Henry Robert Taylor Family Papers
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Henry Robert Taylor was born in Newfane, Vermont, in 1830. He studied civil engineering and surveying at Saxton's River Seminary (Vermont Academy) before traveling to California via the Cape Horn route to become a "forty-niner" during the California Gold Rush. Taylor returned east in 1852, and shortly after, left again for South America via Panama. He spent the mid-1850s traveling through Ecuador, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia and working for the Chilean coast survey. Returning to the United States in 1857, he worked as a government surveyor for two years in the Nebraska Territory and later in Maine. Taylor eventually settled in Machias, Maine, and in 1862, married Amelia N. Longfellow, with whom he had two daughters and a son. After his first wife's death, Taylor was remarried to Laura E. Smith, with whom he had another two sons and two daughters. His son Henry K. Taylor made several unsuccessful attempts to publish his father's travel journals in the 1910s.
Consists of a group of family papers documenting Henry Robert Taylor's role in a California gold prospecting company called Cunningham & Co. from 1849 to 1851, his travels in South America from 1852 to 1857, and his survey work in the Nebraska Territory in 1858 and 1859. Earlier materials include some of Taylor's own writings, correspondence, drawings, land surveys, maps, and personal documents, as well as abstracts and synopses of his travel journals, the originals of which appear to have been lost. Later papers, primarily dating from 1913 to 1915, derive from Taylor's son Henry K. Taylor's unsuccessful efforts to edit and publish his father's travel narratives into two books ("The Journal of a Forty-Niner" and "Five Years of Travel and Adventure in South America"). Letters from Henry Robert Taylor to his son and his son's correspondence with various publishers discuss the financial and logistical aspects involved with publishing the journals. Other materials include clippings and biographical essays about Henry Robert Taylor, a letter from Taylor's grandmother to his mother, and genealogical notes.
As no original order was discernible, materials were arranged by family member.
Purchased from Sotheby's in 2019 (AM 2019-80).
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in March 2019. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in March 2019.
No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing.
- Gold miners -- United States -- 19th century -- Correspondence
- Gold mines and mining -- California -- Sacramento -- History -- 19th century
- Prospecting -- West (U.S.) -- 19th century -- Sources
- Travel writing -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelly Bolding
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
Two letters.Physical Description
Eight letters regarding plans to publish Henry Robert Taylor's journals, including a list of views and sketches.Physical Description
Includes a pencil map-plan of Sacramento, California, showing Sutter's Fort, streets, and rivers; a pen and ink map describing, as recorded on the verso, "a more correct idea about the localities of the different Indian Rancherios in the vicinity, the different bars on the rivers & other important points;" and two surveys of property belonging to David Longfellow on Whitneyville and Machias road in Marshfield, Maine.Physical Description
Includes a pencil drawing titled "Port of Sacramento City during the flood of Jan 1850," which shows a flooded Cunningham & Co. building; a pen and ink drawing of a miner's camp, depicting a miner cleaning his pan and surrounded by other tools and utensils, including a coffee pot; and a pencil drawing of two guanacos he saw in Patagonia, which he described on the back as being "an animal about midway between the Deer & Llama."Physical Description
Biographical essay about Henry Robert Taylor.Physical Description