Have you heard of Anne Hyde, Duchess of York? Matthew Kelly, a recent graduate of Georgetown would like to introduce you with his new website The Anne Hyde Project! Matthew created this website for his capstone, completing his Masters Degree in English. The site explores the life of this fascinating woman using materials from a variety of sources, including the Milton House Archives in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York is often remembered for her marriage to King James II. Their marriage was controversial, with a baby conceived out of wedlock, financial trouble, and infidelity. However, she was also a late-in-life convert to Catholicism and her written declaration explaining that conversion circulated widely and inspired impassioned responses from contemporary writers making her an interesting Catholic figure during the recusant period. This was a period of time from about 1570 to 1791 when English Roman Catholics refused to attend services of the Church of England.
This is where Matthew begins his exploration, “through the network of texts generated in response to her conversion to Catholicism”. Some of these texts came from the Milton House Archives in Georgetown’s Manuscripts Collection. This collection contains letters, documents and other manuscripts related to Roman Catholic recusants in England during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. This collection includes a scribal copy of the very declaration penned by the Duchess.