William T. and Ann H. Scott Papers

Identifier: 95-92

Scope and Contents

The majority of the William T. and Ann H. Scott Papers were acquired in 1995, when the Scotts moved to a Quaker retirement facility in Santa Rosa. Previously, materials relating to Ann Scott's work on Census U.S.A. were deposited in Special Collections and remain a separate entity, as do the archives of William Scott, which are housed at the University Archives. Two related collections were also donated by the Scotts to the Special Collections Department and remain separate from the Ann and William Scott Papers. The records of the Reno Friends Meeting, a Quaker worship group co-founded by the Scotts, and Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace, a non-profit peace organization also co-founded by the Scotts, were acquired in 1995. Materials relating to Census U.S.A, the Reno Friends, and the Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace have been extracted from the Ann and William Scott Papers and integrated into their respective collections. Materials from the William Scott archives that related to William Scott's personal life were extracted from the archives and integrated into the manuscript collection.

Where possible, the original order has been maintained within the collection. This was feasible primarily with the professional records of Ann and William Scott, while many of the personal and political papers of the Scotts arrived in a very miscellaneous form. In general, materials dated before 1960, when the Scotts met were placed with the individual personal papers. Correspondence addressed to either Ann or William were placed with the individual personal papers, while correspondence addressed jointly to Ann and William became part of their family papers. Because of the cooperative nature of Ann and William's relationship, the majority of the religious and political materials in the collection were organized into a section of their family papers, even though one or the other may have been more involved in a particular organization or peace action. Exceptions to this arrangement occur when materials relating to a particular endeavor have clearly been placed with an individual's personal papers.

The scope of the Ann and William Scott papers reflects the rich life of two people deeply committed to their professional and careers and their personal convictions. Ann's professional papers document her struggles and development as a writer, including many revisions of a particular work and comments by fellow writers. William's professional papers reflect the growth of his interest from pure physics to the philosophy of science. On a personal level, the William and Ann Scott papers document family relationships and friendships through extensive correspondence and memorabilia. Their personal spiritual reflections and service to the Society of Friends and to peaceful social change is documented through journal notes, organizational records, and subject files. Except for royalty statements and a sampling of bank and tax records, the majority of the Scott financial records were extracted.

The Scott extended family is represented in the papers of Abraham McLean Scott, William Scott's great-grandfather; Charles P.G. Scott, William's grandfather; Carl and Dorothy Scott, William's parents; and Roderick and Agnes Scott, William's uncle and aunt. Correspondence, diaries, and memorabilia make up a large part of these subgroups. Materials belonging to Roderick and Agnes Scott, missionaries to China until the revolution in the 1950s, include sermons, syllabi, and lecture notes relating to Roderick's work as a teacher at Fukien Christian University in Foochow, and later at Olivet College and Claremont Church. Of particular interest in the Roderick and Agnes subgroup is the theological and philosophical correspondence between Roderick and William. One large portion of the Scott collection consists of brochures, flyers, newsletters, and correspondence relating to a wide variety of social organizations and concerns. This material, arranged alphabetically by organization and by subject, offers a unique glimpse into the modern peace movement. Subjects include conscientious objection to World War II, the Vietnam conflict, nuclear disarmament, civil liberties, race relations, capital punishment, domestic violence, poverty, Native Americans, Central America, and much more. Usually, the emphasis in these materials is on Nevada organizations and actions, although some national material is included.

Of particular interest in the Ann and William Scott papers is the groups of materials relating to the national, regional and local arms of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-based public service organization whose purpose is to promote peace and nonviolent change. Flyers, brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, and correspondence show the variety of programs and interests of the this influential organization over the last fifty years, from the High School Conference on Human Values in the 1940s to the East-West Committee to improve U.S.- Soviet relations in the late 1980s. The inception of the Reno Area Program, the development of its local programs, and its subsequent restructuring reveal the inner workings of a unique organization with unique corporate goals and methods. See also 97-15, 97-26, and 97-27 for a continuation of this collection.


  • 1833-1994


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

William Taussig Scott (1916-1999) and his wife, Ann Herbert Scott lived in Reno, Nevada, between 1961-1995. William taught physics and philosophy of science at the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1961-1981 and conducted research in cloud physics at the Desert Research Institute from 1965-1975. Ann is an author of children's books and a book on the U.S. Census; while in Reno she was active in planning literacy workshops, festivals, and community forums. Ann and William are active members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and are committed to nonviolent social change, particularly in the areas of nuclear disarmament, prison reform, and civil liberties.

Ann Herbert Howe was born in Philadelphia on November 19, 1926, the only child of Henry Laux Herbert, a newspaper editor, and Gladys Howe Herbert, a singer and artist. She was educated at a Quaker Boarding School and later attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with distinction and honors in English and was class valedictorian. After teaching for a few years at various Friends (Quaker) schools, she entered Yale University, where she earned a Master's Degree in Social Ethics in 1958.

While at Yale, Ann became involved with and later employed by the Wider City Parish, an interdenominational group ministry program focusing on the problems of inner city children. She developed a program called "Link," which paired one Yale student with a few children in an ongoing counseling venture. She spent several summers as a camp counselor, and later director, of the University Girls Camp, which offered low-income teen girls the opportunity to escape the stresses of the city and to explore their spiritual beliefs. Ann volunteered at the Elm Haven Housing Project, the Dixwell Area Teenage Committee, the Social Relations Committee of the Council of Churches, and the Big Brother Program.

Ann met William Scott during his sabbatical at Yale in 1960, where thy both attended Quaker worship services. After moving to Reno in 1961, Ann began to explore her interest in multi ethnic children's literature, and in 1964 published her first book, Big Cowboy Western, one of very few books at the time to depict African American inner city life. She published twelve more children's books, including illustrated counting and picture books, many emphasizing Nevada or western desert themes. In addition, Ann also published a popular book on the U.S. Census for high school and college students.

Her publications won awards and distinction from the American Library Association and other organizations and several have been translated into foreign languages. In 1995, Ann Scott received the Nevada Writer's Hall of Fame award. A list of her published work can be found in this guide. Ann's interest in ethnic children's literature, coupled with her commitment to her community, led her to plan, develop and direct a variety of festivals and workshops aimed at increasing literacy in Nevada.

In 1979, she worked with librarians and teachers to create "Open Door to the Humanities," bringing popular children's authors to remote Nevada communities. Ann also planned and directed "All Colors of the Race: A Festival of Ethnic Children's Writers" in 1982, which brought the Reno and University community together to explore ethnicity and culture in general, and in children's literature in particular. Ann co-founded the Children's Literature Interest Group in Reno, which planned the yearly "Art of the Children's Book Festival" since 1982, and was an active participant in several local writers groups.

Ann's Quaker beliefs have led her to live a life committed to pacifism, political action, and service to others. Upon her arrival in Reno, she helped form the Reno Area Committee of the American Friends Service Organization, whose activities included acquiring assistance for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and lobbying for prison reform and for victims of domestic violence. Ann and William Scoot also co-founded the Reno Friends Meeting, the West Coast Quaker Association on Religion and Psychology, and Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace. At the local level, Ann was committed to the interdenominational solutions to a variety of social and political concerns. She helped plan vigils, fasts, walks runs, tree plantings, educational forums, and discussion meetings as ways of furthering the peace movement in Nevada. The war in Vietnam, civil rights, poverty, women's equality, Central America, the MX missile, the death penalty, the nuclear freeze movement, and more found expression in Nevada, largely through the efforts of Ann Scott.

In 1995, Ann and William Scott moved to the Friends House, a Quaker retirement facility in Santa Rosa, California.

Anne passed away in Los Angeles, July 16, 2018.

William Taussig Scott was born in the 1916 in Yonkers, New York to Carl and Dorthea Scott. He attended Scarborough School, a college preparatory school, and graduated from Swathmore in 1937. He received his graduate degree in physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where for two years he held a Rackham Fellowship.

While at Swathmore College, William joined the Society of Friends, and began a life long devotion to Quaker action and theological discussion. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, and received a deferment to teach civilians. After three years at Amherst, William accepted a position at Smith College, where he remained for sixteen years. His summers were usually spent at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he studied multiple scattering theory and worked with Samuel Goudsmit on time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In 1959, William received a National Science Faculty Fellowship and spent a sabbatical year at Yale University, working with Henry Margenau on quantum measurement theory and studying theology with Robert Calhoun and other Divinity School faculty.

In the spring of 1960 he met Ann Howe Herbert, a fellow Quaker. Their common interests, goals, and religious beliefs bonded their relationship and resulted in their marriage in 1961 and their move to Reno, where William accepted an offer from the University of Nevada to set up a graduate program in physics.

During his tenure at the University of Nevada, Reno, William continued to pursue his interests in science, religion, and peace, and became an activist in both the University and local communities. At the University, he formed the Peace Studies Group, brought distinguished speakers like Andrew Sakahrov and Kenneth Boulding to speak, and directed the committees on Philosophical Inquiry, which developed courses that bridged the gaps between disciplines. His courses on "Science and Religion" and "Philosophy and Methods of Physical Science" were well attended by students and colleagues, and he frequently attended conferences and gave papers in the topic of social responsibility and scientists.

Scott was a prolific writer and published numerous research papers in theoretical physics, atmospheric physics, and the philosophy of science. He published two editions of a basic textbook on electricity and magnetism, and a biography of Nobel Prize nominee Erwin Schrodinger. He also served as associate editor of the American Journal of Physics and a referee of several physics journals. One of William's articles, a review of Michael Polanyi's Personal Knowledge, facilitated an ongoing correspondence with the author, and in 1969 William received a National Science Foundation History and Philosophy of Science grant for preliminary research on a biography of Polanyi. Scott spent his sabbatical year at Oxford University, studying the philosophy of science under Polanyi and Rom Harre.

Scott's religious and moral beliefs led him to write and speak tirelessly on the subject if peace and nonviolent social change. His particular focus was on the dangers of nuclear weapons, a subject he approached as both a scientist and a Quaker. William headed the Peace Education Committee of the Reno Area Program of the American Friends Service Committee, and was a member of the East-West Committee of the Pacific Yearly Meeting. He also served on the College Park Education Association, and helped create John Woolman School, a Quaker boarding school in Grass Valley, California. Scott's efforts toward the cause of peace earned him a Thornton Peace Prize in both 1972 and 1990.

William passed away in 1999 at a Quaker retirement community in Santa Rosa, California.

Abraham McLean Scott, William Scott's great grandfather, was born in the township of Little Washington, in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1809, descended from Hugh Scott who emigrated from Ireland in 1670. Abraham's grandfather, Hugh Scott (1726-1819), was an officer in the Revolutionary Army and owned property on the Gettysburg battleground. Abraham was the youngest child of Hugh Scott (1763-1849) and Jane Latta (1766-1839), who owned a large farm in Washington County until they moved to Ohio in 1811, along with their nine children, in two covered wagons. Hugh and Jane Scott purchased 240 acres of land in Licking County, near Newark, for $700. Abraham McLean Scott lived with his family in a log cabin in the woods, some of which was later cleared to farm. He worked on the farm off and on until 1826, when his father sent him off to be tutored by Dr. Benjamin Harrison, brother to the future president. Eventually Abraham entered Ohio University and later Jefferson College and moved to West Virginia, where he taught and headed the English Department at the Academy. Abraham met and married Julia Ann Boyers, a fellow schoolteacher, 1837. They moved to Dayton, Ohio where Abraham taught, practiced law and eventually became a Justice of the Peace. Abraham was a strong advocate of temperance, an abolitionist, and was appointed by President Lincoln to the post of Examiner of Pensions, a position he held until he died in 1881.

Charles Payson Gurley Scott, William Scott's grandfather, was the 10th of 13 children born to Abraham and Julia Scott in Dayton, Ohio. He was educated in public schools in Washington, D.C., and later at Lafayette University, where he graduated in 1878 with honors. For several years, he taught Greek, English, and Anglo-Saxon at Columbia University in New York. In 1881 he married Jane Smedley and moved to Columbus, Ohio. In 1883, Charles was appointed assistant editor and etymologist of the new Century Dictionary, which was published in 1889. Charles moved his family to Yonkers, New York, in 1889, and enjoyed the busy social life of the upper class, joining a variety of literary and anthropological study clubs. In 1891, Charles was admitted to the bar, though he never practiced law. When the Lippincott Co. of Philadelphia undertook a revision of Worcester's Dictionary, Charles was appointed Editor-in-Chief. He also joined the Spelling Reform Association and corresponded with other etymologists. In 1905 the Simplified Spelling Board was formed through the sponsorship of Andrew Carnegie, and Charles became the Secretary. Charles devoted many years to this language movement, but the idea of simplifying the spelling of English language words never caught on. Long a member of the Oriental Society, Charles and Jane spent several years in China, visiting their daughter Kate and son Roderick. During the Depression, Charles and Jane came to live with their other son, Carl, where they remained until their deaths.

Carl Scott, the youngest child of Charles and Jane Scott, was born in New York and grew up in Yonkers and in the rural community of Radnor. He attended private schools at Bardwell and Haverford, and graduated from Haverford College in 1908. He was employed at Sprague Electric Works, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, where he worked as an electrician, installing motors and electric hoists and developing equipment for testing automobile engines. Carl was a charter and life-long member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. In 1911 he also joined the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, where he chaired the Committee on Commercial and Domestic Applications, and later became a Fellow. Although he did not receive an engineering degree, he received a license from the state of Connecticut to practice as a professional engineer. He wrote several articles, handbooks, and manuals for apprentices, and had nine patents granted to him, all assigned to the General Electric Company. In 1914 Carl married Dorothea Taussig, a Wellesley graduate with an interest in the stage. They had two children William and Barbara, and their social life included attending plays and musicals directed by Dorothea. Carl's employment during a hiatus form General Electric included selling elevators, furnaces, bonds, and trucks before returning to serve on Atomic Energy Commission contracts until his retirement in 1952.Carl and Dorothea Scott moved to Florida in 1954 and built a home in Holmes Beach. Carl became active in local politics, serving on the Manatee County Beach Commission, the Parks and Recreation Board, the Board of Governors of the United Fund, and the Executive Committee of the Manatee County Democratic Committee, as well as six terms as mayor. The Scotts traveled worldwide until Dorothea's death in 1975. Carl Scott died a year later at the age of 89.

Roderick Scott, William Scott's uncle, earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Religion form Haverford College in 1906 and masters degrees form Haverford in 1907 and Harvard in 1908. He taught at Bowdoin College in 1908-1909 and Earlham College from 1909-1913. At Earlham College he met Agnes Kelly, daughter of Robert Kelly, the president of Earlham College. Agnes earned her undergraduate degree in music at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and did graduate work at both the school of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, and at Teachers College in New York. Agnes also taught math for a brief time at Oakwood Seminary. After their marriage, Agnes and Roderick undertook the first of two religious foreign missions at the Fukien Christian University in Foochow, China. In 1916 they were appointed by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, now the United Church Board for World Ministries, to build and strengthen Fukien Christian University. Agnes taught music and Roderick taught English and Philosophy, also serving as Dean of the university form 1920-1930, and again from 1947-1948. The Scotts witnessed firsthand the coming of Chiang Kai-Shek and his Communist army into Nanjing and the evacuation of American women and children by the American Consul. In 1942, the Scotts spent six weeks in a tiny compound, hiding themselves and the University's library from Japanese soldiers. In addition, they witnessed political battles, often violent, within the university itself by rebels attempting to overthrow American control.In between missions to China, Roderick entered the University of Southern California, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1946 before returning to Foochow for three more years. The Scotts left China for good in 1948 because of pressures brought about by the social and political revolutions. Roderick taught philosophy and religion at Olivet College for six years before retiring to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California, in 1957. At the Claremont Church of Christ Roderick taught adult church classes and served as church librarian. Roderick Scott authored three books: The Seeker Finds (1930), A Logic for Living (1933), and Fukien Christian University (1954). In addition he published several articles on China, theology, and the missionary movement and sustained a lively discourse with other writers, educators, and theologians, including his nephew, William Scott.


51.396 Linear Feet (53 boxes)

Language of Materials



Husband and wife William Taussig Scott (1916-1999) and Ann Herbert Scott (1929-2018) lived in Reno, Nevada, between 1961-1995. William taught physics and philosophy of science at the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1961-1981 and conducted research in cloud physics at the Desert Research Institute from 1965-1975. Ann was an author of children's books and a book on the U.S. Census. The collection consists of the personal papers and professional records of Ann and William Scott and their extended family, including documentation of Ann's career as a children's author, such as manuscripts, correspondence, and academic and employment records and William's research files in physics, teaching records, articles and correspondence related to cloud physics.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Ann Herbert Scott Papers; 2) William Taussig Scott Papers; 3) Scott Family Papers

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ann Scott in 1995.

Related Materials

William T. and Ann H. Scott papers, 97-15. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

William T. and Ann H. Scott papers, 97-27. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

William T. Scott Papers, 99-26. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

William T. Scott records, AC 0408. University Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1997-39.

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.

Guide to the William T. and Ann H. Scott Papers
Victoria Yturralde
March 13, 1996
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)