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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Fatherson Taylor papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1915-2002
Creator: Taylor, Ruth Fatherson (1912-2005)
Extent: 3.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0489
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Reminiscences and essays by Taylor and the transcript of a 1915 memoir written by Editha Phillips Fatherson.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 838) were donated by Ruth Fatherson Taylor in 2002.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Fatherson Taylor papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Ruth Editha Fatherson was born November 26, 1912 in El Reno, Oklahoma where her father was a civil engineer for the Rock Island Railroad. She had one older sister, Rebecca Elizabeth and one older brother, Bob. The family moved from Oklahoma to Des Moines, Iowa and eventually to Clarion, a small town in northwestern Iowa. Fatherson graduated from Clarion High School in 1929. She attended Rockford College for one year before earning a B.A. from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1935. While attending the University of Iowa, Fatherson was a member of both Mortar Board and Delta Gamma Sorority. She did her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and at Teachers College, Columbia University. Fatherson taught English in Eldon, Iowa, Bridgehampton, New York (where she survived the hurricane of 1938) and Morristown, New Jersey.

Fatherson married Edward Stewart Taylor on June 15, 1940 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While Stewart Taylor finished his final year of residency, the couple lived in Brooklyn. The couple had three children: twins Edward Stewart Taylor, Jr. and Elizabeth Dewey Taylor born on November 29, 1941 and Catherine Wells Taylor born February 10, 1947. During World War II, Ruth Taylor and the twins lived in Claremont, California while Stewart Taylor served as a medical officer in the European Theater. Following the war, the family eventually settled in Denver, Colorado.

The Ruth Fatherson Taylor papers date from 1915 to 2002 and measure 3 linear inches. The bulk of the papers consist of essays and reminiscences Taylor wrote during her eighties and nineties.

Some of the essays were written as letters answering questions asked by children and grandchildren. Taylor's writings include memories of family members, college professors, World War II and a 1971 trip to Indonesia. There is also an essay on Ella Strong Denison, a nineteenth century advocate of libraries. Taylor's essay on her second cousin, Esther Jamison, is followed by a transcript of Jamison's 1924 diary of her trip to Salonika, Greece and a college paper Jamison wrote about Robert Louis Stevenson.

"Pioneer Pieces" includes Taylor's essay about her grandmother, Editha Phillips Fatherson, along with a transcription of her grandmother's 1915 memoir, written when the elder Fatherson was 80 years old. The elder Fatherson came to Iowa at age four in 1835. She writes of the "border war" with Missouri, the Civil War and the arrival, and expulsion, of the Mormons.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • General, undated
  • Box 1:
  • "Ella Strong Denison and Her Libraries," co-authored with Stewart Taylor - 2001
  • "(Rebecca) Elizabeth Fatherson Russell" (sister) - 1995
  • "Rationing during World War II," a letter to her daughter Elizabeth - 1997
  • "Esther Jamison (1901-2001)" with additional materials by Esther Jamison - 1924, 2002
  • "Five Professors: An Appreciation" - 2002
  • "Indonesian Trip" - 2002
  • "Letter to Caroline" (granddaughter) - 1995
  • "Pioneer Pieces" by Editha Phillips Fatherson - 1915
  • Summary of articles - 2004