Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Taylor, James Fauntleroy

by Maury York

21 Sept. 1821–31 Aug. 1903

James Fauntleroy Taylor, state librarian, the son of North Carolina attorney general James Fauntleroy and Eliza Leonora Taylor, was born in Raleigh. He attended The University of North Carolina, where he joined the Dialectic Society, and was graduated with the A.B. degree in 1841. The university, as was frequently done, granted him an unearned A.M. degree in 1844. Taylor read law and obtained a license but never practiced. In February 1843 the trustees of the state library appointed him state librarian, a position he held until February 1854. He was the first person to manage the library on a full-time basis. On 30 Oct. 1850 Governor Charles Manly selected him to prepare North Carolina's exhibit at the Exposition of the Industry of All Nations, held in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London.

A member of the Historical Society of North Carolina, Taylor in 1870 was appointed to a committee to obtain from Mrs. David Lowry Swain books and manuscripts claimed by the society. During the Civil War he was a petty officer on the blockade-runner Ad-Vance. An active Republican, Taylor served as a trustee of The University of North Carolina in 1868 and from 1870 to 1874. He considered himself a Roman Catholic but was not active in a specific church. He enjoyed writing poetry, for which he gained some recognition, and referred to himself as the "bard of Rhamkatte." Taylor died in Raleigh, never having married, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.


Dialectic Society, Catalogue of the Members of the Dialectic Society, Instituted in the University of North Carolina June 3, 1795, Together with Historical Sketches (1890)

H. G. Jones, For History's Sake: The Preservation and Publication of North Carolina History, 1663–1903 (1966)

Letter Book of Governor Charles Manly (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh)

Raleigh News and Observer, 2 Sept. 1903

Raleigh North Carolinian, 3 Sept. 1903

Glen Tucker, Zeb Vance: Champion of Personal Freedom (1965)

Wake County Estates Records, 1772–1941 (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh)