Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 133, page(s) 736-738


Alvan Waldo Hyde, a member of the Hartford County bar, died at his home in Hartford on October 25, 1946, in his sixty-seventh year. He was born in Hartford on August 21, 1880, a son of William Waldo Hyde and Helen E. (Watson) Hyde. He attended the public schools of Hartford and the Hartford Public High School. He was graduated from Yale University in 1902 and from the Harvard Law School in 1905. He was married on December 6, 1905, to Helen E. Howard. She died in November, 1906. On April 4, 1911, he married Teresa MacGillivray, who survives. Also surviving are three children, Mrs. Helen Hyde Bulkeley (wife of William H. Bulkeley), Mrs. Jeanette Hyde Stoner (wife of Louis B. Stoner) and William Waldo Hyde, II, and his mother and a sister, Elizabeth Hyde.

After graduating from law school, he entered the office of Gross, Hyde & Shipman, became a member of the firm on January 1, 1910, and remained a member of that firm and its successors until his death.

If we read in 48 Conn. 602 the eulogies pronounced upon the death of his great-grandfather, Loren P. Waldo, and in 63 Conn. 614 the eulogies pronounced upon the death of his grandfather, Alvan P. Hyde, and in 90 Conn. 717 the tribute to his father, William Waldo Hyde, we can see how deeply embedded in the law were his ancestral roots. Alvan Waldo Hyde was to the manner born. What was said in the obituary sketch of the father also applies to the son: He was "pre-eminently a student of the law. He studied its underlying principles and was never dismayed by reported opinions which from some aspects seemed to run counter to his own conclusions. . . His opinions were founded upon careful study, but his unerring common sense held him fixed on the principles of justice undisturbed by any subtleties of analytical reasoning. Accurate thinking led him to accurate and concise statement." He was not so much interested in trials of fact, but, given the facts he was deeply interested in the elucidation of law applicable to those facts. One excellent illustration of this is found in Napier v. Peoples Stores Co., 98 Conn. 414, 426, where the court, following his argument, held that "we feel compelled to overrule the case of Wells v. Hartford Manilla Co. 76 Conn. 27, . . . in so far as it holds that claims arising out of executory contracts, in respect of which no anticipatory breach existed before the date of the receivership, are not allowable."

In 1935 Mr. Hyde was appointed a public utility commissioner for a term of six years, and he was chairman of the commission for a part of his term of office. In that year, 1935, the powers of the commission were greatly extended by statute. This gave Mr. Hyde an unusual opportunity to assist in the development of administrative law in the field of rate making and in supervision over the issuance of securities. The state motor carrier act was also passed by the General Assembly in the same year. Connecticut was one of the first states to adopt such legislation and it preceded legislation by Congress enacted later that year. Here again, Mr. Hyde's ability as a lawyer was demonstrated in establishing basic classifications of the different types of carriers in the administration of this new form of regulated service.

Upon his retirement as public utility commissioner he devoted himself to his duties as trustee of trusts under various wills and virtually retired from the active practice of law. His health failed and after a considerable period of illness he died on October 25, 1946.

Those who dealt with him through his forty years at the bar recognize his ability as a lawyer. Those of us who were closest to him also recognize that he had to an unusual degree that quality of personality which we call charm, and we mourn his passing.