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Taylor Family Collection

A description of their collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 12 Apr 2010

Biographical History

The Taylor family represented in this collection is primarily the immediate family of Albert B. Taylor, Superintendent of Telegraph of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad between 1906 and 1928. His father, Jeremiah B. Taylor, was a Baptist minister who left New York City for Kansas in the 1860s. The whole family moved to Kansas, but Albert and his brother Joseph were taken back to New York in the 1870s and raised by an uncle, Isaac Remsen Blauvelt. Eventually the entire family returned to New York and lived in Brooklyn.

Albert B. Taylor married Mary S. Deane, the daughter of Robert and Jane Deane. Robert Deane was a distinguished engineer for the British Navy in India, where he worked building bridges in difficult locations using his exceptional skill with the diving bell. His first wife, Sylvia S. Shields, and their infant son were murdered in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by their native servants. Jane S. Willis had travelled to India in 1856 with her mother and fiancé, Robert Horn, to live with relatives. They, too, were caught up in the Indian Rebellion and lived with hundreds of other British subjects under siege in the Fort of Agra. Robert Horn and Jane's mother both died during the siege. Jane S. Willis met Robert Deane and they were married in 1860. They had four children (Mary, William, Florence, and Blanche) in India before moving to the United States in 1867.

Albert began studying to become a teacher but abandoned that field in favor of learning to be a stenographer. He became the secretary for the Manager of the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railroad. Albert and Mary Taylor had eight children: Albert W. ("Bert"), Joseph H. ("Joe"), Mary F. ("Maidie" or "Florence"), Elizabeth C. ("Bess"), Blanche S., Elsie D. ("Deane"), Edna B., and Violet J. ("Budge").

Bert died young in 1911. Joe became a civil engineer, worked for Lockheed and moved to California, raising his children Nancy and Don there. Florence married a man named Walter Penshaw. Bess became assistant to the head of the New York Railroad company. Blanche married a teacher named Robert Rodgers, born in Scotland and a veteran of World War I, and they had two sons, Robert (known as Robin or Robbie) and Eric. Robin died in 1945 in an airplane crash while training in Georgia for the US Army Air Corps during World War II. Eric eventually married a woman with two children named Laurie and Jimmy Mansfield. Deane married a man named Finn Finne, taught, and is responsible for most of the genealogical research of the family. Edna married a Dr. Richard Feige and lived in Maplewood, New Jersey. Budge married a man named Peter Schroeder and both became professors at the University of Connecticut. All of the Taylor daughters were college graduates. Blanche was the only daughter to have children and Joe's children are the only grandchildren of Albert B. Taylor's to have children of their own.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Taylor Family Collection consists of correspondence, genealogical material, legal documents, and memorabilia.

Correspondence is the bulk of the collection. The letters are separated by author. The most heavily represented writer of the collection is Mary Deane Taylor, Albert B. Taylor's wife, who often lived apart from her husband while he was working for the railroad in a secretarial capacity. Those letters are primarily between 1882 and 1889, though there are more letters written by Mary to her grown daughters spanning the decades before her death in 1919. Correspondence also includes a collection of early to mid- 20th century greeting cards collected primarily by Robert M. Rodgers and his wife, Blanche Taylor Rodgers.

Genealogical material includes genealogical records and family history. There are family tree diagrams as well as narratives about the 18th and 19th century ancestors.

Legal documents are divided into four family sections, representing the Blauvelt, Deane, Rodgers, and Taylor families. The folders include deeds, stock certificates, marriage certificates, wills, legal correspondence about wills, and contracts.

Memorabilia is comprised of clippings, programs from events, photographs, and objects collected by family members as keepsakes, such as a woodblock and a watch. There is also a folder of religious material, including a bible belonging to Albert B. Taylor and prayer books from the 1860s. About half of the photographs in the collection are unlabeled and have been separated from those in which the subject has been identified.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized alphabetically by subject and then chronologically when possible. Many items are not dated. Correspondence is alphabetical by the author's last name.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Two books have been removed and sent to Rare Books for cataloging. These are an 1866 book titled A New Service and Tune Book, for Sunday Schools by A. B. Goodrich and a book printed around 1784 titled Songs in the Night.

Subject Headings


Deane family.
Rodgers family.
Taylor family.




New York (State) -- History -- 1865-

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Genealogies (histories)
Legal documents.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Taylor Family Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Polly Darnell, 2007.

Table of Contents


Genealogical material

Legal Documents