‘Carolina music royalty’ Taylor family to join UNC collection

The family whose son has “gone to Carolina in his mind” is becoming a permanent facet in the annals of Southern history.

The Taylor family, known for folk musician James Taylor, will have some of its personal records featured as a collection in UNC’s Southern Historical Collection, located in Wilson Library.

The collection, “Taylor Family Papers,” will constitute one of the 5,000 collections within the Southern Historical Collection.

Tim West, director of the Southern Historical Collection, said he is looking forward to the Taylors’ cultural contribution to Southern history.

“Our mission is to document the cultural life of this area, and you’d be remiss not to include the Taylors,” West said.

West said so far the library has received a set of oral history interviews with Trudy Taylor that were filmed by her granddaughter, Liz Witham.

“We’re aiming for a collection that would document all members of the family,” West said.

“This includes photographs, correspondences … audio recordings, anything that would help to detail the family.”

West said the Taylors have significant ties to Chapel Hill and to UNC.

James Taylor and his siblings grew up in Chapel Hill. Their father, Isaac, UNC alumnus of 1942, was dean of the UNC School of Medicine from 1964 to 1971.

The medical school’s Taylor Hall was named after him.

To celebrate his family’s contribution to the Southern Historical Collection, Ben Taylor — son of James Taylor and Carly Simon — performed at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro in October with his aunt, Kate Taylor. The celebration coincided with his grandmother Trudy Taylor’s 90th birthday.

Tess Mangum Ocana, concerts director for the ArtsCenter, said she was excited the venue was able to be a part of the ceremony.

“We’ve never had any of the Taylors before, and we’re very happy that the Southern Historical Collection asked us to be a part of this,” she said.

“The Taylors are North Carolina music royalty. We have a special place in our hearts for them.”

Ben Taylor said he is honored by his family’s recognition in the collection.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “I can still remember hanging out with the family in Chapel Hill. It’s really an honor — not that I believe that our family deserves any such recognition.”

West said the collection is an ongoing archival project, with no immediate end in sight.

“Like many archival collections of individuals and families, building the Taylor family collection is an ongoing project.”

Contact the desk editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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