Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Henry Robert Taylor Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box B-001244


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, his survey work in the Nebraska Territory in 1858 and 1859, and his family's efforts to publish his travel journals in the early 20th century.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

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.

Collection Creator Biography:

Taylor, Henry Robert, 1830-

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.

Collection History


Purchased from Sotheby's in 2019 (AM 2019-80).


No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in March 2019. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in March 2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Henry Robert Taylor Family Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box B-001244