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Activist Women Oral History Project: T

Taylor, Judith G.

Interviewee: Judith Taylor
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: January 19, 2010
Extent: 93 pages; 2 compact discs; 1 DVD

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: April 29, 2010
Extent: 87 pages; 2 compact discs; 1 DVD

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: April 21, 2011
Extent: 71 pages; 2 compact discs; 1 DVD


Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1936, Judith Taylor graduated at age 19 from Brandeis University and moved to Atlanta after her marriage to Mark Taylor.

As State Public Affairs Chair for the National Council of Jewish Women, Taylor lobbied in the state legislature on issues relating to women, children, and the elderly, including the ERA, changing rape laws, and juvenile justice. She campaigned for the first female Atlanta City Council members and helped to found Vote Choice, a Georgia PAC. She was also a founding mother of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. the first woman to serve as Vice President of the Planning and Allocation Division of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, and the second woman Vice President of its Community and Government Relations Division. Judith is an alumni, as well as alumni chair, trustee and treasurer of Leadership Atlanta, and a lifetime member of the Board of the Southeast Region of the Anti-defamation League.

Taylor has been recognized for her many accomplishments: in 1984, she was a member of the first YWCA Academy of Women Achievers. Then, in 2008, she and Mark were the recipients of the Jerry and Dulcy Rosenberg SHORASHIM Award, and in 2010, they were both recipients of Planned Parenthood of Georgia’s Living Legends Award.

Abstract, January 19, 2010:
Judith Taylor begins by talking about her childhood, her relationships with family members, and the history of her grandparents and parents’ lives.  Taylor describes her memories of summer camp as a child, as well as how the polio outbreak affected her summers. Placed on an advanced track at school, Taylor found herself entering college at Brandeis University at age 15. She talks about her experiences at Brandies, and campus events that occurred during the McCarthy period. After graduating from Brandeis, Taylor met her husband Mark and they settled down in Atlanta. Taylor discusses her community involvement in organizations such as the Brandeis Women’s Committee, Hadassah, the League of Women Voters, and ORT. Moving onto family life, the Taylors developed their own subdivision in which to raise their children, and Taylor talks about living in that neighborhood and raising her children in the Atlanta school system. She finishes by discussing travelling with her family, and winning her battle against breast cancer.

Abstract, April 29, 2010:
The interview conducted April 29, 2010, centers around Taylor's family and religious life, philanthropic career, and political activism. She discusses her mother-in-law Esther, a founder of Planned Parenthood of Atlanta, her daughter Elaine, a pro-choice activist, and her husband Mark, a philanthropist. She speaks about her activism in support of children's issues including juvenile justice reform, her commitment to reproductive freedom grounded in part on the tragic personal experience of an employee, and her award with her husband as Planned Parenthood "Living Legends." Much of the interview focuses on Taylor's work with the National Council of Jewish Women, including efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia. She attributes its defeat to the lack of a solid, unified message and the lack of coordination among groups supporting it. Taylor discusses the many boards on which she served including the United Way, Atlanta Jewish Federation, and the Atlanta Metropolitan Community Foundation. 

Abstract, April 21, 2011:
Judith Taylor opens her third and final oral history by discussing her extensive involvement with numerous Jewish groups around Atlanta. Beginning with her involvement of the oral history project with the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Taylor also highlights her work with other organizations including: Hadassah, the Atlanta Jewish Federation, AMIT, the Anti-Defamation League, the League of Jewish Voters, and the Brandeis Women’s Committee. Taylor moves on to discuss her time in the Leadership Atlanta class of 1978, as well as her continued engagement with that organization. In 1984, Taylor was awarded entrance to the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, and she describes her immersion in the YWCA, both with the Academy and on the Board of the YWCA. Because of her heavy involvement on boards and in volunteer organizations throughout her lifetime, Taylor is able to provide insight into the contrast between corporate women who volunteer versus women who support themselves or do not work. She does this in the context of her work with the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. She discusses her role in founding the organization, the foundation’s practices, participating on the Alumni Board, as well as how the organization has evolved since its origins. Convincing females to donate freely has been a challenge faced by Taylor all her life, and she illustrates this challenge through her story of the Vote Choice Luncheon triumph. Taylor concludes her oral histories by discussing her current life, including her philanthropic practices with her husband Mark, her work with the High Museum and as an independent art collector, and by giving advice on the future of America to young women.

Taylor-Klaus, Elaine

Interviewee: Elaine Taylor Klaus
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: February 2, 2009
Extent: 86 pages; 3 compact discs

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: May 22, 2009
Extent: 72 pages; 2 compact discs


Elaine Taylor-Klaus has followed a lifelong mission to pursue justice and empowerment. Born 1964 as a third generation Atlantan, Taylor-Klaus attended Wesleyan College and proceeded to become a CORO fellow in New York.  After completing her education, she focused on women’s rights issues, particularly family planning and choice. She did so by serving on the NYC Commission on the Status of Women, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Governor’s Council for Maternal and Infant Health for the state of Georgia. One of Taylor-Klaus’ most notable acts for the Pro- Choice movement was her creation of one of the largest independent PACs in Georgia, Vote Choice. After marrying David and having three children with ADHD, Elaine turned her activism to Public Health and families with children with learning disabilities. Taylor-Klaus is the co-founder of ImpactADHD, a resource for parents raising children with ADHD. Recently, she created Touchstone Coaching with her husband and business partner.

Abstract, February 2, 2009:
Elaine Taylor-Klaus begins her oral history by discussing her grandparents, both maternal and paternal, and the relationships she had with both them and her parents. She continues by describing her relationship with her former friend David Klaus, who would become her husband and business partner. Together they have three children, and Taylor-Klaus details their familial bonds, and how they have overcome the challenges of being a family with learning disabilities. After discussing her family life, Taylor-Klaus touches on her education, recounting her experiences at Lovett, Wesleyan, and her time as a CORO fellow in New York. It was during her years in school that her passion for women’s rights was established, and she discusses her involvement with the women’s movement, including her work with the Settlement House, and  Pathfinders, organizing a March on Washington for women’s reproductive rights, and developing Vote Choice in Georgia. Taylor-Klaus also worked with Georgians for Choice and Planned Parenthood, which she also highlights.

Abstract, May 22, 2009:
Taylor-Klaus begins her second oral history by further discussing her work with Georgians for Choice, particularly in relation to other groups, including NOW and GARAL, and also in relation to the minorities in the movement at that time. She goes on to describe her work for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Southern Region Office, including details about her work during the Summer Siege in Baton Rouge and the relationships and contrasts between the different Southeastern affiliates. She then discusses deeply emotional experiences volunteering for the Women in Need Fund. After leaving the Fund, Taylor-Klaus taught pregnancy yoga at the Pierce Yoga Program and she talks about her time as a teacher as well as sharing her own labor and pregnancy journey, before describing her role in the Georgia Governor’s Council on Maternal and Infant Health. She ruminates on the essential traits needed to be a productive activist and gives advice about the importance of securing a solid education and a distinct career path before growing a family. Taylor-Klaus finishes her oral history by discussing her more recent projects including developing the Edison Garden subdivision for her family, and her newfound love for life coaching and blogging.

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