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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives


MEMOIRIST:                       HERBERT TAYLOR


DATE:                                  MARCH 3, 1987

                                          MARCH 5, 1987

                                          MARCH 17, 1987

LOCATION:                          ATLANTA, GEORGIA

ID#:                                   10717

NUMBER OF PAGES:          50


Transcript (PDF)



Herbert was born in Atlanta on Edgewood Boulevard in 1895 into a family that eventually grew to five sisters and two brothers.  His father, Charles, was trained in the Yitzchak Elhanan Yeshiva in Kovno, Lithuania, but left Lithuania because of the fear of being drafted for life into Tzar Nicholas I’s army. His mother was Molly Warsaw. 

When Charles came to the United States circa 1882 he worked as a peddler, graduated to owning a small grocery store, and then opened Taylor Bakery.  Herbert helped his father by conducting a bread route early in the morning before he went to school. His father was very Orthodox and would not work or do anything on the Sabbath, which often caused problems for the business. Eventually his son, Mose, took over the business.  His father was a founding member and the first secretary of Ahavath Achim synagogue in 1887.

Herbert attended cheder and he became bar mitzvah.  In his free time, he played tennis in Piedmont Park and participated in various clubs including the Don’t Worry Club, which was a debating society.  He attended Boys’ High School.  Herbert also helped his brother, who was a pharmacist, make up the medicines including packages of morphine or cocaine. 

Herbert served in the military in World War I, although he was never shipped overseas.  After the war he attended the Atlanta College of Pharmacy and went into the pharmacy business with his brother. He inaugurated the first soda counter in the city at Taylor Drugs, with was very popular.  Everyone who came to town went to Taylor Drugs for a soda.  Some of his customers were of high social status as well including the wife of Governor Michigan Hoke Smith and his son, Marion Smith. 

Herbert married Esther Kahn, the daughter of Marcus Kahn, one of the founders of the Shearith Israel and they had one son, Mark Taylor.

Herbert decided that that was no future in being in the pharmacy business with his brother and so he went into the construction business.  First he built individual houses, mostly by himself with a small crew, selling them for $4,000.  Then he graduated to building apartments, shopping malls and other large projects.  He often donated materials and time to philanthropic projects in Atlanta.

At the time of the interview Herbert was 93 years old and was still working every day in his business, which was now run by his son Mark Taylor.  Herbert died in 1987.


Herbert discusses the background of his parents and his father, Charles’s, arrival in Atlanta, Georgia where he eventually settled into the bakery business.  Herbert discusses his religious education, Orthodox home, helping in the bakery and in his brother’s pharmacy, after getting out of Boys’ High School.  He also discusses his social activities in the form of youth clubs, the Don’t Worry Club and other activities with Jewish youth.

Herbert discusses how he helped create packets of cocaine and morphine in his brother’s pharmacy business (before the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in 1914).  Herbert recalls his father being a founding member and first secretary of Ahavath Achim.

Herbert recalls how he became a pharmacist and discusses how he inaugurated a soda fountain in Taylor Brothers’ Pharmacy, which became very popular and his help to several prominent citizens and doctors in the Atlanta area. 

Herbert also recalls the Leo Frank case and the fear in the Jewish community at the time.  He recalls how later he befriended Alonzo Mann and he told him that Jim Conley wanted to borrow 50 cents from him, which he refused.  Mann believed the Conley had killed Mary Phagan not Leo Frank.

Herbert recalls his time in the service during World War I, when he was trained at Camp Gordon and Camp McClellan, but was never sent overseas.  He experiences the Spanish Flu Epidemic when 2,000 soldiers died each day from the flu.

Herbert recalls leaving the pharmacy business and going into building, first building small houses, the apartment complexes and finally developing malls and other commercial projects.  He recalls the lean years and his relationship with Atlanta’s premier developers and financiers as Altanta entered an explosive growth phase.  He recalls Leon Eplan, Ben Massell, the Makovers, A.L. Feldman, Mandle Zaban, Max and Joseph Cuba, Simon Selig.

He recalls meeting, courting and marrying Esther Kahn and their partnership in marriage and in community philanthropy including projects for Planned Parenthood, the Greenfield Hebrew Academy, Eggleston Children’s Hospital and others. 



Arbuckle, Fatty

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta College of Pharmacy—Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Free Loan Society—Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia—Race riots, 1908

Bach, Benjamin


Bakeries, Jewish

Bar mitzvah

Birmingham, Alabama

Boys’ High School—Atlanta, Georgia

Camp Gordon—Georgia

Camp McClellan—Anniston, Alabama

Candler, Scott


Chiles, John O.


Congregation Ahavath Achim—Atlanta, Georgia

Congregation Shearith Israel—Atlanta, Georgia

Conley, Jim

Construction industry and trade

Don’t Worry Club

Dorfan, Joel

Drugstores industry and trade

Duvall, W.O.

Eggleston Children’s Hospital—Atlanta, Georgia

Eplan, Leon

Epstein, Harry (Rabbi)

Epstein School—Atlanta, Georgia

Feldman, A.L. (Abram)

Frank, Leo—Trial and lynching

Georgia Institute of Technology—Atlanta, Georgia

Geffen, Tobias (Rabbi)

Great Depression, 1929\Greenfield Hebrew Academy—Atlanta, Georgia

Grocery industry and trade

Hirmes, Abraham (Rabbi)

Investors Diversified Services—Atlanta, Georgia


Jewish Educational Alliance—Atlanta, Georgia

Jewish Progressive Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Jews, German

Jews, Russian

Judaism, Orthodox

Judaism—Customs and practices

Kovno, Lithuania

Kriegshaber, Victor

Ku Klux Klan

Kuniansky, Max

Lichtenstein, Morris

Makover, Frances

Makover, SylvanMann, Alonzo

Marx, David (Rabbi)

Massell, Ben

Mayfair Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Military camps


Music Club—Atlanta, Georgia

National Service Industries—Atlanta, Georgia

Nicholas I (Tzar, Russia)


Peddlers and peddling

Phagan, Mary

Pharmacy industry and trade

Phenix Investment—Atlanta, Georgia

Piedmont Park—Atlanta, Georgia

Planned Parenthood

Real estate development

Religious education, Jewish

Rock Springs Apartments—Atlanta, Georgia

Rothberg, Sam


Savannah, Georgia

Selig, Simon




Shopping centers development

Slobodka, Lithuania

Smith, Michael Hoke (Governor, Georgia)

Smith, Marion

Soda fountains

Soldiers, Jewish

Spektor, Yitzchak Elchanan (Rabbi)

Standard Club—Atlanta, Georgia

Taylor, Charles

Taylor, Esther Kahn

Taylor, Herbert

Taylor, Mark

Taylor, Molly Warsaw

Taylor, Moshe

Taylor’s Drugstore—Atlanta, Georgia

Temple—Atlanta, Georgia

Travis, Bert

Travis, Robert

Watson, Dan

World War, 1914-1918

World War, 1939-1945

Yampolsky, Joseph (Dr.)


Yiddish language

Yitzhak Elchanan Yeshiva—Kovno, Lithuania

Young, Clara Kimball

Zaban, Mandle


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