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Finding Aid for the Peter H. Taylor Collection (MUM00442)

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The Peter H. Taylor Collection is open for research. The audiovisual portion of this collection is stored at an off-site facility. Researchers interested in using this part of the collection must contact Archives and Special Collections at least two business days in advance of their planned visit.

Finding Aid for the Peter H. Taylor Collection

Descriptive Summary

Title: Peter H. Taylor Collection
Dates: 1943-1995
Collector: McAlexander, Hubert Horton
Physical Extent: 24 boxes (12.0 linear feet)
Repository: University of Mississippi. Department of Archives and Special Collections. University, MS 38677, USA
Identification: MUM00442
Location: General Special Collections; Visual Collections
Language of Material: English
Abstract: The collection contains papers, photographs, and audio recordings related to the life and work of author Peter H. Taylor.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Received from Hubert H. McAlexander, 2005

Processing Information

Collection processed by Audrey M. Uffner, April 2009. Finding aid encoded by Kathryn Michaelis, January 2012.


No further additions are expected to this collection.

Subject Terms

Taylor, Peter, 1917-1994
Taylor, Eleanor Ross, 1920-2011
McAlexander, Hubert Horton
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography
Tennessee -- Fiction


research notes
clippings (information artifacts)

Biographical Note

Peter H. Taylor was born in Trenton, Tennessee, on January 8, 1917. He attended Southwestern University and Vanderbilt University. He entered Kenyon College in 1938 to study under John Crowe Ransom, graduating in 1940. After briefly enrolling in the Louisiana State University for graduate work under Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks, he entered the U.S. Army in 1941. He served stateside at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and overseas at Tidworth Camp in England before being discharged from the Army in 1945.

Taylor married poet Eleanor Ross in 1943. The couple’s first child Katherine Baird Taylor was born in 1948, and their son, Peter Ross Taylor, was born in 1955.

Beginning his teaching career at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1946, he served a year as assistant professor at Indiana University in 1948 before returning to Greensboro in 1949. In 1952, he taught at the University of Chicago in the spring and began an associate professorship at Kenyon College in the fall. In 1957 he also served as an associate professor at the Ohio State University, and in 1963, he rejoined the University of North Carolina. In 1964 and 1968, he served as a visiting professor at Harvard in the fall semesters. He became a Professor of English at the University of Virginia in 1967 and retired from the university in 1983.

His book publications include: A Long Fourth (1948); A Woman of Means (1950); The Widows of Thornton (1954); Happy Families Are All Alike (1959); Miss Leonora When Last Seen (1964); Randall Jarrell, 1914-1965 (co-editor 1967); A Stand in the Mountains (1968); Collected Stories (1969); Presences: Seven Dramatic Pieces (1973); In the Miro District (1977); The Old Forest (1985); and A Summons to Memphis (1986).

Taylor received the Pulitzer Prize for A Summons to Memphis (1987) as well as the O. Henry first prize (1959), Gold Medal for Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1978), a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1984), the PEN/Faulkner Award (1986) and the Ritz Hemingway Prize for fiction (1987). Over the course of his career he also received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1950-1) a Fulbright grant, Ford Foundation Fellowship at London’s Royal Court Theatre (1960-1), and a Rockefeller Foundation grant (1966).

Scope and Content Note

The Peter H. Taylor Collection is a gift from Hubert H. McAlexander, who authored a book on Taylor’s life. The collection closely mirrors the format of the book, but also includes material that McAlexander chose to cut from the final project. Materials found in the collection include personal correspondence between McAlexander and Eleanor Ross Taylor and personal friends of Taylor, research notes and photocopied materials from various holdings of Peter Taylor material, and newspaper clippings/reviews concerning Peter Taylor’s life and work. Also included are photographs and oral histories on cassette tapes.

User Information

Preferred Citation

Peter H. Taylor Collection, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi

Access Restrictions

The Peter H. Taylor Collection is open for research. The audiovisual portion of this collection is stored at an off-site facility. Researchers interested in using this part of the collection must contact Archives and Special Collections at least two business days in advance of their planned visit.

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Related Material

Resources at the University of Mississippi

McAlexander, Hubert H., Peter Taylor: A Writer’s Life, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001

Separated Material

The following items have been removed from the collection and cataloged:


Bishop, John Peale et al, eds. The Fugitives, The Agrarians and Other Twentieth Century Southern Writers. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1985.

Casey, John. Spartina. New York: Knopf, 1989.

Casey, John. Testimony and Demeanor. New York: Shoreline Books, 1979.

Griffith, Albert J. Peter Taylor. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

Netherton, John., ed. Tennessee: A Homecoming. Third National Corporation, 1985.

Robison, James Curry. Peter Taylor: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.

Taylor, Eleanor Ross. Days Going Days Coming Back. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1991.

Taylor, Eleanor Ross. New and Selected Poems. Stuart Wright, 1983.

Taylor, Eleanor Ross. Welcome Eumenides. New York: George Braziller, 1972.

Williamson, Alan. Eloquence and Mere Life: Essays on the Art of Poetry. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Wright, Stuart. Peter Taylor: A Descriptive Biography, 1934-1987. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988.


The Chattahoochee Review, Fall 1985 and Fall 2000

The Greensboro Review, Summer 1992, No. 52

Journal of the Short Story in English, No. 9, Autumn 1987

The Kenyon Review, New Series, Vol. XII, No. 3

Key West Review, Fall 1988

New Virginia Review, Vol. 9, Number 2

Shenandoah, Winter 1977 (2 copies)

The Southern Quarterly, Winter 2000

The Southwestern Journal, 1939


This collection is arranged roughly in the order in which it was received, which reflects the structure of Hubert H. McAlexander's Peter Taylor: A Writer's Life.

Cassette Tapes

Container List

Folder 1.1 Christopher Metress Bibliography
Folder 1.2 Taylor Chronology
Folder 1.3 Taylor Family – East
Folder 1.4 Carter, Taylor and Haynes
Folder 1.5 Senator Taylor
Folder 1.6 Watauga and the State of Franklin
Folder 1.7 Letters – the family dynamic
Folder 1.8 Taylor Family – West
Folder 1.9 Trenton
Folder 1.10 The Family
Folder 1.11 Louise Manly, "The Manly Family: An Account of the Descendants of Capt. Basil Manly"
Folder 1.12 Chapter One
Folder 1.13 Rogers Caldwell
Folder 1.14 Nashville
Folder 2.1 Chapter Two
Folder 2.2 St. Louis Debut and Veiled Prophet Ball
Folder 2.3 St. Louis
Folder 2.4 Susie Thompson
Folder 2.5 Eleanor Ross Taylor
Folder 2.6 Taylor Addresses
Folder 2.7 Conversations – Original
Folder 2.8 Interview after Conversation
Folder 2.9 Interview with Eleanor Taylor
Folder 2.10 Katie
Folder 2.11 Ross
Folder 2.12 Rosses
Folder 3.1 Hillsman Taylor
Folder 3.2 ERT – Career, Review
Folder 3.3 Memphis Group
Folder 3.4 Allen Tate
Folder 3.5 Tom White
Folder 3.6 Central High School
Folder 3.7 Chapter Three
Folder 3.8 River
Folder 3.9 Memphis
Folder 3.10 Europe
Folder 4.1 Southwestern
Folder 4.2 Virginia Jett
Folder 4.3 Chapter Four
Folder 4.4 The Entity
Folder 4.5 Vanderbilt
Folder 4.6 1938
Folder 4.7 Taylors HIKA contributions (1)
Folder 4.8 Taylors HIKA contributions (2)
Folder 4.9 Randall Jarrell
Folder 4.10 Robert Lowell, 1977
Folder 5.1 Robert Lowell
Folder 5.2 Jack Thompson and Robie
Folder 5.3 Jean Stafford
Folder 5.4 Chapter Six
Folder 5.5 HIKA and Kenyon Transcript
Folder 5.6 Kenyon Group
Folder 5.7 1939
Folder 5.8 LSU
Folder 5.9 1940
Folder 5.10 1941
Folder 6.1 1942
Folder 6.2 Army
Folder 6.3 The Young Eleanor
Folder 6.4 Meeting ERT and the Marriage
Folder 6.5 The Marriage
Folder 6.6 1943
Folder 6.7 1943 (2)
Folder 6.8 Parker clippings
Folder 6.9 Loose material - Interview, 1985-1994
Folder 7.1 Barbara Thompson (Davis), Paris Review
Folder 7.2 Interview with Peter Taylor, Gainesville, Fla., 15 February 1985
Folder 7.3 Introduction to "A Conversation with Peter Taylor" by J. William Broadway
Folder 7.4 1950-1957
Folder 7.5 1939-1947
Folder 7.6 1948-1949
Folder 8.1 Chapter Seven
Folder 8.2 1944 (1)
Folder 8.3 1944 (2)
Folder 8.4 1945
Folder 8.5 1945 Rejects
Folder 8.6 1947 (1)
Folder 8.7 1947 (2)
Folder 8.8 1946
Folder 8.9 New York
Folder 9.1 1948
Folder 9.2 Greensboro
Folder 9.3 Indiana University, 1943-1949
Folder 9.4 Chapter Eight
Folder 9.5 Hillsboro
Folder 9.6 Hillsboro floor plans
Folder 9.7 Chapter Nine
Folder 9.8 Chapter Nine Rejects
Folder 9.9 A Woman of Means
Folder 9.10 Guggenheim
Folder 10.1 A Long Fourth, 1948
Folder 10.2 A Woman of Means, 1950
Folder 10.3 Rejects, 1950-1952
Folder 10.4 Peter Taylor – brief treatment
Folder 10.5 Folder – Margaret Mitchell House
Folder 10.6 Growing Population
Folder 10.7 Taylor Bibliography
Folder 10.8 Add to Chapter Nine
Folder 11.1 Kenyon
Folder 11.2 John Crowe Ransom
Folder 11.3 Chapter Ten (2)
Folder 11.4 Chapter Ten
Folder 11.5 Chapter Ten Rejects (1)
Folder 11.6 Chapter Ten Rejects (2)
Folder 11.7 Kenyon, 1952-1953
Folder 11.8 The Widows of Thornton
Folder 11.9 Fulbright, 1954-1955
Folder 11.10 Chapter Eleven
Folder 11.11 Chapter Eleven (2)
Folder 12.1 Eleven Rejects
Folder 12.2 "1939" story
Folder 12.3 Widows of Thornton and Harcourt, Brace
Folder 12.4 Changing publishers, Random House, 1956
Folder 12.5 Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1949-1963
Folder 12.6 TN Day
Folder 12.7 Drama at Kenyon
Folder 12.8 Job offers, 1953
Folder 12.9 Happy Families
Folder 12.10 Ford Foundation, 1958-1959
Folder 12.11 Chapter Twelve
Folder 12.12 Chapter Twelve (2)
Folder 12.13 Twelve Rejects
Folder 12.14 London
Folder 12.15 Columbus, Ohio
Folder 12.16 Chapter Thirteen
Folder 13.1 Chapter Thirteen Rejects
Folder 13.2 Harvard, 1964
Folder 13.3 Chapter Thirteen (2)
Folder 13.4 Miss Leonora Review, 1964
Folder 13.5 Academic Positions, 1960-1976
Folder 13.6 Fitzgeralds
Folder 13.7 Works of Thomas W. Molyneux
Folder 13.8 Fizhugh
Folder 13.9 Greensboro, colleagues and students
Folder 13.10 Chapter Fourteen
Folder 13.11 Chapter Fourteen (2)
Folder 13.12 Fourteen Rejects
Folder 13.13 Albemarle Monthly, February/March 1979
Folder 14.1 Charlottesville Life
Folder 14.2 Collected Stories review, 1969
Folder 14.3 Charlottesville Houses
Folder 14.4 Chapter Fifteen (1)
Folder 14.5 Chapter Fifteen (2)
Folder 14.6 Fifteen Rejects
Folder 14.7 The Players
Folder 14.8 Presences review, 1973
Folder 14.9 On the Theatre
Folder 14.10 Richard Howard
Folder 15.1 Harvard, 1973
Folder 15.2 Harvard Decision
Folder 15.3 Harvard, January-June 1975
Folder 15.4 Ploughshares
Folder 15.5 McDowell, Obolensky – Farrar, Strauss, 1965-1972
Folder 15.6 Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, [?]-1976
Folder 15.7 Publishing Change, 1976
Folder 15.8 1976
Folder 15.9 In the Miro District Review, 1977
Folder 15.10 Welty – Porter
Folder 15.11 Key West
Folder 15.12 Chapter Sixteen
Folder 15.13 Chapter Sixteen (2)
Folder 15.14 Students, 1975-1983
Folder 16.1 Chapter Sixteen Rejects
Folder 16.2 Athens, 1985
Folder 16.3 The Old Forest review, 1985
Folder 16.4 The Old Forest movie
Folder 16.5 Chapter Seventeen
Folder 16.6 Farrar, Strauss, 1985
Folder 16.7 A Summons to Memphis reviews, 1986-1987
Folder 16.8 A Stand in the Mountains
Folder 16.9 A Summons to Memphis - Updike
Folder 16.10 Receptions of Summons
Folder 17.1 American Book Award
Folder 17.2 Summons – origins, thoughts
Folder 17.3 Pulitzer and Ritz-Hemingway
Folder 17.4 Chapter Seventeen (2)
Folder 17.5 Seventeen Rejects
Folder 17.6 Chapter Eighteen
Folder 17.7 Eighteen Rejects
Folder 17.8 Chapter Eighteen (2)
Folder 17.9 Witch of Owl Mountain
Folder 18.1 The Oracle, 1992
Folder 18.2 Chapter Eighteen (3)
Folder 18.3 Chapter Eighteen (4)
Folder 18.4 Eighteen Rejects (2)
Folder 18.5 In the Tennessee Country
Folder 18.6 Obituaries
Folder 18.7 In the Tennessee Country
Folder 18.8 Taylor Awards
Folder 18.9 The Institute
Folder 18.10 Stuart Wright
Folder 18.11 Sewanee
Folder 18.12 Contracts – SW
Folder 19.1 John Casey
Folder 19.2 Reynolds Freeman
Folder 19.3 Thackera
Folder 19.4 Marls Trainer – Brian Griffin
Folder 19.5 Knopf, 1980-1994
Folder 19.6 Later Charlottesville
Folder 19.7 Alison Lurie – James Merrill
Folder 19.8 Key West
Folder 19.9 Gainesville
Folder 19.10 Goodwin – Wilson
Folder 19.11 Alan Williamson – Theroux
Folder 19.12 James Alan McPhereson – Ann Beattie
Folder 19.13 Russell and Vokening, Inc., 1976-1994
Folder 20.1 Taylor Manuscripts
Folder 20.2 University of Memphis
Folder 20.3 Colorado Jean Stafford Papers
Folder 20.4 Texas
Folder 20.5 New York – Peter
Folder 20.6 Virginia – Taylor Papers
Folder 20.7 Yale
Folder 20.8 Jarrell Papers – New York Public
Folder 20.9 Princeton
Folder 20.10 Lowell Papers – Harvard
Folder 20.11 Taylor Papers - Vanderbilt
Folder 20.12 Pictures - Peter Taylor Rejects
Folder 20.13 Illustrations – Peter Taylor biography
Folder 20.14 Photographs – Peter Taylor biography
Folder 20.15 Illustrations – Peter Taylor biography
Folder 20.16 Cynthia Brumbach
Folder 20.17 Illustrations of Charlottesville CD
Folder 20.18 Illustrations - permissions
Folder 21.1 Taylor criticism since Critical Essays
Folder 21.2 Critical Essays – Rejects
Folder 21.3 Critical Essays, 1948-1959
Folder 21.4 Critical Essays, 1960-1969
Folder 21.5 Taylor Critical Essays, 1970-1976
Folder 21.6 Taylor Critical Essays, 1977-1978
Folder 21.7 Critical Essays, 1979-1985
Folder 22.1 Taylor Critical Essays, 1986-1990
Folder 22.2 Reviews of Peter Taylor
Folder 22.3 Peter Taylor reviews (2)
Folder 22.4 Peter Taylor reviews (journals)
Folder 22.5 Local Articles Peter Taylor
Folder 22.6 Copies of Robert Penn Warren Letters at Yale
Folder 22.7 Copies of Taylor articles in Shenandoah
Folder 22.8 A Composite Conversation with Peter Taylor
Folder 22.9 List/CDs of illustrations for Peter Taylor biography
Folder 22.10 Card removed from Peter Taylor by Albert J. Griffith, note and signed by Albert J. Griffith
CPB51.F1 Unmarked photos of homes (Trenton, TN) from Folder 1.9 (manuscript)
Scope: 20 items
CPB51.F2 Two photos and two negatives, unmarked, from Folder 4.4 (manuscript)
Scope: 4 items
CPB51.F3 Photograph of Peter H. Taylor WWII from Folder 8.1 (manuscript)
CPB51.F4 Unmarked photos of homes (Hillsborough, NC) from Folder 9.5 (manuscript)
Scope: 12 items
CPB51.F5 Photos from movie The Old Forest from Folder 16.4 (manuscript)
Scope: 3 items
CPB51.F6 Baltimore photos – Yoshiko Kayano from Folder 18.2 (manuscript)
Scope: 4 items
CPB51.F7 Peter Taylor Photos from Folder 20.12 (manuscript)
Scope: 2 items
CPB51.F8 Two negatives, one photo, one contact sheet from Peter Taylor biography from Folder 20.12 (manuscript)
Scope: 4 items
CPB51.F9 One negative and one contact sheet from Folder 20.18
Scope: 2 items
CPB51.F10 Photos from Peter Taylor biography from Folder 22.9
Scope: 8 items
Cassette Tapes
Charles Dean talk on Yellow Fever, 1970
Marshall County History Society, recorded by Elizabeth G. McAlexander
Peter Taylor at the Cosmos Club, 9 April 1981
Peter Taylor – NYC (a.m.), 21 May 1981
Peter Taylor at the Russian Tea Room
Gossip mostly about Tate and KAD (separated) no transcript, 21 May 1981
Peter Taylor after [illegible] at the Osborne, 21 May 1981
Peter Taylor at [illegible], 21 May 1981
Peter Taylor Charlottesville Tape 1, 10 December 1981
Peter Taylor Charlottesville Tape 2, 10 December 1981
Peter Taylor Charlottesville Tape 3, 10 December 1981
Interview with Peter Taylor (by Bob Edwards) for National Public Radio, 6 March 1985
Peter Taylor [illegible] Memphis – N.Y.C., 25 March 1982
Peter Taylor [illegible] Apt – 72nd W, 25 March 1982
A Day with Peter Taylor, 20 June 1987
Scope: Bill Broadway’s recollections of conversations and moments with Peter Taylor. Dictated in car on the way home to Arlington from Charlottesville. Topics include new novel, depression, Dickey, Warren, American Book Awards, Taylors’ houses and many other subjects. Tape copied October 26, 1994.
Jack Thompson, November 1994
Peter Taylor – "All Things Considered," 10 March 1995
"All Things Considered: All Things Considered Comes to Nashville," 1995
Alan Williamson, 10 May 1995
Tommy Mitchell, 18 July 1995
Joan Williams, 19 July 1995
The Fultons, October 1995
McAlexander – English – USA
The Fulton, October 1995
Wyatt [Prenty]
Watson Robert
Thackera 1st Day A Rick Howard/Thackera B Thackera
Thackera Second Day
Thackera Second Day Final Tape
Sally Fitzgerald
McAlexander, Peter Taylor essay for The Kenyon Review (floppy disc)