Mystery Monday – Photograph of Mrs. Carolyn Hyde

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Carolyn Knowland Hyde, widow of Francis de Lacy Hyde

This photograph of Mrs. Carolyn Hyde, with her dog, was taken around 1940 by her personal secretary, Mary Mirota. The two men are a mystery, as is also the location. In January of 2013 I had posted about Mrs. Hyde, along with sharing some photographs and postcards. I found Mrs. Hyde’s obituary, dated 29 August 1959, from the Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) on page 5 of the Saturday Evening Edition, entitled “Funeral Services Held For Mrs. De Lacy Hyde” on

“Funeral services were held here today for Mrs. Frances de Lacy Hyde, for many years a member of the national board of directors of the YWCA.

Mrs. Hyde, who would have been 91 on Sept. 27, died Thursday. She has lived in Tucson for the past 15 years with her daughter, Mrs. Carolyne Hyde Haskell, of 722 Shepherd Hills . . . .”

The obituary lists other details, including the names of her two sons, O. E. Hyde of Tucson and Frank Hyde of Castle Hot Springs, Arizona. Her four grandchildren were listed by name. She was also survived by eight great-grandchildren. Mrs. Hyde had been a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Her great interest had been in foreign students, and the YWCA. She was on the original board of the International House in New York. Also, she was active in New York City in the drive to give the vote to women.

Before moving to Tucson, Mrs. Hyde had lived for many years at a large mansion in Plainfield, New Jersey, called Hydewood Hall, on Mountain Avenue. Her private secretary, Mary Mirota, worked for her in the late 1930s and early 1940s. When Mrs. Hyde moved permanently to Tucson, Mary ended her employment.

There are also three undated pictures of Washington, DC, from the same time period, that are similar, from an album belonging to Mary Mirota.  I’m wondering if the first photo was also taken in Washington, DC. You can click on the photographs to enlarge them. Any help with these four photos are very welcome!

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Washington Monument, Washington, DC.
Copyright Genealogy Sisters.
The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.
Copyright Genealogy Sisters
Looking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.





6 thoughts on “Mystery Monday – Photograph of Mrs. Carolyn Hyde

  1. Could the younger gentleman be in a navy uniform? Perhaps this is at the Navy Yard in DC or at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.


    1. Kelly, Thanks for your suggestions. I would say the young man does have a Navy uniform on. I wonder if it could have been taken at the Arlington National Cemetery, at the Custis-Lee Mansion? The older man looks a bit like a Southern gentleman!


  2. Dear Maryann,

    Many thanks for your reply. I believe the location is Mrs. Hyde’s house in Plainfield, NJ.

    My husband is an architect and he noticed the ionic volutes of the columns in the top left of the photo, and the 4 columns seem to match up well with the house facade, if you assume that a lot of trees and landscaping over the decades following the photo of the house.



    1. Dear Dede,
      Thank You! I think you and your husband have solved the mystery! I agree that the column looks the same as in the photograph. Since Mrs. Hyde belonged to the Plainfield Garden Club, most likely she had gardens, shrubs, and trees planted around the house. There is a book about North Plainfield, New Jersey by Arcadia Press (1999) that shows photos of the house. The house burned to the ground on 26 July 1963. The book is still available, and you can also see the photos by doing a Google search, and entering “Hydewood Hall”.
      If you have an account you can see Mrs. Hyde’s passport application from 1920 when she visited China (and many other countries). Her daughter and one of her sons went with her. Also, a secretary from the National Board of the YWCA accompanied them. If you can find any newspaper articles or records in the archives of the YWCA you may find out more about your grandfather and his connections to Mrs. Hyde.
      Warmest regards,


  3. The house in the photo is definitely the front porch of Hydewood Hall. I saw that house when I was in high school in the early 60’s. It was quite deteriorated then but you could see what it had been. The balusters on the porch railings match what I remember. In fact after the ruins were demolished I picked up one of the balusters which I still have today


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