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Taylor, Graham,

1851–1938, American social worker and clergyman, b. Schenectady, N.Y., grad. Rutgers, 1870. Ordained as a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, he served in several pastorates, becoming a Congregationalist in 1880, and teaching at Hartford Theological Seminary beginning in 1888. In 1892, he began teaching social economics at Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1894 he founded Chicago Commons, one of the first social settlements in the country (and modeled on Jane AddamsAddams, Jane,
1860–1935, American social worker, b. Cedarville, Ill., grad. Rockford College, 1881. In 1889, with Ellen Gates Starr, she founded Hull House in Chicago, one of the first social settlements in the United States (see settlement house).
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 Hull House); he was resident warden until his death. He was president (1903–20) of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and was associate editor of the Survey.


See his two autobiographical works, Pioneering on Social Frontiers (1930) and Chicago Commons through Forty Years (1936).

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Taylor, Graham

(1851–1938) Protestant clergyman, civic reformer; born in Schenectady, N.Y. Ordained (1873), he served the Dutch Reformed church in Hopewell, N.Y. (1873–80). Becoming the pastor of the Fourth Congregational Church in West Hartford, Conn. (1880–92), he worked with wayward men and was appointed a professor at the Hartford Theological Seminary (1888) where he taught urban missionary techniques. He left Hartford to head a new department of Christian sociology at the Chicago Theological Seminary—the first institution in the United States to establish such a department (1892–1924). Eager to adapt Christianity to urban problems and involve students, he saw the creation of a settlement house as a means of accomplishing both goals. He and his family and four students were the first inhabitants of Chicago Commons (1894), which eventually occupied a new building and became a model of settlement house design. Equally active in the seminary and in the settlement house movement, he became convinced of the need for trained social workers and helped initiate the first professional course in social work at the University of Chicago (1903). While at the seminary he wrote his first book, Religion in Social Action (1913). He declined the presidency of the seminary (1906) but served as acting president for two years. He appointed his daughter director of Chicago Commons (1921) while continuing to formulate policy and raise funds and work on other civic projects involving labor mediation, education, politics, and social reform.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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