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Horace Dickinson Taylor Family Papers

Identifier: MSS 0053

Scope and Contents

The Taylor family collection consists of correspondence to and from Horace Dickinson Taylor and his family between 1848 and 1898. The letters concern daily life in the nineteenth century. There is, however, a noticeable gap in the correspondence during the Civil War period. A brief history, written in 1965 by a descendant, is also included.


  • 1848-1898

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Horace Dickinson Taylor Family Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Historical Note

At the age of 17 Horace Dickinson Taylor left his native Massachusetts with his brother, Edward, after the sudden death of their parents. They settled in Independence, Texas, in 1838, and in 1848 the Taylor brothers moved to Houston where they established a cotton business. Horace became sole owner of the business in 1850 and soon thereafter bought a warehouse near a steamboat landing on Buffalo Bayou. From this strategic location he could roll cotton down to boats waiting below and within a short time developed a thriving cotton brokerage enterprise. Horace married Emily Baker in 1852. They reared three sons and two daughters here on their 3.5 acre wooded homesite. Taylor became one of the city's influential citizens, serving as alderman in 1861-1862, mayor in 1866, and as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church. Buffalo Bayou, neglected during the Civil War, was dredged during Taylor's term as mayor, effectively re-establishing commerce to the Gulf. The bayou soon became the lifeline of Houston businesses, allowing the city to successfully compete with Galveston for trade. Taylor, who was one of the founders of the Board of Trade and Cotton Exchange in 1874, continued in the cotton business until his death in 1890.

Source: Horace Dickinson Taylor, Texas Historical Marker, Sesquicentennial Park, Houston (Tex.)


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged chronologically according to outgoing correspondence.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mrs. David Red.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Speck, February 6, 1979.
Horace Dickinson Taylor Family Papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository


(832) 393-1662

The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
M Closed | T 10-6 | W 10-6 | Th 12-8 | F 10-5 | Sa 10-5 | Su Closed
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002
M Closed T 10-6 W 10-6 Th 12-8 F 10-5 Sa 10-5 Su Closed