Alice Beal Baker Hyde Papers
Alice Beal Baker Hyde was born on 16 May 1897 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was Ray Stannard Baker, a prominent McClure's magazine reporter who later won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Woodrow Wilson. Her mother, Jessie Irene Beal Baker, was a homemaker and mother of four children: Alice Beal, James Stannard, Roger Denio, and Rachel Moore. During Alice's early childhood, the family moved from Chicago to Bronxville, New York, where her father became an active participant in the New York City journalism scene until another move to East Lansing, Michigan, around 1908, presumably to be close to family relatives who lived in the area. Finally, in 1910, when Alice was thirteen years old, the Bakers settled down permanently in Amherst, Massachusetts.
She attended Amherst High School and then transferred to Rogers Hall School for Girls in Lowell, Massachusetts, where she spent the 1913-14 school year before enrolling at Smith College in the fall of 1914. At Smith, Hyde majored in Economics and minored in Sociology. In her spare time, she was a member of the Studio [art] Club and worked as the Arts Editor of the Class of 1918 Class Book. After graduating college, she stayed on at Smith as a member of the first class of the Smith School for Social Work, completing her social work degree in 1919.
Hyde got a job as a psychiatric social worker at the State Hospital in Boston in May 1919. In 1920, she left Boston to work for the American Red Cross in Detroit, Michigan, where she met her future husband, Mark Hyde, a 38-year-old World War I veteran whose travels to China and writerly aspirations intrigued her. They married on 10 September 1921, and shortly thereafter moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where she found a part time job in February of 1922 at the American Red Cross again, this time in conjunction with the U.S. Veterans Bureau's program to fund the needs of ex-servicemen. Later that year, Mark Hyde, then working in the automobile industry for Dodge Brothers, was transferred to Dallas, Texas, so the couple moved again.
Sometime in the mid-1920s, the Hydes left Texas for Wellesley, Massachusetts. They had two children, Beal (1923) and Alexander "Alec" (1925). Alice stayed home with her sons while Mark attempted to begin his career as a writer, receiving substantial encouragement from Ray Stannard Baker, with whom he corresponded. In addition to his writing, Mark also became an active proponent of socialist ideas, endeavoring to start a chapter of the Socialist Party in Wellesley around this time. Unfortunately, his writing and political ideas failed to produce a steady income, and the family fell on hard times beginning in 1928. Alice's letters express her frustration at her husband's unwillingness to take a steady job so that the family could stop subsisting off of the checks her parents sent them. Finally, in the spring of 1928, Mark found a job in car sales in Canada, leaving Alice at home with the children in Wellesley. The couple remained apart through 1930, when Mark successfully sold the manuscript of his book, The Singing Sword, to the Little Brown Publishing Company. By 1931 he was back in Wellesley, but financial hardship persisted. Marital affairs reached the breaking point in the spring of 1931, when Alice had an affair with Dan Waugh, a friend from Amherst, and a Dartmouth College graduate, who had corresponded with her extensively during her Smith years. Shortly thereafter, the Hydes divorced. They continued to exchange letters about their sons and personal affairs throughout their lives. Neither remarried.
Around 1932, Alice Hyde found a full time job in the social work field as an Assistant District Secretary for the Family Welfare Society of Boston. In 1935 she left that position to work as a social worker for the Judge Baker Foundation. She took on a second job in 1943 doing psychiatric investigations for the R.G. Home Service in Wellesley, although she had moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1938. Also during this period, she became an active planner and participant in the activities of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, beginning in 1939 and ending in 1950.
During 1945, she gave talks on psychiatric social work with children to Parent Teacher Associations in the Boston area. By the 1947-48 school year, she was lecturing more, this time as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatric Social Work at Boston University. She rose through the ranks of the faculty, becoming an Associate Professor in the 1952-53 academic year. In the late 1950s she attained full professorship. At Boston University, she was respected as a caring, creative teacher and curriculum planning leader. She also held the position of the Chairman of the Casework Department from 1950 to 1962, when she retired. Her book manuscript on the theoretical basis for casework practice is unpublished.
Her retired life included a vacation to Greece (1967) and winters in Florida to escape the cold of Massachusetts, which had always exacerbated her sufferings from a life-long case of Raynaud's disease. She and a good friend and colleague, Annie Snow, moved together to Chatham, Massachusetts, her last permanent home, in the late 1960s. In addition to traveling, her activities during this period of her life included an interest in the Audubon Society, photography, and the secretaryship of the Smith College Club of Park-Orlando, Florida. She died on 1 February 1972. Those who knew her eulogized her as a hard worker whose dedication to her field and ability to form close personal relationships made her an excellent teacher and friend throughout her long life.