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Register of the Taylor (Elliott and Burta) Collection, 1922-1986
Mss254  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Elliott & Burta Taylor Collection contains rare film footage of Albania (1929-1935), transcribed on videotape with a voice-over narrative done by Burta Taylor (c1990). The slides Elliott Taylor took--representing unusual views and seldom-visited sites in more than twenty countries--are a core component of the Taylor Collection; but the collection consists not merely of slides and films, for it also contains considerable correspondence and other papers. This latter material, which consists in part of hundreds of letters written by the Taylors to each other, family and friends, during their years abroad, vividly describes his life in Rome (1928-29), her life at College of the Pacific (1928-29) and in the department of social work at Bryn Mawr College (1929-30), as well as their shared life in Albania (1929-35).
Background
Elliott Taylor (1904-1986) met his future wife, Burta Beers (1908-1994), while both were students at the College of the Pacific in Stockton (Calif.). Following graduation from the College (1928), Elliott worked as assistant to the President at the Colegio Monte Mario in Rome (1928-29). Burta Beers graduated in 1929, then did a year of graduate work at Bryn Mawr. The two married in Rome (1930) and together they moved to Albania, where Elliott Taylor was Assistant Director of the men's section and Burta Taylor helped establish the women's school of the American Institute at Kavaje sponsored by the Near East Foundation of New York (1929-1935). The purpose of the two schools, which were separate in accord with Muslim practice, was to "train young people for leadership in villages and rural districts" through education in health, agriculture and homemaking. While living in Albania, the Taylors made films of the Albanian countryside and people. Burta and Elliott Taylor travelled widely during their years in Europe; both took summer courses at the University of Vienna. After six years in Albania Elliott Taylor moved to New York City, where he worked as a fund-raiser for the Near East Foundation (1935-1938). The Foundation operated schools, clinics, handicraft centers, libraries and playgrounds in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Syria. Burta Taylor briefly took a job in San Francisco to be nearer to her aging parents but eventually settled with her husband in New York City. In 1938 the Taylors moved to Reedley (Calif.), where Elliott taught, counseled and, ultimately, served as Dean of Reedley Junior College (1938-1947).
Availability
Collection is open for research.