Finding Aid for the Ruth Reid and Kent Hyde papers, 1920-2001

Processed by Stacy Wood, 2011; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Ruth Reid and Kent Hyde papers
Date (inclusive): 1920-2001
Collection number: 1945
Creator: Reid, Ruth 1903-1981
Extent: 6 document boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Abstract: Ruth Reid and Kent Hyde were both authors and lovers for over forty years. Their correspondence documents the changing political landscape of the twentieth century as well as their intellectual development and personal relationships. For most of their relationship Kent Hyde, a woman, passed as a man. Poetry, correspondence and interviews are contained in the collection.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the UCLA Library.

Processing Note

Processed by Stacy Wood, 2011.

Sponsor

The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive  at UCLA is an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives , the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)  and the UCLA Library . These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ruth Reid and Kent Hyde papers (Collection Number 1945). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Biography/History

Ruth Reid was born Ruth Hatch in Salem, Massachusetts in 1903. She was born to a conservative family and in her teenage years left to live with her half brother and his wife in Greenville, South Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina to study literature. At the University of North Carolina she met a gentleman by the name of Edgar, a German Jewish professor of philosophy. They were married in 1926 and moved to Hamburg after Edgar secured a teaching position there. Ruth pursued her Phd but never finished. Edgar left Germany in 1933 as Hitler came to power, but Ruth stayed until 1934 and carried on an affair with a Jewish doctor named Dena.
Upon returning to the United States, Ruth began attending the Moody Bible Institute in North Carolina, eventually leaving to work as a missionary to Jewish immigrants in Cincinatti. After leaving missionary service she married a Mr. Reid and moved to Northern California with him and his sister in the late 1930's in order to take care of them. Shortly after she met Kent Hyde at Berkeley, where she was working as a lab technician and Ruth was reading to blind students for extra money.
Ruth and Kent lived in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Fairfax, Oakland and briefly in upstate New York. They had four years alone together before Kent's mother moved in with them so that they could care for her. According to Ruth, Kent's mother hated Ruth and refused to acknowledge their relationship as she was a Free Methodist. She lived with Ruth and Kent for fourteen years.
Despite the time period and location in which they lived, Ruth and Kent were not active participants in the gay movement. Ruth in fact has very few recollections of the time period related to gay activism or issues.
Kent Hyde identified as a communist for a brief time and so followed activities of Joseph McCarthy and the House Un American Activities Committee. Throughout the 1950's, Kent and Ruth owned and operated a weaving shop called Reid-Hyde Handweaving in San Francisco doing both piecework and wholesale bulk items. Ruth had learned weaving during her time in Germany and brought the skills to bear at a time when they were both out of work. Both Ruth and Kent wrote constantly. Kent was a poet, published as early as the 1920's. Ruth never finished her novel.
In 1951, Kent had her first attack of rheumatoid arthritis, paralyzing her temporarily. She continued to suffer from it until her death in 1968. Ruth and Kent had been together for twenty nine years.
During Kent's illness in the late 1950's, Ruth began an affair with their close friend Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock, an occurrence which devastated Kent. Ruth and Rudy found an apartment together and Kent checked into a mental hospital in St. Helena. Upon his release, he moved in with Ruth and Rudy and shortly thereafter Ruth and Kent moved out again and found an apartment. The affair ended, but Rudy remained a friend to Ruth until her death in 1981. In her later years, Ruth became involved in the lesbian community. She worked on her writing in women's writing groups and developed supportive circles in the Berkeley area. Although her work was never published in its entirety, her autobiography Dark Birth was published in excerpts in The Wild Iris, Gay Old Girls and In the Life. A version of Dark Birth, excerpted and with notes from Jacqueline Marie is available under the title Wife of a Lesbian.

Chronology

1903 Ruth Reid born, Salem, MA.
1904 Kent Hyde born, Portland, OR.
1926 Ruth Reid moves to Hamburg.
1934 Ruth Reid returns to the United States, attends Moody Bible Institute.
1939 Kent Hyde and Ruth Reid meet in Berkeley.
1968 Kent Hyde dies.
1981 Ruth Reid dies.

Scope and Content

This collection includes the materials of three different individuals: Ruth Reid, Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock. Ruth Reid's materials contain her unpublished manuscripts, letters, diary entries and recordings of her reading and being interviewed. Kent Hyde's materials include some published work, unpublished work and letters. Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock's materials include letters, drawings and unpublished collaborative work with Ruth Reid.
Despite the time period and location in which they lived, Ruth and Kent were not active participants in the gay movement. Ruth in fact has very few recollections of the time period related to gay activism or issues. Included within the collection is a taped interview from 1981 conducted by the archivists at the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive. In it, Ruth states that Kent did not particularly like gays. She does recall two incidents in which Kent's presentation drew attention to the couple, one in which they were confronted by the police and one in which their conservative neighbors had them under police surveillance. Much of the correspondence within the collection highlights political beliefs and exchanges over a range of topics, but never explicitly to do with gay and lesbian issues. Their consistent and rich correspondence with friends and family document their lives in detail including their tastes, opinions, political beliefs and relationships with others.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Ruth Reid.
Kent Hyde.

Related Material

Recordings of Kent Hyde reading poetry both his and otherwise, can be found in the Mazer Collection of Audio and Visual Materials.

Container List

Box 1, Folder 1

Gertrude Stein: A Dialogue. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten document

Scope and Content Note

Copy of an unpublished short story.
Box 1, Folder 2

Various Writings. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopies of both handwritten and typed documents

Scope and Content Note

Various writings from the Feminist Writers' Group. Can be approximately dated to the mid 1970s. Includes short stories, poetry and notes.
Box 1, Folder 3

Bridges Magazine Article. 1985.

Physical Description: magazine article clipping

Scope and Content Note

Published magazine article. Ruth's story of the night she met Kent in Berkeley with photos, excerpted from Ruth Reid's Dark Birth manuscript.
Box 1, Folder 4

Notes. No Date.

Physical Description: handwritten notes and photocopied notes

Scope and Content Note

Notes for Dark Birth
Box 1, Folder 5

Dark Birth Manuscript. 2001.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Dark Birth manuscript, this copy was created in 2001 according to marginal notes to accompany the June L. Mazer collection. This folder contains from the title page - page 88.
Box 1, Folder 6

Dark Birth Manuscript. 2001.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Dark Birth manuscript, this copy was created in 2001 according to marginal notes to accompany the June L. Mazer collection. This folder contains from page 89 through page 199.
Box 1, Folder 7

Dark Birth Manuscript. 2001.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Dark Birth manuscript, this copy was created in 2001 according to marginal notes to accompany the June L. Mazer collection. This folder contains from page 200-298.
Box 1, Folder 8

Dark Birth Manuscript. 2001.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Dark Birth manuscript, this copy was created in 2001 according to marginal notes to accompany the June L. Mazer collection. This folder contains from page 299-406.
Box 1, Folder 9

Untitled Manuscript. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Contains pages 1-127.
Box 1, Folder 10

Untitled Manuscript. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Contains pages 128-232.
Box 1, Folder 11

Journal Entries. 1951-1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of both handwritten and typed documents

Scope and Content Note

Journal entries spanning between 1951-1956.
Box 2, Folder 1

Correspondence. 1946-1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Thelma and Otto
Box 2, Folder 2

Correspondence. 1948-1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Flo
Box 2, Folder 3

Correspondence. 1951.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Tommy/Paul in Germany
Box 2, Folder 4

Correspondence. 1952-1953.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Tommy/Paul in Germany
Box 2, Folder 5

Correspondence. 1954-1969.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Tommy/Paul in Germany
Box 2, Folder 6

Correspondence. 1951-1973.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Ivy
Box 2, Folder 7

Correspondence. 1944-1953.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 8

Correspondence. 1954.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous Correspondence
Box 2, Folder 9

Correspondence. 1955-1973.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous Correspondence
Box 3, Folder 1

Ruth Reid Interview. 1981.

Physical Description: 2 cassette tapes

Scope and Content Note

Two cassette tapes documenting an interview with Ruth Reid conducted by two unnamed representatives of the June L. Mazer archive upon the donation of Ruth Reid's materials.

General note

The interview covers much of her time with Kent including his own sense of gender identity and the realities of "passing". It also covers her affair with Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock, her excitement about new found lesbian community in Berkeley and her writing.
Box 3, Folder 2

Short Stories. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopies of typewritten paper

Scope and Content Note

Short stories by Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock, unpublished.
Box 3, Folder 3

Drawings. 1971-1973.

Physical Description: photocopies of drawings with notes

Scope and Content Note

Included here are Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock's drawings made for Ruth Reid, some containing notes and letters.
Box 3, Folder 4

Poetry and Journal Entries. 1971.

Physical Description: photocopies of both handwritten and typed documents

Scope and Content Note

Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock's poetry and journal entries, unpublished.
Box 3, Folder 5

Correspondence. 1950-1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock/Betty 'Biber'
Box 3, Folder 6

Correspondence. February 1956-May 14, 1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock/Betty 'Biber'
Box 3, Folder 7

Correspondence. May 15, 1956 - December 6, 1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcook/Betty 'Biber'
Box 3, Folder 8

Correspondence. December 7, 1956 - January 17, 1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock/Betty 'Biber'
Box 4, Folder 1

1. Approximately 1920-1935.

Physical Description: newspaper clippings; scrapbook

Scope and Content Note

Contained is a newspaper article article documenting Miss Elizabeth Hyde (Kent) and her job as a teenager, shoe shiner and poet. Also contained are published poems under both the names Elizabeth and Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 2

Poetry and Translations. 1926-1974.

Physical Description: original typed documents; photocopied documents with notes

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous drafts and final incarnations of poetry as well as translations of others' work by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 3

In the Presence of Mine Enemies. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopy of typewritten manuscript

Scope and Content Note

Excerpts from unfinished and unpublished novel, In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 4

Miracle of Time. No Date.

Physical Description: photocopies of both handwritten and typed documents

Scope and Content Note

Collection of poetry all aggregated under the title Miracle of Time by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 5

Conceived in Liberty. 1961.

Physical Description: photocopies of typewritten paper

Scope and Content Note

Poetry collection entitled Conceived in Liberty by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 6

Stranger from the North. 1933.

Physical Description: photocopies of typewritten paper

Scope and Content Note

Stranger from the North and other poems, unpublished by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 7

Correspondence. 1958-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Adelaide from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 8

Correspondence. 1958-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Blanche from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 9

Correspondence. 1958-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Flo from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 10

Correspondence. 1958-1961.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Gertrude from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 11

Correspondence. 1953.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Bernice by Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 12

Correspondence. 1952-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Millie from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 13

Correspondence. 1958-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Minnie/Dick from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 14

Correspondence. 1954-1960.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Paul from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 15

Correspondence. 1954-1960.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Tommy from Kent Hyde.
Box 4, Folder 16

Correspondence. 1952-1962.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous correspondence from Kent Hyde.
Box 5, Folder 1

Correspondence. 1955.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 2

Correspondence. January 1956 - August 1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 3

Correspondence. August 1956 - December 1956.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 4

Correspondence. January 1957-February 1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 5

Correspondence. March 1957-April 1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 6

Correspondence. May 1957 - December 1957.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 5, Folder 7

Correspondence. 1958.

Physical Description: photocopies of typed letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Ruth Reid/Kent Hyde and Ruth 'Rudy' Babcock and Betty 'Biber'
Box 6, Folder 1

Dark Birth Manuscript. 1988.

Physical Description: photocopies

Scope and Content Note

Duplicate of Ruth Reid's Dark Birth manuscript. Title page through page 125.
Box 6, Folder 2

Dark Birth Manuscript. 1988.

Physical Description: photocopies

Scope and Content Note

Duplicate of Ruth Reid's Dark Birth manuscript. Page 126 through page 250.
Box 6, Folder 3

Dark Birth Manuscript. 1988.

Physical Description: photocopies

Scope and Content Note

Duplicate of Ruth Reid's Dark Birth manuscript. Pages 250 through 406.