C. Bryson Taylor (b.
, 7 March 1880; d. Washington,
D.C. , c. 9 June
1936) New York
Charlotte Bryson Taylor was the daughter of John Yeatman Taylor (1829-1911) and Sabella Barr Bryson (1846-1919). She had a younger brother Andrew Bryson Taylor (1883-1909). Her father had been medical director of the United States Navy, and retired in 1891 with the rank of Rear Admiral.
was educated at private schools in the District of
Columbia and in . Her first story appeared in The Overland Monthly in 1898, and by
1900 her newspaper and magazine work had become regular. She always signed her
work “C. Bryson Taylor”, presumably to disguise her gender. Based out of
Washington D.C., and later out of New York, she published over the span of
about a decade numerous stories and articles in popular magazines, most notably
in Everybody’s Magazine, but also in Munsey’s Magazine, All-Story Magazine, The
Cosmopolitan Magazine and The
Taylor’s first novel was In the Dwellings of the Wilderness (New York: Henry Holt, 1904), a short fantasy in which archeologists Deane and Merritt and their men unearth the mummy of a high ranking woman from its sealed tomb in Egypt. The evidence suggests that she was walled-in while alive, behind a door marked “forbidden”, in order to trap the devil soul that possessed her. The next morning the mummy has disappeared—soon afterwards a beautiful woman tries to lure some of the men into the desert. Those who follow her are never seen again. The leader Deane gets lost searching for one of his men, and is attacked by something which bites his shoulder, attempting to suck his blood. Deane escapes, but the next day he and the expedition leave the desert to its secrets. This short novel, published in April 1904, is well-written and evocative, an understated but atmospheric tale perhaps influenced by Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars, published in England in June 1903.
NB: An earlier version of this entry appeared in my column “Notes on Neglected Fantasists”, Fastitocalon no. 2 (2010).