A Guide to the Papers of Peter Hillsman Taylor, 1948-1977 Taylor, Peter Hillsman, Papers 10265,-b

A Guide to the Papers of Peter Hillsman Taylor, 1948-1977

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number 10265,-b


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
Papers of Peter Hillsman Taylor 1948-1977
Physical Characteristics
This collection consists of ca. 900 items.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Peter Hillsman Taylor, Accession #10265, -b, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to the Library by Peter Hillsman Taylor of Charlottesville, Virginia, on December 19, 1977, and October 21, 1980.

Biographical/Historical Information

Peter Hillsman Taylor (1917-1994) was born in Trenton, Tennessee, on January 8, 1917. He attended Vanderbilt University (1936-1937), Southwestern at Memphis (1937-1938) and received an A.B. degree from Kenyon College in 1940. Taylor served in the United States Army from 1941 until 1945 and reached the rank of sergeant. He married Eleanor Lilly Ross on June 4, 1943 and they had two children: Katherine Baird Taylor and Peter Ross Taylor.

Taylor was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1946-1967); in 1967, he moved to the University of Virginia, where he remained for the rest of his life. Taylor was a visiting lecturer and teach of creative writing at Indiana University (1949), University of Chicago (1951), Kenyon College (1952-1957), Oxford University (1955), Ohio State University (1957-1963), Harvard University (1964 and 1972-1973), and University of Georgia (1985).

In 1956, Taylor was offered a position in The New Yorker's editorial offices which he declined in order to continue teaching. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in fiction in 1950; a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant in literature, 1952; a Fulbright fellowship to France, 1955; first prize, O. Henry Memorial Awards, 1959, for short story "Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time"; the Ohioana Book Award, 1960, for Happy Families Are All Alike; Ford Foundation fellowship, to England, 1961; Rockefeller Foundation grant, 1964; second prize, Partisan Review-Dial for short story "The Scoutmaster"; National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters gold medal for literature, 1979; Ritz Paris Hemingway Award and PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, both 1986, and Pulitzer Prize for fiction, 1987, all for A Summons to Memphis. He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Taylor's publications include the novels A Woman of Means (1950), A Summons to Memphis (1986) and In the Tennessee Country (1994). His collections of short stories include A Long Fourth and Other Stories (1948), The Widows of Thornton (1954), Happy Families Are All Alike (1959), Miss Leonora When Last Seen and Fifteen Other Stories (1963), The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor (1969), In the Miro District and Other Stories (1977), The Old Forest and Other Stories (1985), and The Oracle at Stoneleigh Court (1993). He was a contributor of stories to numerous anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, (1945-1946, 1950, 1959-1961, 1965); Prize Stories of 1950: The O. Henry Awards (1950); The Literature of the South (1952); Stories from the Southern Review (1953); Prize Stories 1959: The O. Henry Awards (1959); Prize Stories 1961: The O. Henry Awards (1961); Prize Stories 1965: The O. Henry Awards (1965); and The Sense of Fiction (1966).

Peter Hillsman Taylor died of pneumonia, November 2, 1994, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of ca. 900 items (9 Hollinger boxes, ca. 3 linear shelf feet), 1948-1977, papers of author Peter Hillsman Taylor. Included in the collection are manuscripts and typescripts of Taylor's books (collections of short stories and plays), short stories, plays, and poetry; galley and page proofs; notbooks containing manuscripts for plays and poetry; correspondence; magazine articles about Taylor and others; and photographs. Many of the manuscripts are for short stories which were first published in The New Yorker. The typed manuscript for Randall Jarrell's "A Sad Heart in the Supermarket" and proofs of his children's story "The Animal Family" are also present.

Taylor's correspondence is primarily of a personal nature but does contain some professional correspondence with Katherine S. White and Robert Angell of The New Yorker; Robert Giroux of Harcourt, Brace, Inc.; and David McDowell of Random House, Inc. and McDowell, Obolensky. Other correspondents include Allen Tate, John Casey, Allen Williamson, John Malcolm Brinnan, Paul Engle, and Ralph Ellison (form letter only). Electrostatic copies of Burt Britton's collection of artists' self portraits, inlucding Eudora Welty, Lillian Hellman, Saul Bellow, and Tennessee Williams, are located at the end of the correspondence.

Also present are magazine articles on Katherine Anne Porter and Peter Taylor from Potomac, the weekly magazine of the Washington Post, and copies of the Kenyon College literary magazine, Hika, from 1939 to 1940, when Taylor was on the staff. An autographed snapshot of Katherine Anne Porter completes the colletion.


The collection is divided into five series: I. Manuscripts, II. Corrrespondence, III. Printed Material, IV. Photographs, and V. Miscellaneous Material. The manuscripts are sub-divided into short stories, plays, poetry, notebooks, and miscellaneous. Within each of these divisions, items are arranged alphabetically by title. Manuscripts for books that are collections of short stories or plays are placed at the ends of their respective sections. The correspondence section is divided into personal correspondence, business correspondence, and correspondence and papers from a year spent in Europe. Taylor's correspondence with The New Yorker, as well as his correspondence with publishing houses, has been separated from his miscellaneous business letters. Printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous material are filed at the end of the collection. All of the material within these latter sections is arranged chronologically.

Contents List

Series I: Manuscripts
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Series II: Correspondence
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Series III: Printed Material
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Series IV: Photographs
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Series V: Miscellaneous
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