Albert R. Taylor

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Taylor, Albert R., 1846-1929.
Albert R. Taylor
1.0 Linear feet

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Biographical Note

Albert R. Taylor was born on October 16, 1864 in Magnolia, Illinois. His parents were Jonathan Taylor and Mary Ann Mills. Taylor attended the Illinois State Normal School in Bloomington, Illinois beginning in 1864. After attending for two terms he then attended Wenona Seminary in Wenona, Illinois briefly before leaving to pursue a mercantile career. After a few years of various jobs Taylor makes the decision to return to school. In 1869 he attends Knox College for a few terms before transferring to Lincoln University where he would graduate in 1872. After graduation, Taylor accepted a position as a professor and chair of natural science at Lincoln University. He married Minerva Dent on October 16, 1873. They had two daughters, Jessie Minerva who was born on November 5, 1874 and Kittie Mary who was born on July 14, 1879. In 1882 Taylor would receive his Ph.D from Lincoln University.

The Kansas Board of Regents chose Taylor to replace President Rudolph B. Welch in 1882. Taylor would hold the position of president for 19 years, longer than any other president up to that point. His administration would oversee many changes to the school. Some of the first changes that were implemented were to the administrative procedures in order to increase the efficiency of management. A few years after coming to the Kansas State Normal School, President Taylor eliminated the common school course beginning with the 1884-85 academic year. The common school course was a two year course that was designed for teachers who planned on teaching in rural schools. However, many of the teachers graduating from the program went on to accept positions in high schools, and even principalships. In an effort to produce high quality teachers, Taylor believed that the standards of teacher training should be raised. Another decision by President Taylor in an effort to expand the student population was to offer reimbursement for students who travelled over 100 miles to attend the Kansas State Normal School. The reimbursement attracted students from outside of the immediate Emporia area. President Taylor secured a $25,000 appropriation for a wing addition from the Kansas State Legislature in 1887. The first summer school was started during his administration in 1891. The Spanish American War broke out during Taylor’s administration and over 30% of those enlisted from Kansas were school teachers which greatly affected the population of the Kansas Normal School. President Taylor’s administration also saw the first African-American graduates from the Kansas State Normal School in 1899. President Taylor would preside over the Kansas Normal School until resigning in 1901.

Albert Taylor resigned from the Kansas State Normal School to accept the presidency of James Milliken University in Decatur, Illinois. Taylor held the presidency at James Milliken University from 1901 until 1913. Between 1913 and 1915 he and his wife spent time travelling the United States. In 1915 Taylor was called back to James Milliken University to serve as the president, a position that he held until 1920. In 1913, Mrs. Milliken willed the Milliken home in Decatur, Illinois to be used for the purpose of art education. In 1919 the Decatur Institute of Civic Arts opened in the house. Taylor would hold the position of President of the Institute of Civic Arts for many years, and President Emeritus until 1929.

In addition to a distinguished career in higher education, Albert R. Taylor also authored several books. The first book Taylor published was The Church at Work in the Sunday-School, in 1892. This was an educational guide for Sunday-school workers and pastors. Six years later, in 1898, Taylor published The Study of the Child a book about the developmental psychology of children with educational advice for parents and teachers. That same year he co-authored Apple Blossoms and Other Stories with Edmund Stanley which was a textbook for Kansas public schools. Taylor and Lyman B. Kellogg wrote The Government of the State and Nation a textbook to be used in Kansas schools in 1900. In 1912 Albert Taylor published Among Ourselves which was designed to be a “conversation” between educators and administrators. Albert R. Taylor’s final book was his autobiography, which was in 1929.

Albert Reynolds Taylor died on August 11, 1929 in Decatur, Illinois. He is buried in Maplewood Memorial Cemetery in Emporia, Kansas.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Kansas State Normal School- President.

Personal Name(s)

  • Taylor, Albert R., 1846-1929.

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