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A Guide to the Ernest Taylor Papers

Finding aid created by Alexandra Rudnick

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2006

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Taylor, Ernest A.
Title: Ernest Taylor Papers
Dates: 1952-2006
Bulk dates: 1952-1962
Abstract: 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."
Extent: 1.5 Linear feet. 4 boxes.
Identification: Ms 201
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

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.

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.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ernest Taylor Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

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

Contents List


1 Correspondence. May-June 1952
1 Correspondence. July 1952
1 Correspondence. August 1952
1 Correspondence. September-October 1952
1 Correspondence. November-December 1952
1 Correspondence. January 1953
1 Correspondence. February 1953
1 Correspondence. March 1953
1 Correspondence. April 1953
1 Correspondence. May-June 1953
1 Correspondence. July-August 1953
1 Correspondence. September 1953
2 Correspondence. October 1953
2 Correspondence. November-December 1953
2 Correspondence. January-February 1954
2 Correspondence. March-April 1954
2 Correspondence. May-June 1954
2 Correspondence. July-August 1954
2 Correspondence. September-October 1954
2 Correspondence. November-December 1954
2 Correspondence. January-March 1955
2 Correspondence. April-June 1955
2 Correspondence. 1958-1962
2 Family correspondence regarding Ernest Taylor (including notes on "The Trek"). 2000-2006
2 Letter From Ernest A. Taylor to "My Dear Children" Describing His Trip into Big Cypress/ Corkscrew Swamp. 1952

Articles, Writings, and Reference Material

3 Articles and Reference Material on Corkscrew Swamp. 1954-1958
3 "Background to Corkscrew Swamp" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. July 1952
3 "A Condensed Account of The Trek into Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County, Florida" by Ernest A. Taylor. 1954
3 "Corkscrew Swamp" by Ernest A. Taylor, article in Professional Engineer (vol. 39, No. 2). 1954
3 "Corkscrew Swamp" (Tampa Sunday Tribune). 1954
3 "The Corkscrew Swamp" (typescript). Not dated
3 "The Corkscrew Swamp: A Story of the Trek into Collier County, Florida" (Two versions: one in prose form, the other in question/answer form). Not dated
3 "The Corkscrew Swamp: The story of the Trek in Collier, County, A Magnificent Forest" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 "Going, Going... But Not Yet Gone!" by Ernest A. Taylor, article in Florida Wildlife (vol. 6, No. 12). 1953
3 "Life or Death of a Cypress Swamp" (typescript) by Jeanne Van Holmes. 1954
3 "Nature Trails" (WDAE radio interview with Ernest A. Taylor) Transcript. 1953
3 News Clippings. 1952-1979
3 "Recreational Possibilities Incidental to Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County". 1952
3 "Second Trek to Corkscrew Swamp and Bonita Springs Friday, March 6 to Wednesday, March 11, 1953" (typescript). Not dated
3 "The Trek: A Condensed Narrative of a Visit to the Big Cypress Swamp and Specifically the Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County, Florida." (Maj. Hilton Crowe interview of Ernest A. Taylor on WDAE). 1952
3 "The Trek into The Big Cypress Swamp, Lee and Collier Counties, Florida, June 25-June 29, 1952" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 "The Trek into Corkscrew Swamp: Outstanding Steps in the History of the Project" (includes notes). 1954
3 "The Trek Into the Corkscrew Swamp" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 "The Trek Into the Great Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County" by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 "The Trek to Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County Florida" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 "The Trek to Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County Florida" (typescript) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated
3 Various "Reptile" related articles (typescripts) by Ernest A. Taylor. Not dated

Photographs and Presentation Materials

4 Slides for "The Trek" in 1952, a 1954 meeting to transfer the swamp to Audubon, and 1956 images of the boardwalk (Digital versions of the slides are available on DVD and online in the UF Digital Collections.). 1952-1956
4 "The Trek" Color Photos (numbered and keyed to note cards for presentation). Not dated
4 B/W Photo Presentation on Corkscrew Swamp (keyed by number to note cards). Not dated
4 Corkscrew Swamp Slide Presentation (no slides included) or Walking Tour. 1956
4 Note card presentation on "The Trek". Not dated
4 Original Note Cards for "The Trek" (associated with color prints from slides). Not dated
4 Photographs of Cypress Harvesting. 1953-1954
4 Photographs of People Attending 1954 Meeting to Preserve Corkscrew Swamp. 1954
4 Photos regarding Bill Piper's Farm, Everglades Wonder Gardens, Corey Osceola's Camp. 1952-1953
4 Photos regarding Herpetology, Snakes, Wildlife. Not dated


The maps were housed originally with the correspondence, but were removed, flattened and stored in a map case drawer.

Oversized map: three copies of a map of "Lee Tidewater Cypress Co.: Corkscrew Area"; Sketch copied by Ernest A. Taylor. 1953
Oversized map: Collier County, Florida 1941-1942 edition, with Corkscrew area highlighted.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Big Cypress Swamp (Fla.)
Collier County (Fla.) -- History.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (Fla.)
Florida. Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
Herpetology -- Florida.
National Audubon Society.
Nature conservation -- Florida.
Wildlife refuges -- Florida.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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