OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Anne F. Hyde

Portrait of Anne F. Hyde

Anne Hyde studies the history of the North American West, specializing in the nineteenth century, and is particularly interested in race and family history She is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and the editor-in-chief of the Western Historical Quarterly. Prior to coming to Oklahoma, she taught at Colorado College for two decades, serving as the chair of the race and ethnic studies program and as the director of the Partnership for Civic Engagement, the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies, and the Crown Faculty Development Center. She has published widely in the history of the American West, and has been elected to the boards of the Western History Association and the American Historical Association. Her most recent books are An American Vision: Far Western Landscape and National Culture, 1820–1920 (1991), The West in the History of the Nation (2 vols., 2000), and Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860 (2011), winner of the Bancroft Prize and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is writing a history of mixed-race families in nineteenth-century North America.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Bancroft-prize winning historian Anne Hyde details stories about racial mixing in the American West. Focusing on the fur trade, and that world of mixed race relationships she describes a peaceful, productive version of that world, not The Revenant. Tracing several generations of western families, she lays out a west filled with surprising families. From all classes and racial groups, these families were significant players in many parts of the West in the nineteenth century. Using specific family examples, she describes what happens to these mixed race families after the U.S. state becomes concerned about mixing blood in the 1880s.
Anne Hyde presents a new history of life and love from the perspective of mixed blood families in the U.S. West and its borderlands. She traces the category of mixed blood as it shifts from unremarkable during the era of the fur trade to anathema by the end of the century. Looking closely at individual families that challenge our usual range of marriage styles and parenting ideals, she describes what happens to these families after American conquest in the 1850s, as a way to understand how new ideas about race shift life in the region.