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Albert Hyma (1893-1978) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Albert Hyma (1893-1978)

Historical Note:

Albert Hyma was born in Groningen, the Netherlands on March 18, 1893. With his parents, Hyma immigrated to the United States in 1910. They found temporary housing in Grand Rapids, Michigan where they stayed with relatives. The Hyma family purchased farmlands in Grant, Michigan where they finally settled down.

Hyma wanted to continue with formal education, so he attended Calvin College from 1913-1914 and went on to complete his undergraduate work at University of Michigan.  He also earned his M.A. in German from the same university. Hyma began his teaching career in the German department of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. In 1922, Hyma earned his Ph.D. in history from once again the University of Michigan. Hyma accepted a history staff position at the University Of North Dakota and soon became an assistant professor.

In 1924, Hyma returned to the University of Michigan, not as a student, but as a professor of history. He stayed at the University of Michigan for the remainder of his career, with some interruption of being a guest professor at several other universities. In 1927, Hyma married Vera Alberta Nodine. Together they had three children and shared the mutual interest of historical studies. Hyma retired from the University of Michigan in 1962.

Hyma also had opportunities to travel back to Europe for academic purposes. Funded by the Algemeen Nederlansch Verbond, a Dutch patriotic society, Hyma traveled across Europe from 1919-1921. During his travels, he was able to track down many valuable long-lost historical docents. In 1928, he once again found an opportunity to return to Europe, this time as a Guggenheim Fellow. Because of his scholarly endeavors for Dutch history, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands knighted him in 1936. Throughout Hymas’ life, he received many other honors and awards such as fellowship in the Royal Historical Society, winner of the Henry Russell award from University of Michigan, and fellowship in the Society of Dutch Literature. Dr. Hyma was also a prolific writer, author of The Christian Renaissance: A History of the “Devotio Moderna (1924), Renaissance to Reformation (1951, 1955) and co-authored the history textbook The Growth of European Civilization (1936) among his other numerous published books, articles, and book reviews. Hyma passed away from heart failure during a hip operation on September 22, 1978.

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