Lillian Marie Gary, known affectionately as Lillie, was born near Baltimore in 1865. The fourth of ten children and the eldest of seven surviving sisters, Lillian was part of a large, loving family. Her parents, James Albert Gary and Lavinia Corrie Gary, were a wonderful influence on their childrens’ lives. Lillian remembers that her parents encouraged their childrens’ “love of the fine and beautiful before we knew what was fine and beautiful” (113).
Lillian’s deep appreciation of literature and the performing arts reflects this upbringing. While Lillian was growing up, her family split their time between the 1200 Linden Avenue, in the Bolton Hill area of Baltimore, and the Summit, their summer home in Catonsville, Maryland. Both of these places were lively, well-loved homes. The Garys loved to host parties for their friends, and regularly had visitors stopping to court any of their seven daughters.
Lillian’s experiences in Baltimore society prepared her to act as her father’s hostess while he served as the Postmaster General under President William McKinley. A close friend of the Gary family, President McKinley attended Lillian’s marriage to Robert Coleman Taylor in 1900.
The Taylors moved to New York, where Mr. Taylor, an alumnus of the University of Virginia law school, served as Assistant District Attorney of the County of New York from 1902 to 1934. In New York, Mrs. Taylor spent her time working on her collection of popular American fiction, fund raising projects, and journals such as Memories. She died in 1961, at the age of 96.