Cathy was born in Lawrence, Kansas, to Clyde and Allena Hyder. Her father was a distinguished professor of English Literature at the University of Kansas. She graduated from Lawrence High School in 1963 and Swarthmore College in 1967. Cathy and her husband, Ross, moved to Greenwich in 1969.
Photo Courtesy of The Oral History Project
Always civic-minded, Cathy volunteered with the League of Women Voters, the Brunswick School Parents Association, the American Red Cross and the First Presbyterian Church, where she served as a Deacon. But her greatest legacy will be her leadership of the Oral History Project at Greenwich Library.
The Oral History project was organized by the Greenwich Library and Greenwich Historical Society in 1973 as part of the upcoming Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. In 1977, it became a permanent committee of the Friends of Greenwich Library. It's staffed by volunteers, and it's a member of the Oral History Association, and the New England Association of Oral History.
Cathy joined the Project as an editor in 1981. In 1993, she took over the Chairmanship from MaryEllen LeBien and led the Project for 19 years. During this time, Cathy was the guiding force who raised the Project to visible prominence, and garnered for it several awards:
- The 1991 Harvey A. Kantor Award by the New England Association of Oral History.
- The 1995 CT Life Award, New Haven, Connecticut, for the preservation of personal histories which have created a priceless resource for Greenwich, and an inspiring model for other communities to follow.
- The 1996 Publication Award from the Connecticut Library Association Public Relations Section, for an outstanding library publication.
- The Town of Greenwich proclamation designating July 15, 2003, as Oral History Day in Greenwich.
During Cathy's tenure, she led the OHP through many changes in technology. A website and blog was developed. She served as moderator for a discussion relating to the publication of the Project's book on Bruce Museum, and developed Oral History Days - an opportunity for residents to give half-hour interviews on local history. Cathy helped create and maintain a Subject Guide of interviews.
Perhaps the most fitting tribute was the fact that other similar groups across the nation use the OHP as the benchmark for a professional and quality organization.
Cathy was truly a champion of the Oral History Project.
THE ORAL HISTORY PROJECT, FRIENDS OF THE GREENWICH LIBRARY
SEMMES, A.; GREENWICH TIME; Hearst Newspapers