The papers of Lloyd William and Esther Bliss Taylor document their involvement in numerous professional and private organizations. Additionally, the papers reflect their views on temperance, belief in Christianity, and their political and social opinions. The collection is divided into two subgroups, the papers of Lloyd William Taylor, and the papers of Esther Bliss Taylor.
Subgroup I contains the papers of William Lloyd Taylor from 1921 to 1952. The bulk of the materials are present in the correspondence series. The correspondence series contains two subseries, general correspondence and letters of recommendation. General correspondence chronicles Taylor's role as physicist, educator, and major campus figure. Notable correspondents include Nobel prize winners Robert Andrews Millikan (1868-1953) and Arthur H. Compton (1892-1962). The correspondence is particularly rich in discussing the affairs of the department of physics. Campus correspondents include C. N. Cole (Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences), Karl F. Geiser, Carl E. Howe, Oscar Jaszi, and various campus committees. Taylor's professional activities are documented in correspondence with the American Association of Physics Teachers, 1931-1940, and with numerous publishing houses and scientific equipment manufacturers. Letters of Recommendation contains copies of letters written by Taylor in support of former students applying for graduate assistantships and employment. The letters offer rich documentation of the quality of physics graduates during Taylor's tenure.
The series writings and talks, 1921-1947 contains several of Taylor's chapel talks as well as articles on physics and teaching. The writings and talks offer keen insight into the politics and morals of Lloyd W. Taylor. Two typescript manuscripts, "The Domain of Science" (1932) and "The Untold Story of the Telephone" (1933) are included in this series as well as correspondence relating to inventor Elisha Gray (1835-1901) and the Elisha Gray Historical Society.
The materials relating to the Oberlin College Physics Department and instructional materials, Series 4, c. 1930s-1952, document the internal operation of the department and the courses taught by Taylor and other Physics instructors.
The papers of Esther Bliss Taylor found in subgroup II largely document her role in the local temperance movement. Esther Bliss Taylor was active at the national, state, and local level in the fight for temperance and prohibition. She belonged to the National Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Ohio WCTU as well as the Lorain County WCTU and Oberlin WCTU. The Taylor collection documents her activities at all of these levels.
The bulk of the collection consists of temperance publications, 1920-1975, in the form of pamphlets and booklets. The publications were distributed to local schools, churches, and organizations as part of the educational mission of the WCTU. Topics cover several aspects of alcohol, alcoholism, prohibition and temperance. Related materials include narcotics, smoking, and gambling. National and state WCTU publications are also contained in this records series and include several volumes of The White Ribbon Bulletin (1956-1963), the Ohio Messenger (1965-1976), and The Ohio Issue (1965-1969).
Particularly strong are the records pertaining to the Lorain County WCTU and the Oberlin WCTU. Esther Bliss Taylor served as an officer in both of these organizations. The Lorain County WCTU material includes yearbooks, 1942-1961, directories, 1942-1964, correspondence and minutes, 1920-1962, and biographical information on Susan Hinman (1867-1952), president of the Lorain WCTU, and an Oberlin College graduate (A.B. 1893, M.A. 1918). Records of the Oberlin WCTU document the organization from 1904 to 1975. Esther Bliss Taylor served as president from 1946 to 1976. Records include programs, 1904-1975; correspondence, 1943-1974; membership lists, 1945-46; and documents from the 1959 Oberlin local option ballot in which alcohol sales were banned in Oberlin by a two-to-one margin.