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TAYLOR, JAMES [1901-1962]

TAYLOR, JAMES (1901–1962). James Taylor, historian, son of Charles Walter and Effie (McGuyer) Taylor, was born on January 5, 1901, in Rogers, Bell County, Texas. After graduating from Rogers High School, he attended North Texas State Normal College (now the University of North Texas) in Denton before entering the University of Texas, where he received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1927. Taylor remained at the university as an instructor of history until 1928, when he became a faculty member at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College in Nacogdoches. In 1929 he went to the University of Chicago as a teaching fellow to do graduate work, but his studies were interrupted by the Great Depression, and he returned to Texas after a year. In 1931 he was appointed director of the Department of Social Sciences at Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University) in Beaumont. While he was there he resumed graduate work at the University of Texas and received the Ph.D. degree in 1936. Two years later he joined the faculty at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman's University) in Denton, where he remained until the outbreak of World War II.

In July 1942 he joined the United States Army Air Forces and served as historian for the air units in the Pacific Ocean area during the last two years of the war, after which he was assigned to record the historic atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll; he accompanied the mission to the Marshall Islands during the summer of 1946. Later that year he became professor of history at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served in the publications section of the Department of Defense in Washington from early 1951 until September 1952. He was coauthor of a part of volume five, The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki, in the multivolume work The Army Air Forces in World War II (1953). He returned to Southwest Texas State at San Marcos, helped organize the Texas Association of College Teachers, and became its president in 1953. He was interested in improving the academic competence of students planning to teach history in high schools, and in collaboration with others he helped establish an annual conference sponsored jointly by the Texas Council of the Social Studies and Southwest Texas State Teachers College. Taylor taught in 1958 as a visiting professor at the University of Texas, after which he returned to Southwest Texas State College. In May 1962 he was honored by the establishment of the James Taylor Lecture, an annual event presented each spring at SWTSU; by 1988 this had become the longest continuous lecture series of the university. Taylor was a member of numerous educational organizations and was a fellow and member of the executive council of the Texas State Historical Association. He was married to Virginia Rogers Hubert on September 5, 1926; they had one child and were later divorced. He married Elizabeth Hindman on July 6, 1943. Taylor died on November 26, 1962, and was buried in the San Marcos Cemetery. On October 29, 1983, a building on the Southwest Texas State campus was officially designated the Taylor-Murphy History Building in honor of Dr. Taylor and Dr. Retta Murphy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

William C. Pool, "James Taylor, Master Teacher," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 67 (July 1963).

Emmie Craddock

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Emmie Craddock, "TAYLOR, JAMES [1901-1962]," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta19), accessed November 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.