On April 24 in Cornell Law’s Myron Taylor Hall, C. Evan Stewart ’77 took his place behind the podium, looking very much “at home.” The fourth generation Cornellian loves to teach, is passionate about history, and had just completed his book (twenty-plus years in the making) about the man whose name was on the building where he was speaking.
Those attending the book talk event were quickly absorbed in the story of Myron Taylor, The Man Nobody Knew. Next to Ezra Cornell, Taylor was the University’s greatest benefactor, but his influence spread far beyond the place where he earned his law degree in 1894. Taylor changed history. “But for Mr. Taylor, we’d all be speaking German now,” declared Stewart.
Stewart’s ease in relaying little known historical facts belied the sometimes agonizing investigative work that went into uncovering them. He began the assignment at the request of his former Cornell Law professor, W. David Curtiss who had started the book but fell too ill to finish it. Agreeing to take on the work, Stewart expanded research beyond the Cornell archives to the FDR and Truman Presidential Libraries, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, the Vatican, and more.
“When you do archival research like this, it’s similar to an archeological dig. You find a pot over here and search for the lid, which you might find 500 feet away,” says Stewart. Of course, a one-hour webinar could only scratch the surface of the stories contained in Stewart’s book, but he offered enough intrigue to those in attendance to encourage them to dive deeper into history:
Stewart presents a more nuanced view of the Pope’s role and history in the 300-plus pages of his book, Myron Taylor, The Man Nobody Knew, expanding on the legacy of a legendary Cornellian.
A recording of the April 24 book talk by C. Evan Stewart is available here.