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Guide to the James Hazen Hyde Papers
1874-1940, 1953
 MS 319

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer, with Alec Ferretti, Jennifer Gargiulo, and Aaron Roffman

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 24, 2021
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of James Hazen Hyde's correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and other papers dating primarily from the 1890s, when he was an undergraduate student at Harvard, through 1940, shortly before he returned to the United States from France. Hyde's involvement with the Cercle Français de l'Université Harvard and the Fédération de l'Alliance Francaise in the 1890s-circa 1904 are well-documented in correspondence and scrapbooks. Hyde's diaries begin in 1922 and end in 1940, that is, for the latter half of his time residing in France. They include details of his social engagements, anecdotes and comments about prominent persons, descriptions of his travel, and visits to cultural events and institutions, and include clippings, theatre and opera programs, and other print matter related to his activities and interests.

Hyde's correspondence files extend principally from the 1890s to the 1930s, and especially pertain to his interest in Franco-American relations, e.g. American Field Service Fellowships, arranging American lecture tours by French professors and vice versa, and his work in the American Red Cross in France during World War I. Hyde's correspondents include diplomats, government officials, military officers, academics, journalists, industrialists, and those from cultural circles, though the extent and substance of each is uneven. The container list of the finding aid includes an inventory of the correspondents. Especially rich is a large collection of correspondence between Hyde and his mother, Annie Fitch Hyde, from 1891 to 1921. Much of the correspondence files include both incoming and Hyde's outgoing letters. Although the correspondence with his mother and others touch at times on financial and business matters, there seems to be relatively little on Hyde's activities as an Equitable Assurance Company officer or in his other commercial enterprises prior to departing the U.S. in 1905.

One set of bound volumes in the collection hold congratulatory letters to Hyde on his promotions within the French Legion of Honor in the 1920s. Another set are memorial books with condolence letters and other documents related to the death of Hyde's father, Henry Baldwin Hyde in 1899. There are a few family photographs and diplomas/certificates.

An extensive amount of the collection, likely well more than half, is in French. Some, especially print matter in the diaries, is in German.


The collection is organized in eight series:

Series I. General Correspondence (1878, 1892-1939, 1953)

Series II. Correspondence with Annie Fitch Hyde (circa 1891-1922)

Series III: Correspondence Concerning Federation de l'Alliance Francaise (1898-1935)

Series IV. Diaries (1922-1940)

Series V. Cercle Francais and Other, Related Scrapbooks (1894-1905)

Series VI. Legion of Honor Letter Books (1921, 1923, 1928)

Series VII. Henry Baldwin Hyde Memorial Books (1874, 1894, 1899-1900)

Series VIII. Photographs and Certificates (circa 1880s-1953)