Biography / Administrative History
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Collier Family papers
Collection number: MS 23
Collier, Muriel Taylor
Collier, Francis B.
3.5 linear feet
(8 boxes + 1 oversized box)
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Abstract: The Collier Family Papers include correspondence, photographs, military service records, deeds, home movies, and newspaper
clippings that document members of the Collier, Taylor, and Coffin families.
Languages represented in the collection:
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.
Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.
Permission to publish from the Collier Family Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.
Collier Family papers, MS 23, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.
Papers donated to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland by Cherie Collier Ivey on September 7, 1994.
Processed by Sean Heyliger, 02/28/2013.Finding aid updated by Sean Heyliger to incorporate Accession #2016-086 on October
6, 2016. Finding aid updated by Sean Heyliger to incorporate Accession #2017-013 on April 21, 2017.Finding aid updated by
Sean Heyliger on April 19, 2018 to incorporate photos 079, 190-191, 214-215A, 218.
Biography / Administrative History
Francis Bernard Collier (1917-1985)
Francis Bernard Collier was born on December 25, 1917 to Charles E. Collier and Juanita Rose Huddleston Collier in Walnut
Ridge, Arkansas. As a young child, Collier moved to California with his parents and graduated from Calexico Union High School,
attended San Mateo Junior College and eventually graduated from Stanford University with a pre-medical degree in 1942. After
graduation, Collier enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he met Muriel Taylor
and the two we married on December 19, 1942.
During World War II, Collier served as an original member of the 99th Pursuit Air Squadron and was a pilot of B52s, B29s,
and B36s. He remained in the Air Force after the war and continued his service during the Korean War, flying over 700 combat
hours as a member of the 19th Bombardment Group. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force before flying-related
injuries forced him to retire from the military in 1953. After the military, he returned to Stanford University where he earned
a master’s degree from the School of Journalism in 1955. Shortly after graduation, Collier was hired by the
San Francisco Chronicle where he worked on the editorial staff as a wire service editor over the next twenty five years until his retirement in 1980.
Muriel Taylor Collier (1910-2005)
Muriel Taylor Collier was born in 1910 in Oakland, California the daughter of Patrick Willis Taylor and Lillian C. Taylor.
She was raised in a well-educated, middle-class family as her father worked for the Pullman Company as a sleeping car porter
and was also active in the local branch of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, while her mother was a graduate of Fisk
University in Nashville, Tennessee. Collier graduated from Oakland High School in 1927 and attended the University of California
at Berkeley earning a degree in economics in 1931. While studying at university, she met her first husband, Ishmael Flory,
and the two married and had two daughters, Claire Lynne and Muriel Patricia Flory. Muriel struggled to get a job after graduation
and waged a campaign against the Alameda County of Social Welfare to be hired as a social worker. She was eventually hired
and worker two years as a social case worker when the family decided to move to Chicago, Illinois, where Ishmael worked as
a sleeping car porter and was active in union politics and Muriel worked on a master’s degree in psychology at the University
In 1942, the Florys divorced and Muriel returned to California to pursue her career in social work. She joined the American
Red Cross as a social worker and was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona where she met her second husband, Frank B. Collier.
The Colliers had a daughter, Cherie, born shortly before the end of World War II in 1945. Following the war, Muriel began
working as a social case worker with the Veterans Administration in Palo Alto, California, where she would work for the next
thirty years until her retirement in 1979.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Collier Family Papers include correspondence, photographs, military service records, deeds, home movies, and newspaper
clippings that document members of the Collier, Taylor, and Coffin families. The papers are organized into seven series: Francis
B. Collier, Muriel Taylor Collier, Cherie Collier Ivey, Claire Lynne and Muriel Patricia Florey, Willis Patrick and Lillian
Taylor, home movies, and photographs. The bulk of the collection is approximately 800 photographs of mostly of Frank and Muriel
Collier, their children, Patricia Flory, Claire Lynn Flory, and Cherie Collier, and family, friends, and relatives. There
are also a number of photographs of Muriel Collier’s first husband, Ishmael Flory, the noted civil and labor rights activist,
her father, Willis Patrick Taylor, who was active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and her uncle, Alfred Oscar
Coffin, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in the biological sciences.
The collection also includes numerous photographs related to Frank Collier’s military service as a member of the Tuskegee
Airmen during the Korean War and as an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. The papers also include letters written by Frank
Collier to his wife and mother during the Korean War, memoranda and special orders related to his military service, and a
copy of his master’s thesis. The Muriel Taylor Collier series includes records related to her job as a social worker at the
Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, class notes for a course at the University of California
on the growth and development of personality, and an affidavit disavowing Communist activities.
Series I. Francis B. (Frank) Collier
Series II. Muriel (Taylor) Collier
Series III. Cherie Collier Ivey
Series IV. Claire Lynne and Muriel Patricia Florey
Series V. Patrick and Lillian C. Taylor
Series VI. Photographs
Series VII. Home Movies
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
United States. Army Air Forces. Bombardment Group, 477th.
Veterans Administration Medical Center (Palo Alto, Calif.).
Korean War, 1950-1953--Aerial operations, American.
African Americans--California--East Bay--History.
African Americans--Military service--1940-1960.