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Peter Hillsman Taylor Papers

Identifier: MSS 0021

Scope and Contents

The Peter Hillsman Taylor Papers date from 1955 to 1966 and contain handwritten and typed manuscripts of Taylor's works. A few of the manuscripts are only fragments; several others are represented in more than one draft. A small number of letters from publishers are housed with the manuscripts to which they refer.


  • 1955 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Peter Taylor was born 8 January 1917 in Trenton, Tennessee. He enrolled at Vanderbilt University in 1936 and studied literature and creative writing with poets John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate, then transferred to Southwestern College in Memphis before completing his undergraduate work at Kenyon College in Ohio. It was at Kenyon that Taylor began lifelong friendships with fellow students Robert Lowell and Randall Jarrell.

In 1940 Taylor entered Louisiana State University as a graduate student. There, he studied with both Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren; however, he only completed two semesters. Warren would later call Taylor one of the twentieth century's "real, and probably enduring, masters of the short story."

Taylor served with the United States Army in England during World War II. After the war, he joined the faculty of Woman's College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). Taylor taught at Woman's College intermittently from 1946 to 1952 and from 1963 to 1967. He also taught at numerous other institutions, including Indiana State (1948-49), the University of Chicago (1952), Kenyon College (1952-57), Ohio State (1957-63), Harvard University (1964) and the University of Virginia (1967-1994), where he headed the creative writing program.

Taylor published short stories in numerous periodicals, including Harper's Bazaar and McCall's, but was best known for his contributions to The New Yorker. He authored seven collections of short stories, the novella A Woman of Means, and many experimental one act plays. His work won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for his novel A Summons to Memphis.

In 1943 Taylor married Eleanor Ross, a poet and 1940 graduate of the Woman's College. They had two children. Taylor died 2 November, 1994 at the age of 77 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


0.80 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Peter Hillsman Taylor (1917-1994) was a professor of creative writing and an acclaimed author, best known for his short stories published in the New Yorker and for the 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Summons to Memphis.

Arrangement Note

The folders in each box are arranged alphabetically by title. When a folder contains more than one title, the arrangement is based on the first title in the folder. The box divisions are Taylor's.

Method of Acquisition

Gift of the author in 1966.

Related Materials

The University Archives and Manuscripts at UNCG house the following works by Taylor: A Long Fourth, and Other Stories, 1948; A Woman of Means, 1950; The Widows of Thornton, 1954; Tennessee Day in St. Louis, a Comedy, 1957; Happy Families are All Alike; a Collection of Stories, 1959; Miss Leonora When Last Seen, and Fifteen Other Stories, 1963; The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor, 1968; Presences; Seven Dramatic Pieces, 1973; In the Miro District and Other Stories, 1977; A Summons to Memphis, 1986; and In the Tennessee Country, 1994.

The University Archives and Manuscripts at UNCG also house the Eleanor Ross Taylor Papers.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Jacobson, June 1997 Encoded by Michelle Belden, July 2007

Peter Hillsman Taylor Papers
Linda Jacobson; Michelle Belden
Processed by Linday Jacobson, June 1997, encoded by Michelle Belden, July 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US