|Signature on the Oahu map--Ruth would later drop her married name when signing her work|
Born in 1899, Taylor and her family, like many, headed persistently west in the late 19th century, moving from East Coast to West in the span of about 20 years and finally settling in California. According to the 1920 US Census, Taylor seemed to be settling into a pretty normal life--she was married to Leonard White and living in Phoenix, Arizona. Leonard was a life insurance salesman. Two kids followed, and so did divorce. With limited information, it’s easy to fill in the gaps and imagine a disastrous mismatch of temperaments, but all we know is that Ruth and her children moved to California and she began working as an illustrator.
|From Art Deco Blog|
|From the National Parks website|
|Massachusetts, from Our USA: A Gay Geography, 1935. From Barry Lawrence Ruderman.|
|This is where I live now--Hagerstown, Maryland, at the top left. There is indeed an organ factory here. From Saturated Color on Etsy.|
|Ruth Taylor, Map of Treasure Island, Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939. From Beinecke Library, Yale.|
Remarkably, during World War II, Ruth kept up her international wandering. The end of the war found her in Calcutta, India, and by September 1945 she arrived back in New York, headed to her brother’s home in Los Altos, California. The wine map of California below is the only work I've found of hers in the post-war years.
|Wine map of California by Taylor, late 1940s. From Barry Lawrence Ruderman.|
© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg 2012-2015