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Robert S. Taylor papers

Identifier: L563

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence and papers from Robert S. Taylor in Indiana, ranging from 1860 to 1918 with the bulk of the materials covering the 1870s-1910s. The papers mostly consist of Taylor’s legal correspondence with an emphasis on his patent cases. Among these materials is correspondence regarding patent cases involving the Fort Wayne Electric Company, Westinghouse, General Electric, American Bell Telephone Company, and various other companies and utilities. The correspondence of his cases in the Fort Wayne area includes such topics as contracts, property, and civil suits. There is much correspondence regarding the work of the ABA Committee on Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law, especially its efforts to create a Court of Patent Appeals. Also included here are Taylor’s correspondence on Republican Party politics, the Mississippi River Commission, and his work as a trustee of Wabash College. There is also a small, but significant amount of personal correspondence sprinkled throughout the collection.

The letter books, the first twenty-five volumes, mainly consist of legal correspondence, ranging from 1868 to 1915. There is also one volume of political correspondence and one volume of reports for the Mississippi River Commission (V466).

There is also one oversize folder containing two letters and one map, circa 1886-1918 (B077).

Correspondents include Jane Addams, George Ade, Conrad Baker, Albert J. Beveridge, Charles J. Bonaparte, J.C. Burrows, Schuyler Colfax, Shelby M. Cullom, Edward Denby, Henry W. Diederich, Charles W. Fairbanks, Frederick P. Fish, William Dudley Foulke, Lindley M. Garrison, Newton Gilbert, James P. Goodrich, Walter Q. Gresham, J. Frank Hanley, Judson Harmon, President Benjamin Harrison, Elwood Haynes, James A. Hemenway, Merica Hoagland, Samuel Insull, William G. Irwin, John Worth Kern, Frederick Landis, Harry G. Leslie, Henry Cabot Lodge, Frank Lowden, Louis Ludlow, Thomas R. Marshall, William H.H. Miller, W.H. Moody, Edward Moseley, Harry S. New, John C. New, Richard Olney, Benjamin Parker, George F. Peabody, Daniel D. Pratt, Redfield Proctor, John Sherman, Clement Studebaker, John Studebaker, William Sulzer, President William Howard Taft, Frank L.O. Wadsworth, Lew Wallace, Booker T. Washington, James E. Watson, William W. Woollen.


  • 1860-1918, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Robert Stewart Taylor was born May 22, 1838 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He moved to Jay County, Indiana in 1844. Taylor attended Liber College in Portland, Indiana and graduated in 1858. After graduation, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1860. Taylor married Fanny W. Wright in 1858 and they had one son, Frank. The family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1859 where they settled for the duration of their lives.

Taylor was an attorney in Fort Wayne from 1860 to 1918 in patent law. He was the prosecuting attorney for the Allen County Criminal Court in 1867 and a judge of the Court of Pleas in Allen County from 1867 to 1870. Taylor made an attempt at a political career where he was first elected, as a Republican, to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1871-1872. He was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1874 and 1880. Taylor was a member of the U.S. Mississippi River Commission from 1881 t0 1914. He was the chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Patents, Trademark, and Copyright Law in 1909; and a trustee of Wabash College. Taylor passed away on January 28, 1918 in Fort Wayne.


Pumroy, Eric and Paul Brockman. A Guide to Manuscript Collections of the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana State Library. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1986.

Shepherd, Rebecca, A., ed. A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, 1816-1899. Vol. 1. Indianapolis: The Select Committee on the Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly and the Indiana Historical Bureau, 1980.


22 Cubic Feet (42 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize folder, 27 volumes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence and papers, 1860-1918, undated

Series 2: Letterbooks, 1868-1915

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donations from Frank B. Taylor in 1929/11 and by Holman Hamilton on 1947/11/05.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2001 by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. EAD finding aid created in 2001 by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. EAD finding aid revised 2011/03 by Treva L. Nally. EAD finding aid revised 2020/10/22 by Brittany Kropf.
Robert S. Taylor papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.