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Frank E. Taylor Collection

Identifier: RH-A-4324

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of materials relating to organist Frank E. (“Bud”) Taylor (1913 – 1997) and the State Theater of Kalamazoo. The materials cover a timespan from the mid 1930’s to the early 1980’s.


  • Creation: mid 1930’s to the early 1980’s


Frank E. Taylor Biography

Frank E. Taylor was born in Vicksburg, MI on March 12, 1913. Taylor studied music at Chicago’s Sherwood School of Music and later at the University of Michigan before returning to Kalamazoo as the organist for the State Theater. Taylor played at the State Theater from 1934 to 1937 before embarking on a career that took him to California, New York City, St. Louis, North Carolina, and more. Taylor returned to Kalamazoo in 1950 to play at the State and the nearby Schensul’s Cafeteria. Taylor died on February 22, 1997 and is buried at Mount Ever-rest Memorial Park in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo State Theater Background

The Kalamazoo State Theater (404 S. Burdick St.), where Taylor played in the early years of his career, was built in 1927 on the corner of South Burdick St. and Lovell St. Originally designed to host silent film and vaudeville acts, the theater was equipped with a Barton Theatre Organ that was used to play musical accompaniments to silent films. As silent films were steadily replace by “talkie” films, the organ received less use. The theater stopped showing first-run films in 1982, casting the future of the theater into doubt. Members of the community led a grassroots movement to save the building. Their efforts were successful and the State Theater has remained a fixture in downtown Kalamazoo ever since, mostly hosting live performances of musician and comedy acts.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Dr. William L. Coale, a researcher of theater organists.

Physical Description

The materials in this collection amount to 0.25 cubic feet. The collection includes loose newspaper clipping, photographs, promotional materials, and a scrapbook. The materials are in reasonably good condition, with some fraying around the corners of pages and fading in some of the print. The collection contains black and white photographs of Bud Taylor at the State Theater, assorted newspaper clipping, some printed promotional materials from the State Theater, and other miscellaneous materials. The newspaper clippings have yellowed and have light tearing around some of their edges but the text remains perfectly legible. Due to their condition, the loose newspaper clippings were photocopied. The promotional materials are in good condition, showing very few signs of deterioration.

The scrapbook has a blank, light brown paper covering with silver pins binding it. The materials in the scrapbook mostly relate to the career of Frank E. (“Bud”) Taylor along with some photographs and promotional programs from the State Theater. The pages are black cardboard paper with newspaper clippings and photographs glued to them. There is some tearing around the edges of the black paper but the contents remain in good condition. A few of the newspaper clippings and photographs have come off their pages as the glue has dried.

Frank E. Taylor Collection finding aid
Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490