John Clayton Taylor Papers

Manuscript Collection #442
Taylor, John Clayton, 1888-1921
Physical description
0.65 Cubic Feet, 170 items , consisting of correspondence, post cards, photographs, a diary, a newspaper, and miscellany.
Preferred Citation
John Clayton Taylor Papers (#442), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access to audiovisual and digital media is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Papers (1907-1921) including correspondence, post cards, photography, a diary, a newspaper, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

John Clayton Taylor, son of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Taylor of Greenville, N.C., was born on September 20, 1888. He attended Buies Creek Academy, Atlantic Christian College, and the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond. He completed internship at the Virginia Home for Incurables and in 1917 joined the U.S. Navy with the rank of assistant surgeon. During World War I, Taylor served aboard USS PLATTSBURG, a hospital ship that made eleven trips from Europe to the United States. Taylor remained in the Navy until January 30, 1921, when he was accidentally shot and killed by a sentry at the East Camp on the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia. He was buried at the family cemetery between Greenville and Bethel, N.C.

Scope and arrangement

The papers consist chiefly of correspondence from John C. Taylor to his sister, Alya Ray Taylor, and his parents. The correspondence, mainly personal, reveals the close relationship between Taylor and his sister. The letters include advice on family matters, colleges, books, and life in general. Correspondence from the secretary of the navy and other officials (1921) expresses concern about Taylor's death.

The most important part of the collection- correspondence, photographs, post cards, and a diary- reflect Taylor's service aboard the PLATTSBURG and his sightseeing activities in Europe and America. Correspondence pertains to the Isle of Wight (Jan., 1918), Liverpool (July, 1918), London (July, 1918) and Chester (Aug., 1918), England; Brest (Oct., 1918), Morlaix (Oct., 1918), Paris (Dec., 1918), Château-Thierry (Dec., 1918), and Versailles (Dec., 1918), France; Dublin, Ireland (May., 1919); Glasgow, Scotland (May, 1919); Ostend, Dixmude, Brussels, and Antwerp, Belgium (Aug., 1919); Cologne and Coblenz, Germany (Aug., 1919); New York City (1918-1919); and Parris Island, S.C. (Oct., 1919).

An album of photographs and post cards ([1918?]-1919) contains views of the PLATTSBURG, its medical officers and corps, and activities aboard ship, including "mass court," a boxing match, a Catholic worship service, and the loading of wounded men; USS IMPERATOR; USS LEVIATHAN; New York City, including USS RECRUIT, a wooden ship used for recruiting; Liverpool; Chester; Glasgow; HMS VICTORY; Edinburgh; Southampton; Cork, Ireland, including Blarney Castle; London; Ostend; Dixmude; Ypres; Brussels; Waterloo; Antwerp; German prisoners performing salvage work in Belgium; Cologne; Brest; Morlaix; Château-Thierry; German ships; and a U.S. Navy N.C. 4 Skydroplane.

Loose photographs depict, in addition to some of the subjects listed above, the trenches at Argonne, Dead Man's Hill at Verdun, an early motorcycle, and members of the Taylor family. An oversized photograph shows the officer's court at an unidentified tent camp.

Loose post cards in the collection show views of Camp Jackson, Columbia, S.C.; USS MONTPELIER; and sites in France, as well as other subjects already noted.

Taylor's diary (1919) contains brief entries pertaining to the movements and activities of the PLATTSBURG and its crew.

Miscellany in the collection includes an essay on why Pitt County, N.C., should have a hospital (1918) and a copy of the Buies Creek Academy Little River Record (January, 1908).

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 22, 1982, 126 items; Papers (1907-1921) of U.S. Navy physician, including correspondence, photographs, a diary, and miscellaneous. Gift of Miss Alya Ray Taylor, Greenville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Miss Alya Ray Taylor

Processing information

Processed by K. Elmore, June 1982

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Taylor, John Clayton, 1888-1921
Family Names
Taylor family
Corporate Names
Plattsburg (Ship)
United States. Navy--Hospital ships
United States. Navy--Surgeons
World War, 1914-1918--Naval operations
World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives
Europe--Description and travel
United States--Description and travel

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Correspondence, 1907-1917
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence, Jan.-Oct., 1918
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence, Jan.-Mar., 1919
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence, April-Dec., 1919
Box 2 Folder a Correspondence, 1920-1921
Box 2 Folder b Diary, 1919
Box 2 Folder c Photographs (Family)
Box 2 Folder d Post Cards
Box 2 Folder e Miscellany
Box 3 Folder a P-442/40, 108-109, 111 P-442/186, 188-190, 192-195, 197 P-442/204, 206-210, 212-214, 219
Box 3 Folder b PC-442/42-68, 70, 74, 77-78, 81 PC-442/83-84, 93, 100-106
Box 3 Folder c P-442/69, 71-73, 75-76, 79-80, 82, 85-92 P-442/94-99, 107, 110, 113-114, 116-119, P-442/121, 123-125, 127-133, 135-137 P-442/139, 146, 150
Box 3 Folder d P-442/151-152, 154-164, 176-177, 181, 191 P-442/199-203, 205, 220-221, 227, P-442/232-234, 238
Box 3 Folder e PC-442/115, 120, 122, 126, 134, 138 PC-442/140-141, 143-145, 147-149, 153, PC-442/165-175, 178-180, 182-185 PC-442/196, 198, 255-258, 261, 264
Box 3 Folder f P-442/215-218, 229-230, 240-242, P-442/9-11, 15
Box 3 Folder g P-442/222-226, 228, 231, 235-237, 239 P-442/243-254, 259-260, 262-263
Box 3 Folder h Photocopies
Folder os1 Newspaper, oversize photograph