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Theodore Taylor Papers

Identifier: CLRC-91

Scope and Contents

Theodore Taylor's papers focus on his work as an author of children's and young adult fiction. The collection contains drafts, proofs, and correspondence for both published and unpublished titles.


  • Creation: 1967 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Theodore Taylor was born June 23, 1921 in Statesville, North Carolina, and attended the United State Merchant Marine Academy in New York in the early 1940s. Taylor served in the Merchant Marine and United States Navy for several years, and saw active service in World War II. In the 1940s and 1950s, Taylor worked as a sports editor and writer, reporter, publicist, and producer, with a number of years spent in Hollywood. In the 1950s, he began writing for adults and in 1967 produced his first juvenile work People Who Make Movies.

In 1969, Taylor published one of his best known works for young adults, The Cay, the story of the experiences and gradual shift in attitudes of Philip, a young, white, Southern boy who survives a shipwreck and blindness with the help of an elderly black man named Timothy.

Many of Taylor's books utilized his knowledge of the sea and his North Carolina background, including his Cape Hatteras Trilogy. He also wrote several works of nonfiction, several of which focused on battles. Taylor died in 2006


15 Cubic Feet (12 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Theodore Taylor papers focus on his work as an author of children's and young adult fiction and non-fiction. His papers trace the genesis, process and revision of his works. The collection includes drafts, notes, and correspondence.


Collection guide arranged alphabetically by publication title, with miscellaneous drafts and research at the end.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Theodore Taylor with additional material donated by the Taylor family.

Theodore Taylor Papers, 1967-2003
Christina Cowan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 2017: Collection reprocessed by Ellen Sugg and finding aid updated by Caitlin Marineau

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library