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Taylor Family Collection

A description of their collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Taylor family.
Title: Taylor Family Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1845-1980
Quantity: 4 linear ft.
Abstract: Central New York family. Collection contains correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, genealogical records, legal documents, printed material and other items.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Subject Headings


Deane family.
Rodgers family.
Taylor family.




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

Genres and Forms

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

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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.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 12 Apr 2010
Revision history: 17 Aug 2010 - processed and added inventory (CBE)

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Box 1 Deane, Florence J. 1883-1888
Box 1 Deane, Robert circa 1860-1866 - includes a letter of recommendation for Robert Deane and letters to his wife, Jane S. Willis Deane
Box 1 Deane, William 1873
Box 1 Deane, William H. ("Will") 1883-1929
Box 1 Feige, Edna Taylor 1912-1944
Box 1 Finne, Elsie Deane Taylor ("Deane") 1901-1977
Box 1 Major, George M. 1883-1884
Box 1 Penshaw, Mary Florence Taylor ("Florence") 1907
Box 1 Rodgers, Blanche Taylor 1923-1940
Box 1 Rodgers, Eric M. 1927-1975 (2 folders)
Box 1 Rodgers, Jane and Robert circa 1900-1930
Box 1 Rodgers, Robert D. (“Robin”) 1925-1945
Box 2 Rodgers, Robert M. 1928
Box 2 Schroeder, Peter B. Sep 1943-Apr 1945
Box 2 Schroeder, Violet Taylor (“Budge”) 1920-1952
Box 2 Taylor, Albert B. 1883-1929 (2 folders)
Box 2 Taylor, Donald 1938-1947
Box 2 Taylor, Elizabeth (“Bess”) 1914-1974
Box 2 Taylor, J. Spencer 1886-1922
Box 2 Taylor, Jeremiah B. 1886-1892
Box 2 Taylor, Joseph H. 1910-1974
Box 2 Taylor, Marian L. Brace 1922-1923
Taylor, Mary S. Deane
Box 3 1882-1883 (9 folders)
Box 4 1884-1918 (6 folders)
Box 4 Taylor, William C. 1882-1886
Box 4 Vason, Sue Reid Mar-Oct 1945
Box 4 Willis, Mary Cushier 1845
Box 4 Dated 1882-1980
Box 4 Empty envelopes
Box 4 Greeting cards
Box 4 Undated
Genealogical material
Box 5 Family trees
3 copies of the Pedigree of Deane tracing the lineage through Robert Deane’s brothers back to their 17th century ancestor, Sir Anthony Deane; outline of lineage from the D.A.R. records, tracing Elizabeth “Bess” C. Taylor back to her great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah Brower Taylor, who served in the American Revolution; family tree drawn of the Robert Deane family.
Box 5 Miscellaneous 1915-1990
Photocopy of letter by J. Spencer Taylor 1915 with information about Alpheus Sherman; notes about Alpheus Sherman; page of notes about family members; photocopy of books pages documenting the final resting places of Blanche Taylor’s in-laws, Jane and Robert Rodgers of Chicago, Illinois; a letter from Elsie Deane Taylor to Mrs. Gott from 1990 outlining some family history; a letter written to Mary S. Deane Taylor by her mother, Jane S. Willis Taylor; a narrative of the Deane family in India.
Legal Documents
Box 5 Blauvelt estate 1902-1904
Last Will and Testament; 1902 announcement that Albert B. Taylor was executor of the estate; 1903 letter from state comptroller to estate lawyer; 1904 summons for Albert B. Taylor to appear as the executor; 1904 correspondence with estate lawyer; 1904 notice of an estate appraisal; 1904 report of estate appraisal.
Box 5 Deane family 1858-1913
1858 certificate of marriage between Robert Deane and Sylvia Sophia Shields; 1860 marriage certificate between Robert Deane and Jane Sarah Willis; 1887 certificate of naturalization for Jane S. Deane; 1871 will of Jane S. Deane’s aunt, Jane Lee; 1911 will of Jane S. Deane; letter from Albert B. Taylor to his brother William H. Deane with another copy of Jane S. Deane’s will; 1913 notice that William H. and Albert B. Taylor are the executors of Jane S. Deane’s estate.
Box 5 Rodgers family 1911-1948
Passport for Robert Rodgers; 1911 certificate of naturalization for Robert Rodgers; 1929 deed and contract for Beverly Cemetery plots for Jane and Robert Rodgers; 1930 stock certificate in Hudson Seal Fur Company; 1931 stock certificate in Whitney Syndicate Inc.; 1948 stock certificates for Robert M. Rodgers in Resources Corporation International.
Box 5 Taylor family 1864-1928
1864 Commission of Jeremiah B. Taylor by the American Baptist Home Mission Society; contracts signed by Albert B. Taylor for the New York Railroad company in 1906, 1916 and 1928.
Box 5 Clippings 1877-1980 - unrelated newspaper clippings kept by family members, magazine clippings that discuss Albert B. Taylor’s retirement from the railroad industry
Box 5 Negatives circa 1880-1900 - two tintypes of railroad scenes
Box 5 Identified circa 1870-1970 (2 folders)
Box 5 Unidentified circa 1870-1970 (2 folders)
Box 5 Programs 1890-1947 - event programs for banquets, graduations, parties, and conventions (2 folders)
Box 6 Religious material 1785-1974 - a bible, printed psalms, hymns, quotes, cards, images, membership certificates to churches
Box 6 Tintypes circa 1860-1890 - three tintypes of children
Box 6 Miscellaneous (3 folders)
Woodblock, box with sachets and garter, gold watch, sorority pin and wedding ring in a blue velvet pouch, case with hand drawn illustration of a person's profile, and a kerchief; ticket stubs, cartoons, notes, blank postcards, stamps, printed oaths to the Knights of Columbus and Sinn Fein, poetry, and brochures.
Box 6 Album by Robert Deane circa 1860 - contains drawings, poetry and letters to Jane Sarah Willis
Oversize 1 John Cushier - loose-leaf album which tells the history of 18th century ancestor John Cushier and includes a portrait
See also Genealogical material.
Oversize 1 Snapshots: Blanche Taylor Rodgers 1906-1970 - photographs of children, relatives, friends, sorority sisters and fraternity brothers, and trips
See also Memorabilia: Photographs.
Oversize 1 Untitled photo album circa 1870-1950 - Rodgers family portraits, likely labeled by Robert M. Rodgers, including photographs from Glasgow, Scotland and Wayland Academy, Wisconsin.
See also Memorabilia: Photographs.

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