Papers of Thomas Griffith Taylor (1880-1963)
- Date range:1800-1963
- Quantity:9.52m (56 boxes)
- Accession number:MS 1003
- Access conditions: Available for reference
The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, photographs, maps,
manuscripts, publications etc. Relating to the life and career of the
geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor. The body of the correspondence consists
of letters between Taylor and his family and close friends. Throughout his
life Taylor kept copies of his letters and these form a journal-like
account of his life and career on which he based his autobiography, Journeyman
Taylor. The rest of the correspondence is mainly with other scientists
and scientific organisations and with various publishers. Books and
articles written by Taylor, together with a good many manuscript and
typescript drafts, form a considerable part of the collection.
The papers are sorted into a basically chronological sequence following
the main events in Taylor's career. The manuscripts and publications have
been extracted from this sequence and made into separate series.
Thomas Griffith Taylor was born at Walthamstow, Essex, England on 1st
December 1880, and came to Australia with his family in 1893. He attended
Sydney Grammar School and later King's School. In 1904 he graduated
Bachelor of Science from Sydney University and in 1905 he accepted a
position as a Demonstrator in Geology under Edgeworth David who was to
have a profound effect on his career. In 1905 he was awarded a Bachelor of
Engineering and in 1907 he won the 1851 Travelling Scholarship to
Cambridge where he conducted the research on Archaeocyathinae, gaining his
B.A. in 1909. From 1911 to 1912 he was in Antarctica as Senior Geologist
with the British (Terra Nova) Antarctic Expedition 1910-13. Here
he led the two western expeditions and made extensive studies of the
processes of glaciation.
From 1910 to 1920 he was a Physiographer with the Commonwealth Weather
Service and from 1912 to 1913 he helped complete a survey of the Federal
Capital Site. In 1914, after again visiting England, he married Doris
Priestley, sister of (Sir) Raymond Priestley who was also a geologist with
the Scott Expedition. In 1916 he was awarded a Doctor of Science from
Sydney University and in 1920 he became Associate Professor of Geography.
From 1929 to 1935 he was Senior Professor of Geography at the University
of Chicago and from 1935 to 1951 he was head of the Department of
Geography at the University of Toronto. After his retirement in 1951,
where he helped found the Australian Institute of Geographers, and was
also active as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and of
A.N.Z.A.A.S. Throughout his life he travelled extensively in most parts of
the world. He died in Sydney in 1963.
Series 1 Early Years, 1880-1910
Series 2 Antarctica, 1910-1912
Series 3 Canberra and surrounding districts, 1910, 1912-13
Series 4 Commonwealth Weather Service and Sydney University,
Series 5 Chicago University, 1929-1935
Series 6 Toronto University, 1935-1951
Series 7 Australian Institute of Geographers, Australian Academy
of Science, and A.N.Z.A.A.S.
Series 8 Retirement, 1951-1963
Series 9 Scrapbooks, 1880-1963
Series 10 Wanderyears, 1907-1915
Series 11 Manuscripts & proof copies
Series 12 Publications
Series 13 Miscellaneous
Series 1 - early years, 1880-1910
Correspondence, field notebooks, press clippings, photographs, maps,
sketches etc. relating to Taylor's early years, first as a schoolboy and
later as a student at Sydney University and at Cambridge. The series
includes extensive correspondence between Taylor and the various members
of his family which contain a detailed account of his travels in the
Pacific, North America and Europe as well as in Australia. Further
material from this period may be found in Series 9 and 10.
Series 2 - Antarctica, 1910-1912
Correspondence, diaries, notebooks, press clippings, photographs, maps,
sketches etc. relating to Taylor's work as Senior Geologist with the
British (Terra Nova) Antarctic Expedition. He also held the position of
Phisiographer with the Federal Meteorological Service during this period.
The series includes a diary of day to day events, sledging diaries and
other material giving details of the two sledging journeys of the Western
Party of which Taylor was the leader, and extensive correspondence between
Taylor and his family and friends giving detailed descriptions of
conditions in Antarctica and comments on the various members of the
expedition. There are also manuscripts of articles by Taylor for the
South Polar Times and the manuscript of With Scott, the silver
lining, four original drawings by David Low for the book With
Scott , the silver lining. The series also contains material relating
to glacial studies in Europe and New Zealand in preparation for the
expedition. Further material relating to Taylor's work in the Antarctic
may be found in Series 9 and 10.
Series 3 - Canberra and the surrounding district, 1910, 1912-1913
From 1912 to 1913, Taylor, as Phisiographer with the Federal
Meteorological Service, participated in a survey of the Federal Capital
Site. The Series includes a Report of the geology along the proposed
railway to Jervis Bay, 13.12.12 and material relating to the opening of
Canberra on 13 March 1913. There is also a field notebook of a
phisiographic survey of the capital site made by Taylor in 1910,
photographs of early Canberra, and correspondence between Taylor and his
family and friends. Further material may be found in Series 9 and 10.
Series 4 - Commonwealth weather service and Sydney University,
Correspondence, maps, field notebooks, newspaper articles and
clippings,. sketches, photographs, reviews etc. relating to Taylor's
career in the Commonwealth Weather Service till 1920 and at Sydney
University from 1920 to 1928. During this period he travelled widely in
Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and the Pacific as well as in
Australia. There is extensive correspondence between Taylor and the
various members of his family giving detailed accounts of his travels and
including much scientific observation. The material reflects Taylor's
special interest in the problems of settlement in tropical and in arid
areas in Australia. It also illustrates Professor David's influence on the
development of Taylor's career. Further material from this period may be
found in Series 9 and 10.
Series 5 - Chicago University, 1929-1935
This series is mainly correspondence, much of which is between Taylor
and his family containing detailed accounts of his work as Senior
Professor of Geography at Chicago University, and of his travels in North
America, the Pacific, Australia and Great Britain. There is also
correspondence of a more general nature including material relating to the
publication of various books and articles. As well as the correspondence,
there are lecture notes, field notebooks, press cuttings, maps,
photographs etc. Further material covering this period may be found in
Series 6 - Toronto University, 1935-1951
Correspondence, press clippings, photographs, maps, field notebooks etc.
relating to Taylor's work as head of the new Department of Geography at
Toronto University. During this period he maintained his usual extensive
correspondence with his family and friends giving detailed accounts of his
work and his travels in North America, Europe and Australia. The
correspondence also relates to numerous articles and books written by
Taylor during his period. Further material may be found in Series 9.
Series 7 - Australian Institute of Geographers, Australian Academy of
Science and ANZAAS
After his retirement in 1951, Taylor returned to Australia where he was
instrumental in the establishment of the Institute of Australian
Geographers. In 1961 he became its first President. Most of the
correspondence relates to his work for this organisation, and to his work
for the Australian Academy of Science. There is also material relating to
his interest in ANZAAS.
Series 8 - Retirement, 1951-1963
Correspondence, press cuttings, articles, maps, photographs etc.
relating to Taylor's life in Sydney after his retirement. The series
consists largely of correspondence relating to various publications,
particularly to his autobiography Journeyman Taylor. Further
material may be found in Series 9.
Series 9 - Scrapbooks, 1880-1963
Scrapbooks containing correspondence, press cuttings, photographs,
pamphlets, notes, manuscripts of articles and reviews, field notebooks,
diagrams, sketches, etc. covering the period from 1880 to 1963. Much of
the correspondence is personal and includes many letters between Taylor
and his family while on various journeys and field trips to many parts of
the world. The correspondence also reflects the development of Taylor's
career, his interest in various geographical and scientific societies, and
the publication of his many books and articles.
All loose items have been removed from the scrapbooks and placed in
Series 10 - Wanderyears, 1907-1915
A series of letterbooks containing carbon copies of letters written by
Taylor and bound together to form 6 volumes which he has called
Wanderyears. It was Taylor's practice to keep a record of his travels in
the form of copies of letters sent mainly to his family giving detailed
descriptions (often containing geographical and geological data) of places
he had visited. The series covers the years 1907 to 1915 when Taylor
travelled extensively in Europe, South Africa, North America, Antarctica
and the Pacific. Although most letters are to his family, they frequently
contain a record of observations of a scientific nature. Also included are
copies of some more general correspondence and a few press cuttings,
Series 11 - Manuscripts & proof copies
Manuscripts and proofs of many of the books and articles written by
Taylor, some of which are unpublished. Many of them are incomplete.
Series 12 - Publications
Some of the many books, articles, reviews etc. written, edited, or
contributed to by Taylor, most of which are autographed or annotated.
There are also some books and articles by other authors. Most of the
reprints of Taylor's own articles have been collected together and bound.
Series 13 - Miscellaneous
Various unidentified photographs, maps, sketches, press clippings etc.