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Guide to the Jack Taylor Papers
1868-2018 (bulk, 1980s-2010s)
 MS 3150

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Barbara Gombach, Larry Weimer, and Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 30, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Jack Taylor (1925-2019) was a leader of historic preservation initiatives in New York City, particularly in Manhattan beginning in the 1980s, which is the focus of this collection. He was born in Greenwich Village and lived much of his life in lower Manhattan. During World War II, Taylor was stationed in England, and served in the Army Air Forces in occupied Germany. After the war, Taylor attended Georgetown University and then began a career as a journalist, working for The Washington Post and later as an editor at Family Circle Magazine.

After retiring from Family Circle in the early 1980s, Taylor became deeply immersed in historic preservation in New York City. He held various official positions, including Chairman of the Union Square Community Coalition, President of the Drive to Protect the Ladies' Mile, Board Member of the Historic Districts Council, and a Public Member of Community Boards 5 and 6. Beyond these, Taylor was a member of a constellation of neighborhood and street associations engaged with quality of life issues and with the ongoing tension in the urban environment between the competing agendas and priorities of residents, developers, commerce, and other interests.

As with preservation efforts generally in New York, Taylor and his colleagues had their share of failures, including the loss of the Luchows restaurant building on 14th Street and the home of composer Antonin Dvořák (327 East 17th Street), but also significant successes. Among those successes was the preservation in 1989 of the Ladies' District, so-called because of its late 19th century reputation as a commercial shopping area; the designation of the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District in 1998; and Tammany Hall in 2013.

(See New York Preservation Archive Project's website for more biographical information about Taylor, including oral histories: https://www.nypap.org/preservation-history/jack-taylor/. For more information about Taylor's papers and NYPAP's acquisition of them, see https://www.nypap.org/saving-a-preservationists-legacy-jack-taylors-papers/.)