Hyde Leadership and International Explorations Magnet

Hyde Elementary 210 N Oliver Ave

The A.A. Hyde Elementary School opened its doors in February 1930.

The school was named for Albert Alexander Hyde, the creator of Mentholatum.  He was also a great philanthropist.

A.A. Hyde was born in Lee, Massachusetts on March 2, 1848.

A.A.. Hyde
Courtesy: Wichita Public Schools

Hyde moved to Leavenworth, Kansas in 1865 then to Wichita in 1872. He started work as a bank clerk then moved into real estate.

In 1875 he married Ida Elizabeth Todd.

Ida Todd Hyde
Courtesy: findagrave.com

Interesting side note: Mrs. Hyde was related to Abraham Lincoln. Her father, James Todd, (a Wichita grocer) was related to Abraham’s mother, Mary Todd Lincoln.

Mrs. Hyde was deaf but always attended church services to set an example to her nine kids.

She also served as an assistant to her husband.

In 1889, Hyde, his brother-in-law and a few investors created The Yucca Company. It specialized in shaving cream, soaps, and perfume made from the yucca cactus.

One of the products sold by Hyde was Vest Pocket Cough Specific.  The product was made with camphor and menthol and soothed the throat. Hyde started experimenting with menthol.  In 1894, he created Mentholatum ointment.

The product known as the “Little Nurse for Little Ills” was a huge success.  By 1906, the company was renamed The Mentholatum Company and focused only on Mentholatum. In 1909, the company built a large factory in Wichita, and another in Buffalo, New York. The progressive thinking company promoted women, provided day care services, and encouraged vacations long before the idea became popular.

Hyde Home 3728 E. 2nd street
Courtesy: Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum

It was said that two things drove A A. Hyde – faith and the power of giving generously. At one period in his life, Mr. Hyde kept only 10% of his annual income, donating the rest to worthy causes. “His money went to charitable organizations around the world.” Locally he supported the YMCA and YWCA along with the Wichita Children’s Home, Wesley Hospital and church missionaries working overseas.  The elementary school, YMCA’s Camp Hyde and Wichita’s Hyde Park all honor his name.

Hyde Elementary opened in 1930, and Mr. Hyde loved the new school bearing his name and was said to have visited it frequently.

During one of his visits, he was rumored to show a couple of boys a picture of him fishing from a raft on Beaver Dam near his lodge in Estes Park. When he held up the picture and asked who it was; they responded, “Robinson Crusoe!”

Ida died from complications from a stroke in her home on February 10, 1933, at the age of 78. Mr. Hyde died on January 10, 1935, at the age of 86.  They are both interred at Maple Grove Cemetery.

Speaking of Maple Grove Cemetery…

The cemetery was established in 1888 by A.A. Hyde and several others. Hyde was able to get landscape architect Albert Ellis to work on the new graveyard. According to Maple Grove’s website, “Ellis… arrived with recommendations from… Mark Twain. Ellis would also lay out many of the city’s parks and the grounds of Fairmount University.”

Interesting side note: The Hyde kids spent entire summers hauling buckets of water from the creek to the newly planted trees at Maple Grove.

Hyde Family
Courtesy: forgottenbuffalo.com

Hyde’s Mentholatum Building still stands at Douglas.  It’s currently occupied by a Wichita tradition, The Spice Merchant.

Back to the school: An auditorium and two classrooms were added in 1938. More additions came in 1948 and 2001.

In 1991 the school changed to a neighborhood magnet and was renamed Hyde International Communications Magnet with Global awareness and communications as the focus. In 2016, the school became Hyde Leadership and International Magnet with a focus on international studies and leadership skills.  

Check out Wichita’s other schools.

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