TAYLOR, BRIDE NEILL (1858–1937). Bride Neill Taylor, author, teacher, and civic leader, was born in Peoria, Illinois, on January 12, 1858, the daughter of Judge James and Julia Walsh Neill. She moved with her family to Austin in 1871 and was educated in private institutions there, including several convent schools. She then studied at Nazareth Academy in Kentucky, graduating in 1876. In April 1880 she married Thomas Frederick Taylor, a civil servant who had been transferred from Washington, D.C., to Austin in 1877. Shortly after their marriage, his work took him back to Washington and there Bride Neill Taylor pursued a career as a journalist, working as an art and drama critic and society editor for the Washington Sun Capitol and getting to know other critics across the country. In 1881, when President James A. Garfield was assassinated, Taylor sent reports of the event back to Austin and subsequently became the Washington correspondent for the Austin Statesman (now Austin American-Statesman). In 1883, when Bride's mother became ill, the Taylors returned to Texas. That same year Bride enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin to earn her teaching credentials. She then taught for four years in the Austin public schools. She also continued her writing career in Austin, publishing short stories, literary reviews in newspapers, and longer pieces. In 1893 two articles by Taylor, entitled "Women Writers of Texas," appeared in the Galveston Daily News. Her best-known works were "When Hester Came," a short story that appeared in Lippincott's magazine in 1893; "On Account of Emmanuel," which Century magazine published in 1895; and a book-length biography of her friend Elisabet Ney that appeared in 1916. Although most of Taylor's newspaper articles were unattributed, she continued her work as a journalist until her death in 1937.
Taylor was also involved in civic and religious work in Austin. A devout Catholic, she was instrumental in the founding of Seton Infirmary, St. Vincent's Aid Society, St. Austin's Chapel, and the Newman Club at the University of Texas, as well as mission churches for members of Austin's minority communities. Her interest in opportunities and education for women led her to found the American History Club of Austin, one of the earliest women's clubs in the state, and the Austin Women's Club. She was one of the organizers of the Texas Fine Arts Association and was an early member of the Texas Woman's Press Association (now Texas Press Womenqv). Taylor was one of three women present at the organizational meeting of theTexas State Historical Association in 1897 and was appointed to its executive council in 1928. Her article on the beginnings of the association appeared in the July 1929 Southwestern Historical Quarterly. In 1930 Taylor was chosen as Austin's Most Worthy Citizen; at the time, she was only the second woman so honored. She died in Austin on May 29, 1937, and was survived by her husband, one brother, and three nephews. Bride Neill Taylor is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Austin. At her death she left unfinished a history of the development of Austin.
American History Club Papers, Austin History Center. Austin American, May 31, 1937. Austin American-Statesman, May 30, 1937. Austin History Center Files. Files, Elisabet Ney Museum Archives, Austin. Bride Neill Taylor Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Texas Fine Arts Association Papers, Austin History Center. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Debbie Mauldin Cottrell
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