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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
The Papers of Bertha Fanning Taylor
Bertha Fanning Taylor was born on July 30, 1883 in New York City. She was the daughter of Spencer A. Fanning and Mary A. Switt. In 1889, she moved to Spotswood, New Jersey after her mother's death. In 1896, she attended Hunter College in New York. Upon graduation, Mrs. Taylor studied under Bryson Burroughs at the Women's Art School of Cooper Union in New York City where she received a certificate in 1903.
In 1908, Bertha Fanning married Norman Taylor who was Assistant Curator at the New York Botanical Gardens. The next year, Bertha Fanning Taylor and her husband went on a trip to the West Indies for botanical studies. In 1924, she went to Montpellier, France with her two daughters and her son, Norman Taylor, Jr. From 1929-1933, Mrs. Taylor studied at L'Ecole du English-speaking groups at the Louvre and became assistant to the Art Editor in Paris for The American Herald. In this period, Mrs. Taylor exhibited many of her own works in major salons in Paris.
In 1933, Mrs. Taylor frequently visited Rome and visited major art centers of Italy. At the outbreak of World War II, she lived for two months in Rome, but returned to the United States and lived in Greenwich Village.
Upon leaving New York in 1945, Mrs. Taylor came to Norfolk as Curator of the Sloane collection at the Heritage Foundation Museum. In 1948, she taught extension courses in art appreciation, art history, painting and drawing for the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary (presently Old Dominion University) until 1951. During this period Mrs. Taylor in 1950 began teaching classes in painting and drawing at the, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, as well as classes at the YWCA until 1960. She then opened her own studio.
In 1963, Mrs. Taylor was awarded the medal of the Order of the Palmes Academique by the French government for efforts in the founding of Salon Francais of the Women's Club in Norfolk, In 1966, Mrs. Taylor had a one person show at the Norfolk Museum of Arts of Sciences of graphic work, including drawings, etchings and wood block prints.
Mrs. Taylor published two works. The first was in 1963 entitled Form and Feeling in-Painting and the second in 1968 entitled My Fifteen in France. From 1968 to 1977 Mrs. Taylor was very active in the Norfolk Women's Club and taught students on a personal basis.
In 1977 Mrs. Taylor sustained a fall and stayed in the hospital for many weeks and then lived at the Medi-Center nursing home until her death on July 3, 1980.
A long time friend of Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Benjamin F. Clymer of the Reference Department at Old Dominion University summarized Mrs. Taylor as, "Blue Blood, Blue Stocking, and True Blue with the brilliance of gold and the warmth of red."
Scope and Contents
The Bertha Fanning Taylor Papers span the years from 1915 to 1979 and is a collection of literary productions, printed materials, correspondence, scrapbooks, charts, photographic materials, and memorabilia. A wealth of information in art and art forms is available in the collection. In addition to the artistic significance of the papers, the collection has a significance in the history of Norfolk, especially in the Arts.
Series I is made up of the literary productions produced by Bertha Fanning Taylor, including notes, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, periodical clippings and reminiscences. Because of the nature of the collection, the series is arranged by subject. Of special significance is a manuscript produced by Mrs. Taylor entitled, "Building Anew at Sixty Years in a Southern City; A Book of Memories by Bertha Fanning Taylor from 1939 to 1972." (see Box 1 folders 9 through 15).
Printed Materials make up Series II. This series contains: certificates, newspaper clippings, periodical clippings, programs, publications, circulars and brochures. Alphabetical arrangement according to subject was maintained.
Series III is correspondence. Because of the scarcity of letters, arrangement is chronological.
Series IV is a scrapbook. It contains many news clippings. Of special interest is a letter to Mrs. Taylor from Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.
Series V is Charts which contains hand-drawn furniture styles.
Series VI contains photographic material. Most of the photographs are of Mrs. Taylor's works in painting and drawing. A chronological arrangement is maintained
The last series is memorabilia - Series VII. It contains invitations, tickets, book marks, postcards and sketches. The series contains two sketches, most likely to be original works by Mrs. Taylor; however neither sketch is signed.
Donated by Norman Taylor, Jr. on July 3, 1981.
Collection is open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed the Special Collections Librarian
3 Hollinger Documents Cases
MG - 44
SERIES I - Literary Productions
Subseries A: Notes
Folder 1 Artists
Subseries B: Manuscripts
Folder 9 "Building Anew at Sixty Years in a Southern City; A Book of Memories
by Bertha Fanning Taylor from 1939 to 1972: 12 Chapters - Chapters 1 & 2
Subseries C: Newspaper Clippings
Folder 15 Letter to Editor/"Etchings by John Taylor Arms"
Subseries D: Periodical Clippings
Folder 16 "Around the Art Galleries" series of articles by Bertha Fanning Taylor
Subseries E: Reminiscences
Folder 17 "Thoughts on Painting"/Short Autobiography
SERIES II - Printed Materials
Subseries A: Certificates
Folder 18 Woman's School of Art, New York, June 3, 1905
Subseries B: Newspaper Clippings
Folder 19 Clippings - Italian July 1939 - March 1951
Folder 1 Rembrandt
Subseries C: Periodical Clippings
Folder 8 Miscellaneous 1942-1966
Subseries D: Programs
Folder 9 Lectures offered by Bertha Fanning Taylor
Subseries E: Publications
Folder 14 Color by Clara Dudley
Folder 1 The Life of Forms in Art by Henri Focillion
SERIES III - Correspondence
Folder 8 Letters, Post Cards, Christmas Cards 1938-1950
SERIES IV - Scrapbooks
Folder 9 One Green bound - clippings and of special note: a letter to Mrs. Taylor from Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson
SERIES V - Charts
Folder 10 Furniture Styles
SERIES VI - Photographic Material
Subseries A: Positive Prints
Folder 1 Paintings by Bertha Fanning Taylor ca. 1930's
Subseries B: Negative Transparencies
Folder 5 Mexican cities by Early Settlers undated
SERIES VII - Memorabilia
Folder 6 Invitations to Art Premieres and Previews