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Andrew Taylor fonds: Home

Andrew Taylor:

Call Number: Mss 108, Pc 110, Mc 1 (A.93-89)

Title: Andrew Taylor fonds.

Dates: 1615-1993, predominant 1907-1993.

Extent: 7.92 m of textual records and other material.

Biographical sketch: Andrew Taylor, B.Sc. (C.E.), M.A., Ph.D, D.Sc., O.C., (1907-1993) was a polar explorer. An immigrant to Canada from Edinburgh, Taylor earned his engineering degree from the University of Manitoba in 1931. Upon graduation, he landed a job as a Provincial Surveyor. Taylor moved to Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1933 becoming the Town Engineer. It was here that Taylor met his future wife, Martha Porter, whom he married in 1939. After the death of his wife in 1963, he married Pauline Hanson, who died in 1979. With the outbreak of war, Taylor joined the Canadian Army and travelled to the United Kingdom. However, in 1943, he was transferred from the Canadian Army to the British Navy as part of a secret mission. The initial name of the mission, "Naval Project 475", was changed to "Operation Tabarin." Within this mission, he sailed to the Antarctic, where he remained for two years. The project then underwent a second name change becoming known by the moniker of "The Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey." Taylor himself, recruited because of his cold weather surveying experience, later became leader of the expedition. He earned the distinction of being the only Canadian to have ever commanded an expedition in the Antarctic. In 1946, upon his return from the Antarctic, Taylor received a promotion to Major and a posting in the Canadian Army, specifically to the Direcorate of Engineering Development in Ottawa. Once there, he was immediately recruited into the role of observer on an American/Canadian weather station reconnassaince venture called "US Naval Task Force 68."  As part of this expedition, Taylor travelled in and around the Queen Elizabeth Islands, the northernmost reaches of the Canadian Arctic. During this tenure at the Directorate, Taylor was appointed to the Canadian Committe of the International Geographic Union (1947) and the Soil and Snow Mechanics Committee, National Research Council (1949).

In 1950, Taylor enrolled at the Institute of Geography of the University of Montreal. There, he undertook and completed the required course work for both an M.A. and a Ph.D. Following the year in Montreal, Taylor returned to the Directorate of Engineer Development in Ottawa, where he worked ostensibly on cold weather testing of military equipment in close cooperation with the U.S. Corps of Engineers Research and Development Labratories at Fort Belvoir, Vermont. In conjunction with this work, Taylor joined the Snow, Ice and Permafrost Research Establishment (S.I.P.R.E.) [sic], where he developed an expertise in the compaction of snow for employment in roads, airstrips and other high pressure uses. Taylor retired from the Army in October 1952. He struck out on his own as a private research contractor, receiving an important contract from the Geography Branch of the U.S. Navy to produce what ultimately developed into his Ph.D. dissertation. In 1956, he was awarded a second contract, this time from the U.S. Air Force as an assistant project engineer, working out of Churchill, Manitoba. He was responsible for the preparation of Distant Early Warning (D.E.W.) Line station layouts.

With the completion of his American contracts, Taylor found himself preparing feasibility reports for mining companies. From here, he opened his own engineering consulting firm, based jointly in Ottawa and Winnipeg. Taylor's final professional endeavour was that of joint proprietor of the Antiquarian Book and Art Gallery.

Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by the Estate of Andrew Taylor in 1993.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of eight series: Taylor's personal life, his time in the Antarctic (Operation Tabarin), his time in the Queen Elizabeth Islands (US Naval Task Force 68), his career as a practising engineer, general correspondence, Taylor's popular writing career, maps, and photographs.  The photograph collection consists of 1269 black-and-white photographs, 27 colour photographs, 447 negatives, 267 slides, 77 glass slides, 5 contact sheets, and 6 postcards.  The map collection consists of 44 maps, 23 plans, 26 drawings, and 2 blueprints.

Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.

Accruals: No further accruals are expected.

Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available in the Archives reading room and an on-line finding aid is available at the link below:

MSS 108, PC 110, MC 1 (A.93-89).


Digitized Material

Andrew Taylor Digital Collection 

The Arctic Blue Books and Index