Peter N. Heydon is a retired English professor at the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Rita M. Heydon, founded The Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon. The foundation is based at 332 East Washington Street, in an 1858 Methodist Episcopal Parsonage that the Heydons renovated. It received an award from the Historical Society of Michigan in 1981.

He also is an avid vintage collector of automobiles, as well as a collector of artifacts of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His interest in the Brownings is described in a Princeton University Library report:

Heydon first became enchanted with the poetry of Robert Browning as a Princeton undergraduate, while studying under English Professor Edward Dudley Hume Johnson. Heydon’s enthusiasm for the Victorians took him to The University of Michigan, earning both a MA (1963) and PhD (1970), studying with, among others, Professor Robert Super, Princeton Class of 1935. Heydon taught English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Michigan between 1963 and 1986 on the faculties of both the English Department and Humanities Department. He is the founding President of The Browning Institute, Inc., based in New York and Florence, which acquired the Browning’s’ Casa Guidi apartment in 1971; and for fifteen years as the Institute’s President oversaw the fifteen-room restoration of the apartment as a Museum and study center. It is presently owned and operated, like the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, by Eton College and the British National Trust. Heydon has authored a number of pieces on Robert Browning and his circle for Browning Institute Studies; and he was co-editor with Philip Kelly of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Letters to Mrs. David Ogilvy, 1849–1861: With Recollections by Mrs. Ogilvy (New York: Quadrangle Press, 1973). He continues to reside in Ann Arbor with his wife of forty-five years, horsewoman and humaniac Rita Montgomery Heydon.

The Heydons own several properties in Ann Arbor, including land where the sculpture known informally as "Heyoon" sits. It was designed by  Joseph Kinnebrew, an artist and friend of Peter Heydon. 

Rita Heydon died on Jan. 8, 2015.

In the news

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce that Peter N. Heydon, Princeton Class of 1962, has made several important gifts, which are now on view in Firestone Library’s Eighteenth-Century Window. The first is the slant-topped mahogany writing desk of British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61), on which she is known to have written her epic poem Aurora Leigh.

Peter Heydon of Ann Arbor, Mich., comes to Auburn every year with my favorite classic car of all time, his unique 1927 Duesenberg Model X Boat Roadster. It has won top prizes at major car shows all over Europe, but Heydon told the TV crew he is most proud of winning Best of Show at Auburn in 2000.

If you listen to National Public Radio, you’ll often hear that a program is sponsored by The Mosaic Foundation of Heydon and his wife, Rita. Peter Heydon is retired from a career as a professor at the University of Michigan. During his TV interview, he explained how the writings of Robert Browning inspired him to preserve historic cars.

After the interview, the TV crew asked Heydon for his email address.

“I don’t own a computer,” he responded.

The only way to find out about Heyoon was for someone to take you there. It was like there was this secret club of kids who knew about it. Alex got initiated when he was fifteen. To find Heyoon, you’d drive out into the middle of nowhere, deep in the country, and park alongside a dirt road. A fence ran along the property line, with signs explicitly telling passers by to keep out.

After getting the letter back, Alex realized that he and his friends had always misread the inscription on the structure; it actually says THE HEYDON PAVILION. The pavilion was designed by Joseph Kinnebrew, an artist and friend of Peter Heydon.

Peter Heydon of Palm Beach and Ann Arbor has been collecting cars since the early 1970s – not just any cars, mind you, but special, singular cars. "I have a real passion for certain marques, Bentley being one of them. What I'm interested in, by and large, is uniqueness – either one-off cars, cars that may have a special pedigree, that may have a special manufacturing history, things of that sort."

Peter Heydon, a member of the class of 1962, returned to campus from Ann Arbor, Mich., with his 1953 Pontiac, which he planned to drive in the P-rade on Saturday.

"Peter's Aston Martin is probably the best in the world," said Larry Crane, editor of Automobile Aficionado Magazine.

If you're the type who gets impatient when your car is tied up in the repair shop for, say, 2 1/2 hours, imagine the emotions of Peter Heydon. When his car went into the Aston Martin restoration shops in Newport Pagnell, England, it didn't roll out again for 2 1/2 years.