Fonds MC14 - George T. Taylor

Title proper

George T. Taylor

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Attributions and conjectures: Title based on contents of the fonds

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  • 1859-1905 (Creation)
    Taylor, George T.

Physical description

30 cm of textual records
ca. 913 photographs : b&w

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Biographical history

George T. Taylor, the son of Frances Morrison and William P. Taylor, was born 6 September 1838 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. His father, William Pentlowe Taylor (1802-1871), was a carpenter and house joiner who emigrated from London, England to Fredericton, New Brunswick with his father, George Taylor, prior to 1826. William and Frances Taylor had no fewer than five children: William, John, George, Susan, and Sophia. William Taylor, Sr. built a home for his family at 232 Northumberland Street, where they resided for many years. Sons John M. and George T. worked with their father, for a time, and possibly with their grandfather. John M. Taylor also built and repaired steam engines. William Taylor, Jr. was residing in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the early 1870s.

In the 1850s and 1860s, George T. Taylor was working as a carpenter while developing his talent in photography. In 1856 he launched his career as a photographer under the tutelage of portrait photographer David Lawrence of Fredericton. He also received art lessons from Mrs. Cooksley, the wife of a captain in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment, but was largely self-taught as a painter. He expanded his knowledge of the art of photography by reading English periodicals which he borrowed from the officers of the Garrison.

Resourceful and creative, George Taylor has been credited with inventing the blueprint in response to the needs of the Crown Lands Department. He also built his own cameras. In addition to his studio work in Fredericton, George Taylor travelled throughout the province creating a photographic record. Canada's first national news magazine, "Canadian Illustrated News," published its first edition in 1869, which contained examples of Taylor's work.

George T. Taylor married twice, the first time, in 1860, to Sarah George (d. 1866). They had no children. Following Sarah's death, in 1868 he married Mary Avery, and they had no fewer than six children: Frances (1869-1942), Nell (1870-1967), Bess (1872-1926), Will (1876-1940), Annie (d. 1946), and Ted (1881-1971). Taylor's career spanned formats from daguerreotypes to wet plates to dry plates. About 1906 he made his last major field trip, and subsequently turned his attention to an earlier interest -- painting. He died in Fredericton on 5 April 1913.

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of personal records of both George T. Taylor and William P. Taylor. Included is a single diary (1869-1871) belonging to William P. Taylor in which he records details of his activities as a carpenter and joiner, as well as those of his sons, John and George. He also mentions George's work as a photographer and John's work as a builder and repairer of steam engines, along with local events, notably, fires, earthquakes, and hangings.

George T. Taylor's records include a diary (1901-1905) and a notebook (pre-1900) pertaining to his career as a photographer. The diary contains information on his daily activities, his business and personal finances, local and family events, and his travels, including his 1901 canoe trips in Oromocto Lake and French Lake.

His undated notebook records details of a photographic tour, which included stops at Sussex, Pointe-du-Chêne, Shediac, Richibucto, Chatham, Bathurst, Tobique, and Grand Falls. It also includes a sketch titled "North West," a listing of trip expenses, and listings of "card pictures" or photographs taken. There are also copies of issues of "Photographic Notes" (1860); "The Philadelphia Photographer" (1876-1868); "The Photographic Times" (1871, 1877); Anthony's "Photographic Bulletin" (1874); "The Photographic Journal", the "Journal of the Photographic Society" (1859-1867); indexes of the latter publication for the years 1859 and 1860; and George Taylor's copy of "The Painter, Gilder and Varnisher's Companion," published in 1868.

Also included are a pass issued in 1863 by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur H. Gordon to George Taylor granting him the authority to take photographs throughout the province; a letter to Taylor (1911) regarding a fire insurance policy; transcriptions of extracts of notices published in "The Sentinel and New Brunswick General Advertiser" (1939) relating to the Bank of British North America, the Bank of New Brunswick, and the Commercial Bank of New Brunswick; and a transcription of an extract of Edmund Ward's account of his 1839 tour through northern and eastern New Brunswick.

Lastly, the fonds contains a watercolour depicting hunters at a campsite, possibly by George T. Taylor, and more than 913 photographs or negatives taken by or credited to George T. Taylor. Photographs that may have been taken by a photographer other than George Taylor have been identified. Many of Taylor's photographs are of Fredericton and area (Oromocto, Marysville, Devon) landmarks, street scenes, commercial enterprises, residences, and special events. There are photographs of businesses, residences, scenes, and landscapes taken in the Grand Falls, Boiestown, Edmundston, and Tobique areas, as well as in other communities in the province. Also included are portrait photographs, photos of Taylor family members, and shots of construction sites (bridges and railways) and steamboats on the lower St. John River. The photographs are located in P5.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The pass issued by Lieutenant-Governor Arthur H. Gordon to George Taylor in 1863 was donated by Fred Phillips on 5 February 1969. All negatives and slides were donated by Lord Beaverbrook. The source of the remaining records is unknown.


Language of material

  • English

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No restrictions

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Finding aids

A listing of George T. Taylor's photographs is located in P5.

Associated materials

Diaries of Fannie, Annie, and Nell Taylor, the daughters of George T. and Mary Taylor, as well as other family records are located in MC1568 Taylor family fonds. Other records relating to George T. Taylor are in MC300 York-Sunbury Historical Society collection (MS84).

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