Samuel Woolley Taylor was born February 5, 1907 in Provo, Utah the son of Janet "Nettie" Maria Woolley Taylor and John W. Taylor, then a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and brother of Raymond Taylor. Samuel grew up working on the family fruit farm in Provo shared with his father's other two wives (his father practiced polygamy) and their children. During the latter 1920s Samuel enrolled in Brigham Young University in Provo to study journalism. During this time he wrote a weekly column in BYU's Y News entitled "Taylored Topics." In 1931 he was temporarily suspended from BYU for his writings in the Y News. Although BYU offered to let him return, he chose to leave or "escape" Utah, as he called it, and live in California. In 1934 he married Gay Dimick, a fellow student writer he had met at BYU. They later settled in Redwood City, California and adopted one daughter named Sara.
Samuel began a long and successful career as a freelance writer. He wrote almost every type of genre: detective stories, westerns, sports, adventures, humor, and a play. His work was published in a variety of national journals, including The Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, and Colliers. He also wrote movie scripts such as The Man with My Face and two Walt Disney movies; The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber (The Absent-Minded Professor was remade in 1998 as Flubber staring Robin Williams).
In 1943 Samuel was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to England with the Army Air Force. He served in the Army Air Force Public Relations Office for two years and reached the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. During his time in England he met with LDS British Mission President Hugh B. Brown who suggested that Samuel write about Mormonism. Thereafter Samuel wrote numerous articles and books on Mormonism.
Samuel's time as a writer on Mormon topics was one of both personal difficulty and deep introspection for him. He struggled with the Church's twentieth-century "controlled press," as he called it, wherein he sought to convey historical truth and de-shroud the myths imposed by the LDS Church about its own past. He published articles in journals such as Sunstone and Dialogue, but one of his most prominent works was a book entitled Family Kingdom, a biography about his father and his practice of polygamy. When Samuel first published this book he feared that the LDS Church would excommunicate him for his openness on the subject of polygamy, but when nothing negative happened he continued to write on similar topics. Some of his other books on Mormonism include Rocky Mountain Kingdom and The Kingdom or Nothing: The Life of John Taylor, Militant Mormon. His book The Kingdom or Nothing was the first of its kind to be written about John Taylor, and Samuel was granted access to Taylor's personal papers (held by the LDS Church's archives) because he was John Taylor's grandson.
Although Samuel was officially a member of the LDS Church all his life, he struggled to find his place within the church. He attended church meetings but in general had limited involvement. He struggled with various contradictions within the LDS faith and with the leadership of the church. However, he was also proud of his church membership and remained a member until his death. Samuel has been described as both a member of Mormonism's "Lost Generation" and also a Mormon maverick author. Samuel died on September 26, 1997 in Provo, Utah.
This collection contains correspondence between brothers Raymond Taylor and Samuel W. Taylor between 1966 and 1972. Their correspondence concerns research and work surrounding the publication of Samuel's The Kingdom or Nothing: The Life of John Taylor, Militant Mormon (see full citation below). Both brothers were highly involved in researching John Taylor, their grandfather, for this book and Samuel credits his brother Raymond for an ample share of the work toward its research and publication. The correspondence in this collection was originally bound in a binder by Raymond Taylor and the organization of the collection reflects this original order.
Restrictions on Access :
No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.Restrictions on Use :
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material from the Raymond and Samuel Taylor Correspondence must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Initial Citation: Raymond and Samuel Taylor Correspondence USU_COLL MSS 145, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.
Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 145, USUSCA.
Arranged in original order.
Processing Note :
Processed in January of 2006Acquisition Information :
The materials that comprise this collection are photocopies of the original material that is held in private hands. The original materials were loaned to Special Collections & Archives by Raymond Taylor, the brother of Samuel Taylor, for the purpose of making photocopies in 1989.Related Materials :
Taylor, Samuel W., The Kingdom or Nothing: The Life of John Taylor, Militant Mormon, MacMillian Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1976, 406 pages. (see SC&A call #; 289.392 T215-Ta or the Merrill-Cazier Library call #; BX 8695 .T3 T39)Bibliography : Source:
Detailed Description of the Collection