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William Sentam Taylor papers

Identifier: CA-MS-01154

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the professional and personal files of William Sentam Taylor and Phoebe (Smith) Taylor. These include William Taylor’s professional correspondence, publications, speeches and manuscripts. The collection also includes documents on his activities outside Smith as a member of various groups concerned with political freedom and democracy, including correspondence, letters to various newspapers, membership cards, and brochures and pamphlets published by the various organizations. The collection also contains the papers of Phoebe Taylor, including articles about her career and life, her published works, and professional and personal correspondence.


  • 1920 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections ( at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

William Sentam Taylor spent his childhood in a Presbyterian Manse. He earned his B.A. in 1916 at Gettysburg College in psychology and then in 1921, after taking some time off school to teach at Gettysburg and to work in the US Navy Reserve Medical Corps at the Naval Prison of Deer Island, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University. Before coming to Smith College as professor of psychology in 1926, Taylor taught at Bryn Mawr (1921-1922), the University of Wisconsin (1922-1923) and the University of Maine (1923-1926). While teaching at Smith, Taylor was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the American Psychopathological Association, the American Board of Examiners in Psychological Hypnosis and the Massachusetts Board of Certification in Psychology. He wrote a number of articles on abnormal psychology, mental hygiene, and hypnosis, but his greatest works were Dynamic and Abnormal Psychology (1954) and The Human Course: Collected Thoughts for Living (1974), which he published with his wife. Taylor also taught as a visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Massachusetts, before retiring from Smith in 1962. He died in 1976. Phoebe (Smith) Taylor, wife of William S. Taylor, was born in Eau Claire Wisconsin in 1895 to Edward and Sarah (Gallett) Smith. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in English. Mrs. Taylor’s work covered a wide range of creative endeavors, from sculpting bas-relief portraits of professors in the 1930’s and 40’s to the huge volume of articles she wrote during her life, largely on education and New England History. She was a member of the Round Hill Club and was president of the Smith College Faculty Wives. She had two daughters with William Taylor, Cicely Taylor Buckley, and Phoebe Taylor Lansdale, as well as five grandchildren at the time of her death. She died in Northampton Nursing Home in 1993.


1.771 linear feet (5 containers)


William Sentam Taylor was a professor of psychology at Smith College. The collection contains the publications, correspondence, manuscripts, memorabilia, and news clippings of William and his wife, Phoebe (Smith) Taylor.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.
Finding aid to the William Sentam Taylor papers.
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White
Description rules

Revision Statements

  • 2019-07-18: Added legacy finding aid from word document, updated to conform to current standards

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063