Peter H. Taylor (1917-1994)

Posted on November 23, 2015

Peter H. Taylor was born on January 8, 1917 in Trenton, Tennessee. He attended Southwestern in Memphis for one year, Vanderbilt for one year, and Kenyon College for two years, finally receiving his bachelors degree in 1940. Taylor was drafted into the Army in the spring of 1941 as Sergeant; he was discharged from the Army on December 20, 1945. He married Eleanor Ross in 1943, a former Woman’s College student.

He began work at Woman’s College on September 1, 1946 as an Assistant Professor of English. He taught creative writing at Woman’s College until he resigned in 1948 to join faculty of Indiana University as an Assistant Professor of English. He stayed at Indiana University until 1949, when he returned to Woman’s College. He stayed at WC until 1952. During this time he was awarded the Guggeheim Fellowship award and the National Academy Award for Fiction in 1950. He also received a literature award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1952.

Taylor accepted the position of Associate Professor at Kenyon College from 1952 until 1957 and during this time he received the Fulbright Award in 1955. In 1957 he accepted a position of Associate Professor at Ohio State. In the fall of 1964 he was visiting Professor at Harvard University.

During his career Taylorwrote numerous books, plays, and articles including “A Long Fourth and Other Stories,” “Casa Anna,” “A Woman of Means,” “Death of a Kinsman,” “Tennessee Day in St. Louis,” “The Widows of Thornton,” “Happy Families are all Alike,” among many others. From 1963 he returned to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and from 1966 to 1967 he was appointed Alumni Professor. He was named UNCG’s first Alumni distinguished Professor in 1966. In 1967 he headed the creative writing program at the University of Indiana. In 1984 Taylor was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Senior Fellowship and in 1987 he was winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; he was also awarded the Ritz/Hemingway Prize in 1986 for his novel, “A Summons to Memphis.”

Peter Taylor died on November 2, 1994 from a stroke at age 77.


Written by Brittany Hedrick, Fall 2015 intern

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