acquired a copy of The History of Auchinleck - Village & Parish, by Dane Love, Cumnock, Ayrshire, 1991.
In 1995, Mary Hyde received a copy of The Correspondence of Thomas Wharton from the editor, David Fairer.
In 1995, the Grolier Club published Collecting and Recollecting James Boswell 1740-1795: A Bicentenary Exhibition from the Collections of Yale University and Four Oaks Farm. I have three copies of this work, one of which belonged to Mary Hyde.
In 1996. Gabriel Austin, with the help of many friends, and under Mary Hyde's direction, compiled Celebrations of the Johnsonians 1946-1996, a keepsake for the fiftieth anniversary of the first gathering of the Johnsonians. The keepsake provides images as well as a history of the keepsakes printed each year. I have two copies of this keepsake.
In 2002, the Grolier Club published Mary Hyde Eccles: A Miscellany of Her Essays and Addresses, edited by William Zachs.
William Zachs selected the pieces and arranged them in chronological order, many of which you have already seen in this tour of my Mary Hyde Collection. The very last essay is "Peter the First and His Descendants," a remarkable story about Mary Hyde's early descendants on her father's side.
On Nov 19, 2002 Mary Hyde delivered the 2002 Robert L. Nikirk Lecture, "Julian Boyd & the Battlefield of Hastings," at the Grolier Club. It was published in 2003.
Women outlive men, but they can't live forever. And on August 26, 2003, Mary Hyde died. Obituaries provide a short summary of a person's life, and there were several excellent ones written about Mary Hyde. One of the best was written by Nicolas Barker for The Book Collector. Gabriel Austin received Nicolas Barker's obituary on Mary Hyde in an email to Four Oaks Farm shortly after her death and forwarded it to over fifty people in the book world.
The last email address on the recipient list belonged to little old me.
Caroline Smith's "Mary Hyde: A Tribute," published in the Gazette of the Grolier Club, Number 55 2004, is another excellent short summary of Mary Hyde's life. This issue also contains "Dear Mary': An Address for the Memorial Service of Mary Hyde Eccles 2 October 2003," by William Zachs. In this piece, Zachs shares some letters to and from Mary Hyde that express inner thoughts and remembrances often never revealed in biographies.
Remembrances of departed ones are sometimes published in lieu of obituaries, and in the March 2004 Johnsonian News Letter, Loren Rothschild and Robert DeMaria, Jr. share their thoughts.
If you're wondering where the Hyde Collections went, Mary Hyde bequeathed the Samuel Johnson Collection to Harvard, and the Oscar Wilde Collection to the British Library. Her English Drama Collection was sold at Christie's on Wednesday, April 14, 2004.
And Oak Knoll Books listed the books about books in Catalogue 256,some of which may still be available.
A few years after Mary Hyde's death, the Grolier Club established The Mary Hyde Eccles Society, and published a roster of the society members. Robert Perata, the Santa Clara bookseller, cited 2006 as the date of publication for the copy of the roster he sold on AbeBooks.
In 2009, the Houghton Library published the catalogue, A Monument More Durable Than Brass: The Donald & Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson. The catalogue was published for the exhibition of the collection at the Houghton Library and later at the Grolier Library. The exhibition curator, John Overholt deserves thanks also for coordinating the transfer of the MARC records in order for the collection to be viewed on Library Thing.
The February 2010 issue of Intentions, published by the Oscar Wilde Society, contains an announcement thanking the British Library for making the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Oscar Wilde available for viewing on Library Thing.
In addition to all its book collections, the Hyde Library also had a first-rate reference library which included volumes of letters of authors from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The volumes of letters I enjoy reading the most are The Percy Letters, published from 1943 to 1988, first by Louisiana State University and later by Yale University. Eight of the nine volumes belonged to the Hydes; the Percy – Pinkerton edition does not –– only the Percy – Shenstone volume is lacking in my library. Six of the seven volumes have the orange Donald and Mary Hyde bookplate on the pastedown; the 1988 Percy – Anderson volume does not.
Mrs. Montagu "Queen of the Blues" Her Letters and Friendships from 1762 to 1800, edited by Reginald Blunt and published in London (n.d.), was formerly owned by R.W. Chapman. Inserted in volume two are two pages of notes in Mary Hyde's hand.
Inserted in the Hyde Copy of The Postmaster of Ipswich: William Stevenson Fitch, Antiquary and Thief by Janet Ing Freeman, London, 1997, are seven pages of notes in Mary Hyde's hand.
Two books contain Mary Hyde's toad bookplate: Dramatic Poems by William Yeats and The Letters of W.B. Yeats.
Six volumes of letters contain either a Donald and Mary Hyde bookplate or an inscription to Mary Hyde from the author or editor: Letters of Tobias Smollett, A Catalogue of the Burney Family Correspondence 1749-1878, The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Max Beerbohm: Letters to Reggie Turner, and the two volumes of The Orrery Papers.
The rfep of Max Beerbohm: Letters to Reggie Turner contains notes in Mary Hyde's hand.
Eight volumes of letters from the Four Oaks Library contain no marks of provenance:
Unpublished Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (two vols.), Editor to Author: the Letters of Maxwell Perkins, Friends of a Lifetime: Letters to Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, The Best of Friends: Further Letters to Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, Selected Letters of Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Townsend Warner Letters, Journey Into the Self, Being the Letters, Papers, & Journals of Leo Stein, The Letters of G. S. Gordon 1902-1942, and Dearest Bess: The Life and Times of Lady Elizabeth Foster. I should mention, however, that Friends of a Lifetime contains an envelope with two notes which I'm pretty confident were written in Mary Hyde's hand.
One Art: The Letters of Elizabeth Bishop, New York, 1994, has just one word written on the ffep:
In the Four Oaks Library was the 1891 nine-volume London edition of The Letters of Horace Walpole, but without any marks of provenance pointing to the Hydes. Curiously, however, written on the fep of Vol. 8, is the name "A. Dobson."
It does not appear to be written in Austin Dobson's hand. Could it be his son Alban Dobson's hand?
To my surprise, Mary Hyde was an avid reader of books by the essayist Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946). I enjoy reading his essays as well. Here is Mary Hyde's copy of Smith's first book, The Youth of Parnassus, London, 1895, with her initials written on the front pastedown.
Here is Mary Hyde's copy of Reperusals and Re-collections by Logan Pearsall Smith, London, 1936, with portions of the dust jacket inserted inside in the front of the book.
Inserted in the back of the book is a review of Reperusals by Christopher Morley. Not shown today are reviews from the Times Literary Supplement, Sept 12, 1936, and the Saturday Review, Feb.6, 1937.
And that, my friends, is the last item on the tour. I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you want more, you can view the Hyde Collections on Library Thing.