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Ruth Fatherson Taylor papers

Identifier: IWA0489

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Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1915-2002


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

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.


3.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Reminiscences and essays by Taylor and the transcript of a 1915 memoir written by Editha Phillips Fatherson.

Method of Acquisition

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

Lisa Mott and Margaret Richardson, 2004.
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)