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Ernest Taylor Papers

Identifier: Ms 201

Scope and Content

The collection includes Taylor's correspondence, dated from 1952 to 1962. The letters describe efforts by Taylor and others regarding Corkscrew Swamp, and detail the steps that resulted in its preservation. The correspondence includes a large number of letters to and from E. O. Frye of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission; John Baker, President of the National Audubon Society; and Bill Piper of the Everglades Wonder Gardens. The correspondence is arranged chronologically according to month and year, although there is one folder of correspondence that spans 1958-1962.

Taylor's papers include multiple versions of his manuscript, "The Trek." The paper was edited many times to accommodate various publications or venues for presentation. In addition to "The Trek," there are several other writings by Taylor, news clippings, articles by other authors about Corkscrew Swamp, maps of the region, and transcripts of radio interviews in which Taylor discusses the swamp.

Taylor's slide presentation of "The Trek," as well as other photographs of the Corkscrew Swamp region, are included with the papers. The photos and slides show the flora and fauna in Corkscrew Swamp circa 1952-1954, document the first meetings to preserve the swamp, and show the opening of the resulting park in 1956.

The collection also includes biographical information, notes, and correspondence created by Ernest Taylor's son, Frank Taylor, and other family members. The most recent of these papers were created in 2006. The bulk of the collection, however, consists of materials created by Ernest Taylor between 1952 and 1962.


  • Creation: 1952-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1952-1962



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ernest A. Taylor was born on September 12, 1886 and moved to Florida in 1925. Although his formal education ended in the 8th grade Taylor became an engineer and worked to build various roads and bridges in Florida, including the Tamiami Trail. After he experienced heart problems that nearly claimed his life he was forced to retire. Taylor was widely known in Florida as an avid naturalist and herpetologist, and in 1952 he was contacted by three men from Illinois who were interested in seeing the Big Cypress Swamp. Taylor and the men explored the region known as Corkscrew Swamp in June 1952, a trip that he later referred to as "The Trek."

Following the 1952 trip, Taylor began to actively pursue the preservation of the Corkscrew Swamp. Over the next three years Taylor wrote hundreds of letters to various individuals and government agencies. He also gave a photographic slide presentation about Corkscrew Swamp and "The Trek" to numerous individuals and organizations. In 1953 he led a second trek to Corkscrew Swamp and nearby Bonita Springs. He eventually was successful in sparking greater interest in preserving the swamp and by 1955 the Audubon Society had purchased thousands of acres for preservation. Despite his efforts, Taylor received little credit for his work in creating the preserve. He passed away on December 12, 1964.


1.5 Linear feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Largely pertaining to Taylor's work on the preservation of Corkscrew Swamp near Naples, Florida, the collection includes correspondence, photographs, slides (with descriptions), maps, and various manuscripts, including "The Trek."

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 2006 by Ernest Taylor's son, Frank Taylor of Gainesville.

Alternative Format Available

The photographic slides in box 4 were digitized in 2006 by the UF Digital Library Center and are available on DVD and online in the UF Digital Collections. Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the Ernest Taylor Papers
Finding aid created by Alexandra Rudnick
August 2006
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America