Memories, by Lillian Gary Taylor

Through Lillian Gary Taylor’s Memories we glimpse the life of a late nineteenth-, early twentieth-century American family. In 1936, Mrs. Taylor set about chronicling her recollections of growing up in Baltimore society. After many years’ delay, she began work on this final version of Memories, on September 10, 1943, the day after Italy surrendered in World War II. At this time she felt a sense of urgency in her work on Memories. Although she would live to the impressive age of 96, she states in her Preface, “I dare not wait. I am much nearer 78 than 77 years old, and while [my] brain is clear, and my hand is steady, I must begin to write” (ii). Memories is filled with details of her daily life, as well as charming episodes recalled with wonderful clarity.

Memories was originally begun in two pink leather volumes that Mrs. Taylor loved, but the advent of World War II made it impossible to attain matching volumes to continue the project. The collection now consists of five large leather-bound volumes specially made for Mrs. Taylor by Charles Scribner’s Sons during World War II (ii). Each volume is filled with photographs, letters, and other memorabilia, such as newspaper articles and menu inserts. Mrs. Taylor took great care in recording her memories and supplementing them with these materials, providing remarkable documentation of her adventures growing up.

Lillian and Minnie

Lillian (right) and Sister Minnie

In all, her Memories span fives separate volumes.

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Volume V