The papers of the Republican governor of Missouri from 1921 to 1925 and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1929 to 1933, consist of correspondence, clippings, printed material, photographs, and personal items. Major topics include agriculture, conservation, road construction, education, taxation, Republican politics, labor disputes, law enforcement, prohibition, and Missouri state institutions and politics.
The Arthur M. Hyde Papers were donated to the University of Missouri by Hyde on April 20, 1943 (Accession No. 28). Additional materials were donated by his daughter, Caroline Hyde Swift, on November 27, 1953 (Accession No. 3188).
Arthur Mastick Hyde was born at Princeton, Missouri, on July 12, 1877. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1899, and a year later graduated from the law school at the University of Iowa. For several years Hyde practiced law with his father Ira B. Hyde at their office in Princeton. In 1911 Hyde entered into a side business by opening an automobile dealership that was first located in Princeton and later moved to Trenton, Missouri. He dabbled in this business for several years and during his term as governor.
His first elected position was president of the reorganized Princeton Commercial Club. The next year he was elected to public office as mayor of Princeton in 1908. After two consecutive, two-year terms as a Republican mayor, Hyde ran an unsuccessful campaign for state Attorney General on the 1912 Progressive party ticket.
In 1915 Hyde and his wife Hortense Cullers, who he married in 1904, moved to Trenton where he continued to practice law. The Grundy County Democratic Party nominated him as their 1916 candidate for county prosecuting attorney, but Hyde refused and returned to the Republican Party. He then became more active for the Republican Party and began a speaking tour for office seekers throughout the state. By 1919 he was well known in the party and was elected president of the Young Republican's Association of Missouri. In the same year he also served as chairman for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association and spoke all across the state for fund raising campaigns. Hyde was also an active member in the Methodist Church in both Princeton and Trenton, where he led bible study classes.
Hyde defeated the Democratic candidate, John M. Atkinson, by a large majority in the 1920 governor's race. Elected as a progressive reformer, Hyde campaigned for better police protection, increased road construction, consolidation of state agencies and departments, sweeping changes in education and taxation, and an end to boss politics. Once in office his administration was challenged by Democratic Party bosses and the press as he tried to implement the many changes he had promised, fill state government positions, and make appointments. Hyde was able to make advances in public education, road improvements, the development of state parks and other conservation issues, law enforcement, and an adjusted and more equitable tax valuation system.
When his term ended Hyde returned to private life as a lawyer in Kansas City and Trenton, and in 1929 he was appointed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by President Herbert Hoover. His tenure in the federal Department of Agriculture was marred by declining farm prices and the eventual stock market crash and economic depression that followed.
After Hoover's defeat in 1932, Hyde kept an interest in religious concerns and stayed active in the Republican Party. His involvement with the Methodist Church led him in 1935 to help organize and become a leading speaker at the Conference of Methodist Laymen meeting in Chicago. He also continued to tour and speak for candidates throughout the United States and was the keynote speaker at the Missouri State Republican Convention in 1940. Arthur Mastick Hyde died following an operation for cancer in 1947 in New York City.
The Arthur Mastick Hyde Papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and photographs. The materials are primarily from Hyde's term as Missouri governor from 1921 to 1925, but they also document some of his activities as Secretary of Agriculture from 1929 to 1933; his personal interests in agriculture, conservation, politics, and religion; and his private and financial life, especially those years when he was governor. The papers are organized into four series:
All of the series are arranged alphabetically by subject and type of material, then chronologically therein.
The Hyde Papers once comprised three separate collections, but were combined to make the papers more accessible to researchers. Users of the papers may notice some burnt pages. Correspondence in the donor file alluded to a fire at the Hyde residence before the materials were deposited at the University of Missouri. Many of these papers were photocopied to preserve them. Some newspaper clippings and other readily available published sources were discarded.
The Gubernatorial series is the largest and most complete set of materials in the Hyde Papers. The progressive changes Hyde sought to make within the state government and the opposition he faced from the Democratic press and bosses are well documented. For many fellow Republicans it was a windfall of sorts for political positions. A significant portion of the gubernatorial correspondence concerns various recommendations for Republican appointments. Other major topics include: agriculture; labor disputes; taxation; education; conservation; road construction; law enforcement, especially in Kansas City, St. Louis, and St. Joseph; state agencies and departments; state institutions such as hospitals, prisons, reformatories, and colleges; state and national politics; and the Constitutional Convention of 1921.
Unfortunately the Secretary of Agriculture series is not very representative of Hyde's administration, and it should be noted that the National Archives holds a majority of the files related to the Department of Agriculture. The materials, which primarily consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, memoranda, and reports, provide a limited perspective of Secretary Hyde's programs which sought to understand and combat declining agricultural prices before and during the Great Depression. Some topics include: international agriculture, conservation, forestry, land utilization, crop loans, and crop rotation.
The Subject Files series mainly contains items that Hyde collected after he held public office. There are files related to communism, socialism, religion, agriculture during the Great Depression, and brief information about roads and crime in Missouri. Campaign literature from the 1920s to the 1940s is also included. This series primarily consists of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and some correspondence.
Information about Hyde's personal finances, which include correspondence about his automobile dealership, income taxes, and land acquisitions, are located in the Personal series. Also included are personal and complimentary letters. This series is not too representative of Hyde's personal life outside of his term as governor. Most of the material consists of correspondence, but there are also clippings, photographs, and pamphlets.