The Info List - Archer Taylor

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Archer Taylor (August 1, 1890 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a seminal proverb and riddle scholar and folklorist. He enrolled at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, graduating with the BA and MA in German by 1912. He then taught German at Pennsylvania State College. He went on to Harvard University, receiving his Ph.D. degree in German with a dissertation on the fairy tale motifs in the Wolfdietrich
epics. At Harvard, he studied under such famous scholars as Kuno Francke, George Lyman Kittredge, John Albrecht Walz, Hans Carl Gunther von Jagemann, William Henry Schofield, Charles Hall Grandgent, and F.N. Robinson. From them he developed interest in such fields as German literature, Germanic philology, Scandinavian studies, Romance languages, Celtic and, folklore in general. In 1915 Taylor began teaching German at Washington University in St. Louis, eventually being promoted to professor. He moved to the University of Chicago in 1925. By 1927 Taylor had become the Chairman of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. He married his childhood sweetheart Alice Jones on September 9, 1915 and they had three children. He lost her June 16, 1930, while they lived in Chicago. He later married Dr. Hasseltine Byrd, who became his second wife on June 17, 1932. They had two children. In 1939, they moved to California where he served as Professor of German Literature and Folklore at the University of California at Berkeley, as Chairman of the Department from 1940 to 1945. While in California, they built a home in the Napa Valley, where they hosted many folklorists. While in California, he worked as a journal editor, for California Folklore Quarterly (which he helped found) (now Western Folklore) and the Journal of American Folklore. In 1965, Archer worked with his Finnish friend Matti Kuusi
Matti Kuusi
to establish the journal Proverbium. His publications were numerous, included work in medieval literature, philology, folklore, bibliography, etc., eventually totalling over four hundred books, monographs, articles and notes in America and Europe. His most famous work was The Proverb
(Cambridge, MA 1931), which contains his most famous quote, "the definition of a proverb is too difficult to repay the undertaking... An incommunicable quality tells us this sentence is proverbial and that is not" (The Proverb p. 3). Though Taylor's contribution to the studies of proverbs is better known, his contribution to the studies of riddles is also significant. " Archer Taylor ... among modern folklorists has contributed most to riddle scholarship."[1] Taylor died on September 30, 1973.


1 Honors 2 Bibliography 3 References 4 External links

Honors[edit] In 1960 Taylor was honored by a Festschrift Humaniora. Essays in Literature, Folklore, Bibliography. Honoring Archer Taylor on His Seventieth Birthday (Locust Valley, New York 1960), edited by his friends Wayland D. Hand and Gustave O. Arlt. At the annual meetings of the Western States Folklore Society, which he helped found, there is an invited lecture in the Archer Taylor Lecture Series. Bibliography[edit]

Mieder, Wolfgang. 1987. Seven overlooked paremiological publications by Archer Taylor. Proverbium 6: 187-190. Taylor, Archer. 1975. Selected Writings on Proverbs by Archer Taylor. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia. Taylor, Archer. 1931. The Proverb. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


^ Georges, Robert and Alan Dundes. 1963. Toward a Structural Definition of the Riddle. The Journal of American Folklore vol. 76, no. 300: 111-118.

External links[edit]

[1] Biography from California Works by Archer Taylor at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Archer Taylor at Internet Archive

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 49251338 LCCN: n80065596 ISNI: 0000 0001 0898 5471 GND: 117248606 SUDOC: 029181771 BNF: cb12086207h (data) BIBSYS: 9079