restricted access 2: Walter Willard Taylor Jr.: A Biographical Sketch and Bibliography
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57 Walter Willard Taylor Jr. was born to Walter Sr. and Marjorie Wells Taylor in Chicago, Illinois, on October 17, 1913, amidst a three-day spell of unseasonably warm weather.1 Record high temperatures were set on both October 17 (86°F) and 18 (87°F). Those who would look for omens or portents in the weather at the time of Taylor’s birth might view these high temperatures as indicators of the heat to come following the 1948 publication of A Study of Archeology. But on October 17, the howls of distress came only from Walter Jr., perhaps not unlike the reactions from those he criticized some thirty-five years later. Taylor was seven or eight years old when his family moved to 10 Deer Park Court, Greenwich, Connecticut, from which Walter Sr. had an easy commute to Wall Street via the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. Taylor’s father, a bond broker, relocated his office in 1932 to one of New York City’s premier Art Deco skyscrapers—the Irving Trust Company Building, as it was then known, at One Wall Street. Taylor’s parents enrolled him at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Con­ necticut—about eighty-five miles north of Greenwich—from which he graduated in 1931. Shortly after his matriculation in the fall of 1927, Walt published his first article—“Lucky Thirteen” in Hunting and Fishing Magazine (Fig. 2.1). Walter Willard Taylor Jr. A Biographical Sketch and Bibliography Chapter two Jonathan E. Reyman 2.1 Cover page of the October 1927 issue of Hunting and Fishing Magazine, in which Taylor published his first article,“Lucky Thirteen.” 59 Walter Willard Taylor Jr. His account of an early, perhaps his first, hunting experience, “Lucky Thirteen” was always listed in his curriculum vitae. It is also the only publication for which Jr. appears after his name. All his professional publications were as Walter W. Taylor. As Kennedy (this volume) notes, Taylor was immersed at Hotchkiss in a wide variety of extracurricular activities that took time away from his academic studies. Some, such as music and drama, remained important through much of his life: Taylor learned to play the Spanish guitar and became expert at it, and he was heavily involved with theater in Santa Fe and Mexico. Hunting and fishing were also important until late in his life when he became physically unable to pursue them. Taylor especially enjoyed hunting ducks and quail, loved fly-­ fishing, and excelled at all of them. Unlike many hunters and fishermen among his contemporaries, Walt was not a trophy seeker: he ate what he hunted and caught, and he often invited guests to share the food he meticulously prepared. Cooking was another longtime interest, as were fine wines. Walt was an excellent cook and an oenophile with an outstanding, well-stocked cellar. He enjoyed beer and brewed his own during his years in Santa Fe. One prominent memory remains from the fall of 1968: shortly after arriving in Santa Fe to study with Taylor in his library, I walked into the house one morning with Tom Holien (his graduate research assistant) and Barbara Peckham (his secretary). We were greeted by air redolent with the odor of stale beer. Hundreds of bottles of newly capped home brew had exploded the night before, shattering glass and spewing liquid throughout the brewing room where they were resting. Apparently, the fermenting process continued after bottling, and they blew up from the pressure . One almost became intoxicated from the fumes that lingered. Another beer-related recollection is that in 1971–1972, Taylor had fresh oysters flown in from the East Coast and for several days running feasted on raw oysters and beer for breakfast. As a sportsman, Taylor was a participant, not a spectator. His father took him fly-fishing for salmon in Scandinavia and taught him to hunt, triggering lifetime passions. At Hotchkiss, Taylor may have learned to play lacrosse and probably began to play squash. The latter became a lifelong interest; he was a fine squash player who remained active until well into his sixties when an Achilles tendon problem ended his play. ProbablyshortlyaftergraduationfromHotchkiss,Taylor,byhisownaccount, rode the rails at age seventeen—“hoboing”—to the Southwest. It was never clear to me whether this was an adventure, an act of teenage rebellion, or both, but upon his return from the Southwest, he entered Yale University. Walt’s goal was Harvard, but his father, a Yale graduate,“persuaded”Walt to enroll at Yale where...


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Subject Headings

  • Taylor, Walter W. (Walter Willard).
  • Archaeology -- United States -- History.
  • Archaeologists -- United States -- Biography.
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