MC:P155 Papers of H. Montgomery Hyde (1907-89)
Harford Montgomery Hyde (1907-1989; henceforth HMH) matriculated at Magdalen in 1928, and pursued a career as a barrister, politician (serving as MP in 1950-1959), and writer. Although he wrote books on many topics, he became especially known as an authority on the life and work of Oscar Wilde, whose rooms at Magdalen in Kitchen Staircase HMH had himself occupied when a student. The most important of his Wilde books were The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1948), Oscar Wilde: the Aftermath (1963), Oscar Wilde (1975), The Annotated Oscar Wilde (1982), and Lord Alfred Douglas: a biography (1984). Other relevant books of HMH include A History of Pornography (1964) and The Cleveland Street Scandal (1976).
Extensive collections of HMH’s papers, relating mainly to other aspects of his work, are also stored at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and the archives of Churchill College, Cambridge. These papers passed into the hands of a dealer after HMH’s death, and were eventually deposited with the archives of Magdalen College in September 2000 as Acc. No. 00/178.
MC:P155 comprise one scrapbook and several bundles of papers, all relating to HMH’s work on Wilde and his circle. Because the bundles appear to be of Hyde’s own creation, they have been retained as such, even though some of them contain related material. The papers include no drafts or working papers for the books; rather they include correspondence (both original letters to HMH, and carbons of HMH’s typed replies) relating to them.
Note: Several of HMH’s letters allude to a recording which he was apparently given in 1963, and which purported to be of Wilde reading extracts from his Ballad of Reading Gaol. Many people thought it was genuine, until an article by J. Vickers and P. Copeland, ‘The Voice of Oscar Wilde: an Investigation’, in BASC Journal no. 2 (1987), pp. 21–5, showed, on the basis of a technical analysis, that the recording could not have been made in 1900, and that the voice on the recording therefore cannot be Wilde’s. A copy of this article is kept in the McFarlane Library.
Catalogued in January 2001.
MC:P155/C1 – PAPERS ON THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE
Scrapbook containing press cuttings of reviews and correspondence relating to HMH’s The Trials of Oscar Wilde, published in 1948. MC:P155/C1/2-4 were found in this book.
MC:P155/C1/2-3 Nov 1949 & Nov 1952
Two more press cuttings relating The Trials of Oscar Wilde.
MC:P155/C1/4 27 Jul 1948
Typescript letter by HMH written in reply to a review of The Trials of Oscar Wilde by Sir Patrick Hastings in the Evening Dispatch hostile to Wilde’s character, and to the correspondence which ensued in that paper.
MC:P155/C2 – LATER CORRESPONDENCE ON OSCAR WILDE
MC:P155/C2/1 Nov 1956-Jan 1986
Folder of correspondence, copies of documents, and other papers relating to HMH’s work on Oscar Wilde. The majority of the papers comprise correspondence to HMH from other scholars or Wilde enthusiasts writing to him in relation to his various books on Wilde or Lord Alfred Douglas, or asking his advice on research or copyright.
The papers include an envelope postmarked 28 April 1930 addressed to HMH by Lord Alfred Douglas; typed TS of letters from Constance Wilde to Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Blacker, dated 12/1/1897-30/10/1898; a TS by HMH titled Wilde and Wildeana: Memories of Oscar Wilde and his times, undated; photocopies of letters from Lord Alfred Douglas, André Gide and Henry de Monterlant, from various collections. Item no. 97 (a letter from the Marquis of Queensbury) includes a copy of a poem attributed to Vivian Holland, which Holland’s son has noted as a misattribution.
Correspondents include Vyvyan Holland, Hugh Trevor-Roper (later Lord Dacre), and the Marquis of Queensbury [130 items].
MC:P155/C2/2 Sep 1966-Dec 1982
Folder of correspondence inscribed Orbis, containing letters, drafts and other papers, relating to HMH’s book The Annotated Oscar Wilde, published by Orbius Books in 1982. The folder also contains correspondence about the Czech rights to HMH’s The Quiet Canadian [178 items].
Folder inscribed Wilde Pictures, containing illustrations for possible use in The Annotated Oscar Wilde. These include a photograph of Wilde’s rooms in Magdalen College at the time when HMH occupied them in 1929/30 [34 items].
Folder inscribed Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde, Taylor, Queensbury etc., containing typescripts drafts of articles and memoirs by HMH on Lord Alfred Douglas, including notes on De Profundis, a memoir of HMH’s meetings with Lord Alfred (with copies of letters from Lord Alfred to HMH), photocopies of five letters from Oscar Wilde to Graham Hill, and a draft review by HMH of Mary Hyde’s edition of the correspondence of Bernard Shaw and Lord Alfred Douglas [27 items].
MC:P155/C2/5 7 Feb 1968-3 Jul 1984
Box of miscellaneous correspondence relating to HMH’s work on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. Much of the correspondence related to his books The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde: The Aftermath, Oscar Wilde, The Annotated Oscar Wilde. Several letters relate to copyright questions (especially over quoting from Wilde’s works or using pictures) and preparing foreign editions, and others are from other Wilde scholars (including Richard Ellmann) but many are letters from members of the public who were Wilde enthusiasts. There are also notes for speeches, newspaper cuttings, and some typescript articles by HMH. [712 items].