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Walter Woodburn Hyde papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Walter Woodburn Hyde was born on May 4, 1870, in Ithaca, New York, to Orange Percy and Eloise Flower Davies Hyde. His sister, Florence Elise Hyde, was an author. In 1893, he earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell University, where he studied ancient history. He began his career as a Latin and history teacher at Westerly High School (probably in Westerly, Rhode Island) and Northampton High School in Northampton, Massachusetts. At Northampton, Hyde was appointed Vice Principal. Following a teaching stint at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the American School of Classical Studies in Rome, Hyde continued his own education at the Universities of Geneva, Göttingen, and Halle, earning his doctoral degree from Halle with a 1902 dissertation entitled "De Olympionicarum Statuis a Pausania Commemoratis."

Hyde returned to the United States and continued teaching; first at the Latin Friends School in Baltimore (teaching Latin), then at the University of Tennessee as professor of Latin from 1908 to 1909, then at Cornell University as an instructor in Greek from 1909 to 1910, and finally at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught Greek and Ancient History from 1910 until his retirement in 1940. In 1948, he was awarded Litt. D. (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Throughout his career, he published more than 14 books and 160 articles on the topics of Greek archaeology, philology, literature, religion, geography, and law. A particular interest focused on Olympic victor statues.

Hyde married Mary Drever in 1955. He died in Philadelphia on February 15, 1966.

This collection contains lectures and writings, largely from Hyde's time at the University of Pennsylvania, from 1910 to 1940, all related to his professional interests in ancient history. The collection is arranged in two series: I. Lectures and II. Writings.

The lectures series is further divided into three subseries, Undergraduate lectures, Graduate lectures, and "Miscellaneous Lectures." Topics of lectures focus on Greek and Roman history and religion, with entire series of lectures relating to the Roman Dominate, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire. In addition, there is a series of lectures on Topography and Monuments of Olympia, which was the topic of Hyde's own dissertation. For the most part, these lectures are undated. Where dates have been applied to folders, in many cases, the dates on the cover sheet were crossed off. The crossed off dates on the cover sheets may indicate that these lectures were used throughout the course of Hyde's career at the University of Pennsylvania; and the slips of papers which were attached to the original via straight pins may add credence to the theory. These slips of papers seem to include additions, corrections, and interesting background research that may have been collected over the years. The "Miscellaneous Lectures" were grouped together and titled by Hyde himself. He included a table of contents and topics of these lectures focus on high school curriculum, sports, Olympic victor statues, student life, the origin of liberties, Islam and its founder, travel observations, and ancient history and archaeology. Some of these "lectures" do not necessarily seem to be lectures, but instead were published and/or printed writings. It is possible that some of the true lectures were given outside of the classroom.

Series II. Writings includes Hyde's bibliography of published works and several seemingly unpublished writings by Hyde. It is unclear if any of the works included were completed; but the one entitled "Curious Lands and Peoples of Greek Historiographers" was clearly in draft form. Almost all of the writings have uncertain pagination--there are multiple sets of pages that are not in order. Researchers should be aware that processors did not change the order that was maintained by Hyde.

Researchers interested in the University of Pennsylvania's teaching of ancient history; lecture styles and methodology of teaching during the first half of the 20th century; and Greek and Roman history, more generally, may find this collection to be valuable.

Gift of Walter Woodburn Hyde, 1954.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Vanesa Evers
Finding Aid Date
2019 February 22
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Greek History, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1-2
Oriental History, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3-4
Roman Empire, 1929-1930.
Box 1 Folder 5-6
Roman Republic, 1936.
Box 1 Folder 7-8
Greek History and Historiography, undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
Greek Religion, undated.
Box 1 Folder 10-11
Hellenism, circa 1933.
Box 1 Folder 12-13
Roman Dominate, circa 1935-1936.
Box 1 Folder 14
Topography and Monuments of Olympia, 1935.
Box 1 Folder 15-16
Table of contents and lectures 1 to 6 ("Place of European History in the High School Curriculum," "Ancient Sports and Sportsmen," "Olympic Victor Monuments," "University of Athens and its Student Life," "The Prosecution and Punishment of Animals and Lifeless Things in the Middle Ages and Modern Times," (printed in University of Pennsylvania Law Review) " and "The Origins of Our Liberties"), circa 1910-1940.
Box 1 Folder 17
Lectures 7 to 13 ("Islam and its Founder," illegible title, "German University Clubs," "Bi-Millennium of the Birth of Augustus Caesar," "Observations on My Visit to Russia," "Report on the Resources of the University of Pennsylvania Library for the Study of Ancient History," and notes on "The Ascent of Olympus"), circa 1910-1940.
Box 2 Folder 1
Lectures 14 to 17 ("The Great Pyramid of Khufu," "The Pyramids of Gizeh," "Origin of the Unknown Soldier," and Why Latin Teachers Should Know Greek"), circa 1910-1940.
Box 2 Folder 2

Bibliography, after 1946.
Box 2 Folder 3
An Excursion into Aetolia and Acarnania Fifty Years Ago, typescript, circa 1950.
Box 2 Folder 4
The Church at the Close of the Fourth Century, typescript with manuscript additions, undated.
Box 2 Folder 5
Curious Lands and Peoples of Greek Historiographers, draft(s), circa 1930.
Box 2 Folder 6-8
The Story of Dictatorship, typescript with manuscript additions, undated.
Box 2 Folder 9

Print, Suggest