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Hilliard Taylor Family Photographs

Identifier: PH 0007

Scope and Content

This collection consists of 229 black and white photographs and biographical materials. Photographs depict the Taylor family and home life in Houston, Boley, Oklahoma and Hot Springs, Arkansas from 1914 to 1997. This collection provides a glimpse into black family life and during the early 20th century. Most images are related to James and Josie’s life in Houston, but several are of Hilliard’s success after migration.


  • 1914 - 1997


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Hilliard Taylor Family Photographs must be obtained from African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Hilliard Taylor, a former slave was appointed by Texas governor E.J. Davis, as the city Alderman to Houston in 1871. As one of Houston’s first black officials Hilliard represented the fifth ward during the Reconstruction era. He was employed as a porter at the Hutchings House, a popular meeting place for local and state government leaders. Taylor later worked for a large wholesale grocery and cotton firm for twelve years before he migrated to Boley, Oklahoma. In Boley, he founded a prosperous cotton business which included the Hilliard Taylor Gin Co. and two other cotton gins. Hilliard Taylor died in 1913; both he and his wife are buried in Olivewood Cemetery in Houston. During the relocation, Hilliard’s daughter California also moved to Boley, while his son Henry relocated north to New York.

James Blake Taylor, born in 1888, remained in Houston, after the family moved to Oklahoma. He attended Trinity Methodist Church School, Gregory Elementary, and later Prairie View. James was employed as one of Houston’s first African American postal carriers and later served as a Captain with the U.S. Army Reserves Cox Rifles in Houston during World War I. His employment was wide-ranging including Vice President of the National Alliance of Postal Employees, Financial Secretary to Trinity Methodist Church, Treasurer of the Elks Lodge, and various positions at the Mechanic Bank. He married Josie B. Miller of Wharton, Texas in December 1912. Josie was born to M.F. Charlton and Dora Cunningham Miller in Atlanta, Georgia on August 21, 1900. The Millers migrated to the Houston area settling in Wharton, Texas. Josie attend both Wiley College and Columbia University. As an educator, she taught in the Houston Public School system for more than 17 years. After their marriage, James acquired land and eventually purchased Josie a hat shop and beauty salon. She established herself as a business owner opening, Josie Taylor’s Chapeaux Ready to Wear and Millinery Shop in downtown Houston. Upon retiring from her business, she taught Distributive Education to business leaders in the community. She was a member of the Sixth Church of Christ and served on organizations and agencies until her death on August 24, 1980 at the age of 80.


1.25 Linear Feet ( 4 document boxes )

Language of Materials


Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by material type in 4 document boxes.


Donated by: Patricia Smith Prather

PH 0007 Hilliard Taylor Family Photographs
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the African American History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002