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Greg Hyman papers

 Collection — Box: 1-3
Identifier: 2013.hyman
The Greg Hyman papers contain materials from 1957 through 2010, with the bulk of the material dated between 1976 and 2010. This collection comprises toy prototype demonstrations, toy design notes, early product descriptions and schematics, catalog pages and sell sheets, photographs, and more. Additional scope and content information is listed for each series under the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

The Greg Hyman papers are arranged into four series, three of which are further divided into subseries. The physical collection is housed in 3 archival document boxes.


  • 1957 - 2010
  • Majority of material found within 1976 - 2010


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


0.75 Linear Feet (3 boxes)


The Greg Hyman papers are a compilation of correspondence, publicity materials, legal papers, paper prototypes, and product descriptions created by Greg Hyman throughout his career in the toy and game industry. This collection also includes audio/visual prototype demonstrations. The bulk of the materials are dated from 1976 through 2010.

Biographical Note

Greg Hyman is an American toy designer. Hyman demonstrated his interest and talent for inventing at a young age. As a fourth grader in the 1950s, he offered his classmates lessons in invention. At 11 years old, Hyman sold “Rocket Ship” rides in a converted washing machine with a baby carriage cockpit. At age 16, Hyman cofounded a business installing home burglar alarms.

Fresh out of college, Hyman built customized electronic devices for advertising and public relations firms and for television game-show presentations. By 1974 Hyman had partnered with Larry Greenberg, a man he had met in television work. They started their own firm, Hyman/Greenberg Associates, and developed toy ideas to pitch to manufacturers. Because no manufacturers licensed any of their electronic toys for several years, the two inventors needed to keep “real jobs,” as Hyman described them.

In 1977, Creative Playthings manufactured the pair’s first toy, Little Maestro Piano Organ, and Milton Bradley signed Hyman and Greenberg to contracts that paid advances against future toy ideas. Playskool introduced their first big success, Alphie the Robot, whose lights, sounds, music, action, and games helped youngsters learn letters, numbers, songs, and more.

Hyman and Greenberg licensed 40 toys together before Greenberg passed away in 1992. Their inventions include Major Morgan the Electronic Organ, an electronic musical phone, a Win, Lose, or Draw game, and the Big Blaster Electronic Bike Horn. In the 1990s and after, Hyman continued inventing toys on his own or with other inventors. In 1993 Playskool released Hyman’s Talking Barney, the popular dinosaur from the PBS series. Around the same time, Hyman began collaborating with Ron Dubren, another toy inventor, on an electronic toy that laughed and squirmed when its tummy was tickled. Tyco saw Elmo, the fluffy, red, three-year-old, as a perfect match for the Tickles toy. Tickle Me Elmo became the must-have toy of the 1996 holiday season, and numerous variations of the toy have been in production ever since. Tickle Me Elmo leads the list of Greg Hyman’s best-known toys, but the plush toy coexists in his portfolio with more than 120 other licensed toys.

System of Arrangement

Series I: Greg Hyman inventions, 1957-2010

Subseries A: Greg Hyman inventions documentation, 1957-2010
Subseries B: Greg Hyman Associates prototype demonstrations and Learn to Invent—audio-visual DVD, 1976-2010
Subseries C: Greg Hyman Notebooks, 1977-1995

Series II: Greg Hyman Associates early product descriptions and schematics, 1976-1997

Series III: Catalog pages and sell sheets, 1983-2010

Series IV: Miscellaneous publicity, 1987-2007

Custodial History

The Greg Hyman papers were donated to The Strong in December 2010 as a gift from Greg Hyman, accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 110.14357. The same accession lot also included toy and game prototypes. Another set of papers were donated to The Strong in July 2013 as a gift from Greg Hyman, accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 113.3500.



Finding Aid to the Greg Hyman Papers
Michelle L. Parnett
22 October 2013
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)