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L.D. Taylor sousfonds
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- Textual record
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- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of sousfonds
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Dates of creation area
- Taylor, Louis Denison
Physical description area
- 1.45 m of textual records
- 998 photographs
- 24 objects
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Louis Denison (L.D.) Taylor was born to Gustavus and Amy (nee Denison) Taylor on July 22, 1857 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was educated in the public school system in Ann Arbor and brought up a Congregationalist.
After graduating from high school, L.D. secured a position at the University of Michigan Library. In the mid-1880’s, he was a partner in a truss company and bicycle business in Ann Arbor, and a teller at the First National Bank. In 1891 he moved to Chicago to work as an assistant auditor for the Wabash Railroad.
The following year, on May 26, L.D. married Annie Louise Pierce, the daughter of Chicago architect Osborne J. Pierce and his wife Caroline. Subsequently, L.D. began work as an accountant at a lumber company. In August 1896, L.D. was arrested for charges of embezzlement relating to his partnership in the North and Taylor Bank on West Madison Avenue in Chicago, and fled north to Canada. He arrived in Vancouver on September 8, 1896.
Due to a lack of job opportunities in Vancouver, L.D. left the city in early 1897 in search of work, travelling to California, Texas and Colorado, where he found employment selling newspaper subscriptions. By spring he returned to British Columbia to do some prospecting at Harrison Lake and in the Cassiar District. Unsuccessful with these ventures, he secured a job as a baggage clerk with the Canadian Pacific Railway in Revelstoke. In May 1898, he left for the Klondike to try prospecting a second time; unsuccessful in his efforts, he returned to Vancouver in the fall and acquired a job as a freight handler with the CPR.
In 1899 L.D. secured employment with The Daily Province as manager of its circulation department. He lived across the street from the newspaper, in a boarding house on Hastings Street, until he purchased a home in Fairview, at approximately 8th Avenue and Willow Street, in 1899.
L.D.’s first son, Theodore (Ted) Pierce Taylor, was born on September 5, 1896. Annie and Ted joined L.D. in Vancouver in 1901, and the family settled in the Fairview house. A second son, Kenneth (Ken), was born in 1902. In 1906, L.D. and Annie separated; Annie left Vancouver with Ted and Ken, to live with her parents in Los Angeles. After residing for a short time in the West End, L.D. moved into the Granville Mansions apartments at 715 Robson Streets in 1909.
In May 1905, L.D. purchased The Vancouver Daily World newspaper (also called The Daily World, The Vancouver World, and The World) with funds raised from investors. In 1912, having greatly boosted the newspaper’s circulation, Taylor constructed the World Building at 500 Beatty Street, to house the newspaper's production, and to provide commercial rental space. For two years, it was the tallest building in the British Empire. However, due to an economic recession, Taylor was unable to rent the additional space. The paper went into debt, and he was forced to sell it in 1915.
While still living in Ann Arbor, L.D. had run unsuccessfully for Alderman. His political career in Vancouver began with a successful bid for one of two available positions of Licence Commissioner in 1902. In 1903 he was not successful and neither was he in his bids for alderman in 1904 and 1905. He was, however, appointed by Council to serve on the Library Board and the Building Committee of the Carnegie Library in 1903.
In 1909, while owner of The World, L.D. ran for Mayor of Vancouver, but lost. He was elected the following year. This would be the first of nine mayoral election wins. Excluding the period 1916 to 1921, L.D. ran for Mayor in every civic election until 1938; he was elected Mayor in 1910, 1911, 1915, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1930 and 1932 (a total of eleven years). In 1935 and 1937 he ran unsuccessfully for Alderman.
As Mayor, L.D.’s contributions included the construction of the Sea Island Airport; the establishment of a Town Planning Commission, The Greater Vancouver Water District Board, a juvenile court, and an eight hour work day for civic employees; and the amalgamation of Vancouver with South Vancouver and Point Grey. L.D. also played leading roles in the construction of the Second Narrows, Burrard Street, and Lion’s Gate bridges; the development of False Creek; and the creation of a City Archives. As a champion of the “Single-Tax System,” he introduced municipal tax revisions, and removed taxes on improvements. He was an advocate for universal sufferage and the working class.
In 1916 L.D. and Annie were divorced and Taylor married Alice Helena Berry, who had been the Managing Director of The World for several years. Berry passed away in 1919, and Taylor never married again.
L.D. did not abandon the publishing business after the sale of The World. During his brief retirement from politics, 1916 to 1924, he established several publications, including The Critic, The B.C. Mining News, and The Vancouver Oil and Mining Record.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, L.D. experienced some setbacks to his health. While exiting an airplane in1928, he was seriously injured by the plane’s propeller. The following year, he nearly drowned while boating in the Parsnip River. In July 1932, L.D. suddenly took ill and was unable to attend to his civic duties for five months.
After his last term in office in 1934, L.D. maintained a strong interest in Vancouver’s political affairs. In 1937 he began publishing a small newspaper called The New Deal, which he used to comment on the current civic administration and to promote his aldermanic campaign platform.
In his private time, he was a member of several clubs and organizations, including The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks (Elks Club), the Loyal Order of Moose, the Turf Club, and the Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan.
L.D. passed away on June 4, 1946 at age 88.
Records were accumulated by L.D. Taylor in the course of his civic, business and personal activities, and maintained in his residence by him until his death. Following his death, his son Ted Taylor sorted through the records and transported them to his residence in Los Angeles. Circa 1980, the records came into the custody of Ted's grandson, Roy Werbel of California, who was the custodian of the records until their purchase by the City of Vancouver Archives in 2005.
Scope and content
Sousfonds consists of records relating to L.D. Taylor s activities as Mayor of Vancouver; his financial and business activities, including those relating to mining and property interests and his ownership of The Vancouver World, The New Deal, and The Vancouver Oil and Mining Record; his private life; and his family and other personal relationships. The records document the civic administration of the City of Vancouver, and the decisions, events and attitudes that influenced its development, particularly in the first four decades of the twentieth century.
It is arranged into 6 records series: Correspondence and subject files (1893-1946); Newspapers and clippings (1873-1875, 1901-); Financial records (1913-1941); Reports and publications (1911-1930); Photographs ([189-]-1946); and Artifacts [1910?]-1929
Document types include correspondence, newspapers and clippings, photographs, contracts, leases and other legal and financial documents, election material, reports and publications, account books, receipts, stock certificate books, date books, note books, political cartoons, ephemera, and artifacts.
Immediate source of acquisition
Records were arranged by Ted Taylor following L.D.'s death.
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Access to some of the records in this fonds is restricted. Please consult the archivist
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Related records may be found in Add. MSS. 54 Major Matthews collection, Topical and categorical files and Collected photographs series, CVA 99 Stuart Thomson fonds, Add. MSS. 69 H. H. Stevens fonds, and Add. MSS. 336 Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association fonds, Collected photographs series.
Biographical sketch based on records and information in Daniel Francis book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (Vancouver: 2004), and Mary Rawson's article "Eight Times Mayor of Vancouver, Single Tax Taylor: Louis Denison Taylor, 1857-1946" British Columbia Historical News, vol. 34, no. 1, Winter 2000