Edward Robeson Taylor (WPA) by Peter Van Valkenburgh

Edward Robeson Taylor (WPA) by Peter Van Valkenburgh

Edward Robeson Taylor (WPA)

Peter Van Valkenburgh


Edward Robeson Taylor (WPA)

Image Size
15 1/8 x 7 5/8" image 
artist's pencil chop in lower right corner of the paper 
Edition Size
about 28 impressions 
dated 1939 under the signature on the stone 
WPA Graphics Achenbach Collection 65.37.949 
ivory wove Warren's Oldstyle 
California Federal Art Project WPA 
Inventory ID

Edward Robeson Taylor, medical doctor, lawyer, educator, mayor and poet, was born in Springfield, Illinois on September 22, 1838, but raised in Booneville, Missouri where he studied at the Kemper School. In his early twenties, Taylor moved to California in 1862 to avoid the Civil War.

He graduated with his M.D. degree from the Toland Medical College in San Francisco in 1865. He practiced medicine for only a few years before moving to Sacramento to become private secretary to his friend Henry Haight who had just been elected Governor of California. During his time in Sacramento Taylor studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1872. He practiced law until 1899 when he became dean and professor of law at Hastings College of the Law.

In July 1907, Taylor was appointed the 28th Mayor of San Francisco and was elected to a regular term. In his capacity as Mayor he had to deal with the reconstruction of the city that was destroyed by fire following the 1906 earthquake.

Taylor was very civic minded and served as a trustee of the Public Library of San Francisco and the San Francisco Law Library, president of the San Francisco Bar Association, and member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University.

Edward Robeson Taylor was also an accomplished poet and was elected to the French Academy based upon his translations of the sonnets of the French poet Jose Maria de Heredia. He later won France’s Cross of the Legion of Honor.

Taylor died on July 5, 1923, in San Francisco.

[Credit is do to Roy J. Popkin, M.D. for his article on Edward Robeson Taylor, M.D. published in March 1965 in the Western Journal of Medicine.]

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