G. Aiken Taylor Papers

Manuscript Collection # 38

Box# es 111 through 116

Content Summary: {brief}

Span Dates: 1920 - 1984

Size: 6 cu. ft.

Access Restrictions: None

Collection Citation: Taylor, G. Aiken, Papers, Box __, Folder __: item description, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, MO.

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Finding Aid is normally located in folder number 1 of each box.

Biographical Sketch:
George Aiken Taylor was born on January 22, 1920 in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, the son of Presbyterian missionaries George W. Taylor and Julia Pratt Taylor.  The influence of that upbringing was clearly manifest in later years, for one of Dr. Taylor's adversaries once said of him, "Dr. Taylor was born of missionary parents in Brazil, and I happen to know that he is 'not conscious of color...'"

When he was fifteen years old he returned to this country to complete his education, graduating from the Presbyterian College of South Carolina with the A.B. degree in 1940.  He taught in the South Carolina public schools for a year, and then entered the U.S. Army in 1941.  He served with the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division and rose to the rank of Captain, commanding a heavy weapons company in the 142nd Infantry.  He participated in five major campaigns in World War II, was wounded once and decorated once.

Taylor married the former Blanche Williams of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1942.  A son, George Aiken Jr., was born in 1943, Jane Bright in 1946, Hugh Pratt in 1948, and Julia Elizabeth in 1950.

After the war, Taylor entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, graduating with the B.D. degree, Magna Cum Laude in 1948.  He was also ordained in 1948.  He served as pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian Church in Smyrna, Georgia for two years and then became pastor of Northside Presbyterian Church in Burlington, North Carolina.  In 1950 he then entered Duke University for graduate study.  Later he was awarded the Ph.D. degree by Duke for his dissertation, John Calvin, the Teacher, a study of religious education in Calvin’s Geneva.

Dr. Taylor served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana from 1954 to 1959.  He became interested in the work of Alcoholics Anonymous through his own work with alcoholics, developing an appreciation for A.A.’s principles, and wrote A Sober Faith in 1953.  His book St. Luke’s Life of Jesus was published in 1954.

In 1959 Dr. Taylor became editor of The Presbyterian Journal, an independent weekly with an international circulation and with offices in Asheville, North Carolina.  He served in this capacity for twenty-four years, and during that time was active in the conservative movement in the PCUS which eventuated in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), formed in 1973.  He was a leader in the PCA and was elected moderator of the General Assembly of that denomination in 1978.

In 1983, Dr. Taylor was named president of Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and was inaugurated in December of that year.  However, three months later—on March 6, 1984—he died suddenly.  Memorial services were held in Pennsylvania, and funeral services at Gaither Chapel in Montreat, North Carolina.  Dr. Taylor was buried in nearby Swannanoa, North Carolina.

Scope and Content Note: The G. Aiken Taylor Papers consist of four sections:  General Reference, Personal Papers, Church Property material, and Ph.D. Dissertation notes and manuscript.  General Reference is the largest section, and includes material collected or produced by Taylor on people, issues, doctrines, etc., filed according to topic and arranged alphabetically.  Taylor’s sermons are in this section, filed according to topic, either in folders with other material on the same topic or in separate folders.  Personal Papers include three subsections:  papers about Taylor himself, papers about his family, and general papers concerning other people.  This section includes all the correspondence found in this collection.  The Church Property papers consist of material used by Taylor in his testimony in several cases involving church property, where churches were leaving the PCUS denomination.  The Ph.D. Dissertation papers consist of the notes Taylor used in writing his dissertation, in addition to a manuscript of the dissertation.

Related Collections:  The Records of the Presbyterian Journal would be the primary related collection.  Additional materials and correspondence can be found among other collections, notably in the Papers of C. Gregg Singer, who was a close friend of Dr. Taylor’s.

Abstract:

Box 111 - General Reference Files, Acts - Heaven, including sermons on various topics; Funeral Service of Mrs. James T. Liddell, Sr.

Box 112 - General Reference Files, Hebrews - Ph.D. Preliminary Exams. Includes sermons on various topics.

Box 113 - General Reference Files, Presbyterian - Young People.
Includes sermons on various topics.

Box 114 - Personal and Family Papers; Church Property Issues; Correspondence with Milton Caniff, Jesse Helms, C. Everett Koop, and Katherine Simpson.

Box 115 -Ph.D. Dissertation Thesis Proposal, Manuscript and Working Notes.


Box 116 - Audio-visual materials in both 35mm slide and 16mm film formats, detailing the beginnings of the PCA, various trips to Europe and the Far East.