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Taylor family papers

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2023-0012

Content Description

This collection features personal letters, postcards, U.Va. grade reports, certificates, a Monticello Association Lifetime Pass, various Army documents, and various pamphlets on the life and interests of Thomas Jefferson documenting the lives of the Taylor Family: Edward Colston Taylor (1877-1940), Jessie Alwine Taylor (1879-1973 ), and Edward Colston Taylor, Jr. (1911-1997). The collection includes genealogical notes and research on the Taylor Family, undertaken by Peter Flugg Mayron, an Austin, Texas, architecture historian. The bulk of the collection is correspondence between Edward Colston Taylor to his wife, Jessie. Taylor was a great-great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and the son of Bennett Taylor, a University of Virginia attendee, and Confederate veteran. Edward pursued Jessie Alwine of Pennsylvania as a love interest, but his family opposed this relationship, citing Alwine’s status as “Catholic, middle-class, and Yankee”. The two eventually married and settled in Martinsburg, West Virginia. A smaller amount of letters from Jessie to Edward Sr. are also included from 1896 to 1917. Most are postmarked from locations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Edward Taylor refers to Jessie as “Princess” in most letter greetings and himself as “King” in place of his name. Jessie follows suit in her response letters. Some letters refer to Jessie as “My dear Jessie James,” signed with “Eddie Taylor,” beginning in 1906. Some are addressed to “Mrs. E.C. Taylor” and signed “Rex.” Most letters were sent with Keystone Coal and Coke Company stationery in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania. Included in some of the letters are photographs of Edward. Jessie’s place of letter receipt is commonly Cincinnati, Ohio or Greensburg, Pennsylvania, suggesting a great deal of travel. Also included is a letter by Edward Taylor addressed to his son, postmarked 1937, three years before Edward’s death. Also included are various personal papers and letters belonging to Edward Colston Taylor, Jr. Edward Jr. studied Architecture at the University of Virginia before serving in the United States Army from 1941 to 1946. He was the only child of Edward and Jessie. A selection of letters from E. Colston Taylor, Jr. to his mother between 1942 to 1943 were postmarked from Ridley, Kansas, where Taylor, Jr. was stationed from military service during the Second World War as a Second Lieutenant. Other papers within the collection include his 1930s U.Va. grade reports, continuing education in Architecture certificates from M.I.T., a Monticello Association Lifetime Pass, and various Army documents (orders, tax records, promotion details, etc.). Also included are various pamphlets on the life and interests of Thomas Jefferson (The Jefferson Monument at the University of Missouri, Jefferson’s Relation to Botany, etc.). A 1981 Board of Visitors-published “Malone and Jefferson” book chronicles the work of Thomas Jefferson biographer Dumas Malone. Several small monochrome photographs of the E.C. Taylor Family exist within this collection. In addition to information about Thomas Jefferson, Colston collected genealogical research on his immediate family. This research includes correspondence between family members, printed reports, family photographs, and birth records.

Acquisition Type



Gift of John C.R. Taylor, III, 2 December 2019. Following the death of Edward Colston Taylor, Jr. in 1997, these correspondence letters and personal papers were inherited by John C.R. Taylor III, who donated them to Special Collections, citing a family lineage to Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia.

Restrictions Apply



  • Creation: 1894-1983


2.8 Cubic Feet (Seven letter-sized document boxes)


Box 1 Edward Colston Taylor Sr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor, 1894-1907 Box 2 Edward Colston Taylor Sr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor, 1905-1907 Box 3 Edward Colston Taylor Sr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor, 1907-1908 Box 4 Edward Colston Taylor Sr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor, 1908 Box 5 Edward Colston Taylor Sr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor and Jessie Alwine Taylor to Edward Colston Taylor Sr., 1908-1920 Box 6 Edward Colston Taylor Jr. to Jessie Alwine Taylor, 1942-1943 Box 7 Edward Colston Taylor Jr. records, c.1911-1981