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
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).