Peter Taylor Papers
The papers of Peter Hillsman Taylor (1917-1994), collected by bibliographer Stuart Wright and purchased by Vanderbilt University in 1988, are an important collection of
the Jean and Alexander Heard Library's Special Collections. A native of Tennessee and a former Vanderbilt student, Taylor is acknowledged as a master of the short story
form and has won several major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 1986 novel A Summons To Memphis. Taylor was also a student of John
Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren, members of the Fugitive and Agrarian literary movements, as well as the lifelong friend of two other writers influenced by
the Fugitives, Robert Lowell and Randall Jarrell.
Of the eighteen boxes of this collection, six contain correspondence and another 5.5 are filled with manuscripts of Taylor's writings. The other 3.5 boxes contain
items of a biographical or personal nature, concern his career as author and educator, or involve his associates and their writings. There is one oversize box in the
collection that contains galleys of Taylor's manuscripts and a poster from the film adaptation of "The Old Forest." The collection has thus been arranged in the following
series: Correspondence (Series I), Writings (Series II), Literary
Career (Series III), Academic Career (Series IV), Biographical/Personal Papers (Series V),
Associates (Series VI), and Writings By Others (Series VII).
Obviously, this collection will be of primary interest to those interested in Peter Taylor's life and writings, but it will also be of importance to those researching
such varied literary figures as Robert Fitzgerald, Carolina Gordon, Elizabeth Hardwick, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, John Crowe Ransom, Eleanor Ross, Jean Stafford,
Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren. Students of American Literature, Southern Literature and the Fugitive and Agrarian Groups will also benefit from these papers.
Collector Stuart Wright's notes indicate, "Manuscript material is arranged and grouped as it was recovered from stacks of material. Folders contain material, therefore,
that was (after a fashion) together when I purchased these items." While the writings in this collection are now arranged by genres, the order of the material within the
files has not been disturbed and thus is in Taylor's original order.
For details about Taylor's life and works, the following are recommended:
Griffith, Albert Joseph. Peter Taylor. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.
McAlexander, Hubert H. ed. Conversations With Peter Taylor. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1987.
McAlexander, Hubert H. Peter Taylor: A Writer's Life. Louisiana State University Press, 2001.
Wright, Stuart. Peter Taylor: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1934-87. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1988.
Overview | Biographical/Historical Note | Complete Finding Aid (pdf)
Series I Listing | Series II Listing |
Series III Listing | Series IV Listing
Series V Listing | Series VI Listing | Series VII and Oversize Box Listing
Special Collections | Heard
Library | Vanderbilt University
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Last modified: April 10, 2008
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