In the 1937 edition of the New England Quarterly (vol. 10, no. 2), Thomas H. Johnson provides a background to the newly published works of Edward Taylor. At his death on June 24, 1729 (age 87) the first minister in the town of Westfield, Massachusetts. He had been born in England in 1644 and arrived in New England on July 5, 1668. After completing his time at Harvard in 1671 (being somewhat older than his classmates).

He thereafter went to the frontier to minister. He seems to have had exposure to George Herbert at the very least in terms of a poetical inspiration.  He left behind a four hundred page morocco-covered bound quarto volume of carefully copied verse. Taylor left instructions that none of is writing were allowed to be published.

Taylor willed his library to his son-in-law Isaac Stiles. The volume poetry seems to have been included in that disposal. The volume then made it to the Ezra Stiles, president of Yale. From there it came to Stiles’ nephew Henry Taylor who presented the volume to Yale (1883). And finally it was published by Thomas Johnson when he discovered the manuscript in the Yale library.

The poems published in the New England Quarterly were the first poems published from Taylor’s manuscript.