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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                      MARK TAYLOR

INTERVIEWER:                 SUSAN PLASKER

LOCATION:                       ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                                 OCTOBER 17, 2002

                                           OCTOBER 22, 2002

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Mark Taylor was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1928 to Herbert Taylor and Esther Kahn Taylor.  Both of his parents were born in Atlanta.  His mother is the daughter of Marcus Kahn, one of the founders of Shearith Israel.  The Kahn family was from Lithuania.  Hebert Taylor’s family was from Russia.  Mark’s father’s father was the first secretary of Ahavath Achim synagogue in 1887.  Mark Taylor grew up in the Druid Hills area of Atlanta.  He is an only child.

Mark’s father was a pharmacist and owned the iconic Plaza Drugstore on Ponce de Leon and Highland Avenue.  Mark worked part time at the drug store soda fountain.  His mother taught Hebrew and piano.  He visited his grandparents for Shabbat every Friday.  Mark attended Sunday school at The Temple and Hebrew school at Ahavath Achim.

Mark attended Mary Lin Elementary School and Bass Junior High in Little Five Points.  He attended Boys’ High School.  He received an engineering degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology.  He later studied philosophy at Georgia State University.  He also attended law school in Atlanta.

After World War II, Mark went into the construction business with his father.  They built apartments, shopping malls, commercial buildings, and other large projects in Atlanta.  Mark married Judith Grossman in 1957.  They have three children.  He has a daughter from an earlier marriage. 

SCOPE OF INTERVIEW 

Mark Taylor discusses his relationship with his mother and father and growing up during the Depression era.  He talks about his father’s drug store and remembers working the soda fountain at the pharmacy where he caught curbs.  He talks about his mother’s interest in music and teaching piano and Hebrew.  He fondly remembers enjoying spending afternoons at his Uncle Louie’s farm, shooting guns and walking in the woods. 

Mark describes the family as being close to the Jewish community but not being very observant.  He remembers Friday Shabbat at his grandmother’s house and talks about his father reciting Kiddush.  He talks about attending Sunday school at The Temple and Hebrew school for his bar mitzvah at Achavath Achim.  He describes his parents as Zionists and how that affected his relationship at The Temple.  He speaks fondly of Rabbi Harry Epstein and his family’s relationship with him.  Mark describes him as warm and brilliant.  He also discusses his youth and social activities, summer camps, and dating.

He talks about his education at Boys’ High School and Cornell University.  He mentions living in Delaware briefly and his return to Atlanta when he began working with his father in the construction and real estate business.  Mark talks about various theatre groups in Atlanta and his contribution and involvement with them.  He talks about his marriage with Judith Grossman and their three children.  He discusses the street they developed together and naming it Judith Way.  He speaks affectionately about his daughter from a previous marriage.   

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