Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragist 1890-1920

Biography of Jeanette Hyde, 1861-1936

By Imani Jenkins, student, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

"A woman...a Mormon by religion... and a mainlander." These are the "distinct handicaps" that Jeanette Hyde described to the Los Angeles Times, as she ventured to Honolulu as the first woman supervisor at a customs warehouse. However, Hyde had never allowed these drawbacks to weigh her down. Born December 12, 1861, to parents Nancy and Abraham Acord, Jeanette grew up among her twelve siblings in Spring City, Utah. Not much remains known of her childhood besides her attendance at public schools in Provo and Salt Lake City. Hyde would go on to pursue higher education at Brigham Young University, then receive as normal degree from the University of Utah in 1883. Shortly thereafter she married Joseph S. Hyde, on July 22, 1887. Jeanette and Joseph had seven children together, five of whom survived.

Noted as a remarkable woman throughout her career, Hyde became regional director of the national Republican organization, and began serving as a Utah member of the Republican National Committee in 1920. She went on to serve 12 years as chairman of the women's Republican organization of Utah, using her platform to create programs such as the Woman's Civic Center of Salt Lake City, the Camp Glen Order for Working Girls in Utah, and the Civic Campaign of Social Welfare under President Grover Cleveland. Hyde also made time to aid the conservation movement during World War I.

During the end of her career within the Coolidge administration, Hyde was appointed Collector of the Port in Honolulu, Hawaii, where $1,700,000 was collected annually in customs fees. This government job brought much attention to Hyde, as she was the only woman supervisor, but Jeanette quickly proved she could carry these burdens well. As an article in the Los Angeles Times commented, "Mastering of the code book itself entails a certain knowledge of law and with this judgment of when to apply the law. So it is that Mrs. Hyde occupies a rather unique position for women." As the first woman holding a high profile job commonly assumed by men, Hyde constantly operated under critical and oppressive working conditions. When speaking on this experience she note that "the religious handicap I found disappeared from the surface sooner than the others... but for sometime after I arrived I was made keenly conscious that every move I made politically or in private life was being tabulated and filed away for a reference as evidence against me should I make false decisions."'

Hyde served a collector of customs for eight years, between 1925 and 1933. She passed away in Hawaii, suffering a heart attack in 1936, while attending an LDS conference. She left behind her husband, children, and a beautiful legacy for numerous women to come.


Gardner, Mona. "Mrs. Jeanette A. Hyde, the Only Woman Port Supervisor." Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 1936, p K13.

"Mrs. Jeanette A. Hyde- Death Claims S.L. Woman, State Leader." The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 1963.

Thomas, Jean. A History of the Customs Service in Hawaii. Department of the Treasury, United States Customs Service, Pacific Region, 1991.

Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].

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