Shakespeare Quarterly 54.4 (2004) iii
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From the Editor
It is with sadness that we note the death of Mary Viscountess Eccles. Better known by the name she adopted during her first marriage, Mary Crapo Hyde, she was widely celebrated for her contributions—as a collector and a scholar—to the study of Dr. Johnson and his circle. Her important role in the history of American Shakespeare studies (and particularly in the birth of Shakespeare Quarterly) has, however, been all but forgotten.
After completing a doctoral dissertation on "Playwriting for Elizabethans" (published by Columbia University Press in 1949), she shifted her focus from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. But in 1923 she helped to establish the Shakespeare Association of America, a group of wealthy patrons and scholars who met at her New York apartment. In 1950, when their journal, the Shakespeare Association Bulletin, became Shakespeare Quarterly, Mary Hyde continued to serve as one of the five members of the journal's editorial board.
The SAB had been closely, and increasingly, associated with the Folger Shakespeare Library, particularly when the Folger's assistant director, James G. McManaway, became editor of SQ, a post he held from 1951 to 1972. That year Mary Hyde gave up her own position as president of the SAA and, on behalf of that organization, officially presented SQ to its until-then unofficial home. On 23 April 1972, at a celebration of Shakespeare's 408th birthday and the Folger's fortieth anniversary, she announced: "I wish to entrust to the Folger's care—our only child—Shakespeare Quarterly. May the future be a brilliant one."* With Mary Hyde's blessings, and the ongoing guidance of the Folger's directors and curators, SQ has grown up within the walls of the white marble building on East Capitol Street.
In time, and again with Mary Hyde's blessings, the SAA gave way to the professional organization that now bears its name, thanks to the visionary leadership of J.Leeds Barroll, who transformed the SAA from a social group of Shakespeare aficionados to the strong professional organization that it is today. SQ is grateful to Mary Eccles for her generosity and for her auspicious wishes for the future, which we, too, hope will be a brilliant one.
William H. Sherman
* Her speech, "The Shakespeare Association of America to the Folger Shakespeare Library on Its 40th Anniversary, 23 April 1972," was printed in SQ 23 (1972): 219-25.