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COLLECTION Identifier: A-86

Papers of Marion Taylor, 1912-1960 (inclusive), 1912-1940 (bulk)


Transcripts of diaries, writings, correspondence, etc., of Marion Taylor, pseudonym of Dorothy Sherman Pencharz, professor.


  • 1912-1960
  • Majority of material found within 1912-1940

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Marion Taylor (Dorothy Sherman Pencharz) is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.42 linear feet (1 file box)

The bulk of these papers are manuscript or typed transcriptions of Marion Taylor's diaries for 1912-1922, with a few excerpts from later ones (1926-1939). The diaries and some of her writings were collected and edited by Gordon Willard Allport (1897-1967), professor of psychology at Harvard University, who used them to trace the psychological development of a young person and to analyze diaries as a genre. It was Allport who gave Dorothy Pencharz her pseudonym, so that he could use her writings during her lifetime. It is not clear how he learned of the diaries or obtained access to them; there are only fragments of a correspondence between him and Marion Taylor from the late 1930s.

Taylor's letters to Allport are filled with lengthy comments on the diaries and reflections on her own personality and life. The diaries and writings themselves reveal the secret emotional life of a sensitive, self-conscious, articulate adolescent; while they discuss the usual daily activities and interests of a growing girl, most of them center on her affection for one of her teachers. The entries are often in the form of "letters she never sent" or "letters she never received."

At Allport's request, Taylor asked her mother and a few old friends and associates to record their impressions and memories of her (see #22). Allport annotated both the diaries and these letters, and wrote long, but in some cases unfinished, analytical essays on the material. His work may have been intended for publication or for use in his classes, or both; at any rate, it seems to have remained incomplete.

The papers have been arranged in the following groups: correspondence about Taylor's papers; Taylor's diaries; Taylor's writings and related papers; writings by others; Allport's analyses; clippings.


Marion Taylor was the pseudonym of Dorothy (Sherman) Pencharz, who was born in Illinois in 1902. In 1908 her family moved to California, where her parents were divorced in 1912. In 1914, with her mother and her sister, she settled in Glendale, where she attended school until 1920. She entered a two-year teachers' program at UCLA and in 1924 resumed her education at the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned an A.B. in psychology in 1926 and an M.A. in zoology in 1929. After graduation she obtained a teaching position in psychology and biology at Marin Junior College. She married Richard Pencharz in 1933, and remained at Marin Junior College until her retirement in 1958. She died a year later.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 78-M71

The Dorothy Sherman Pencharz (i.e., Marion Taylor) papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in April 1978 by Ardys Allport.


The following items have been removed from the collection and discarded, January 1981:

  1. Carbon copies and xeroxes of Marion Taylor's diaries and Gordon Willard Allport's notes and essays, about one half of a box. All duplicate material.

Processing Information

Processed: January 1981

By: Leigh Giurlando

Taylor, Marion, 1902-1959. Papers of Marion Taylor, 1912-1960 (inclusive), 1912-1940 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
The collection was processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-0051-71-1260).

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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