Donor Story

Taylor Sisters Library Fund Honors Special Sibling Bond

Sally, Cecilia, Elizabeth and Virginia Taylor were a tight-knit group of sisters born between 1904 and 1908. They grew up in Norfolk, Virginia’s Colonial Place neighborhood with their widowed mother (their father died when they were all 5 and under) and attended Maury High School.

“They were raised poor but were proud,” the late J. Hume Taylor Jr. of Norfolk once said of his mother Cecilia (Teah) Taylor, second oldest of the siblings. An uncle who was a New York Priest supplied their stylish clothing and their mother’s cousin, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, often wrote plays for the sisters.

The sisters volunteered in their communities and shared a love of reading – especially British novels and murder mysteries. Taylor liked to say that, “None had more than a high school education, but the sisters educated themselves with books.”

As adults, the sisters even shared the same profession. Teah Taylor, like older sister Sally Taylor Abeles, worked as a secretary until marrying and settling in Norfolk. Younger sister Elizabeth (Tommy) Taylor Little was also a secretary until she married and moved to Virginia Beach. Youngest sister Virginia (Gigi) Taylor ventured to Richmond where she worked for most of her life as a secretary at the state Alcohol Beverage Control board.

After Tommy and Gigi died in the late 1990s, family members wanted to create a lasting tribute to all four sisters that honored their love of reading. They chose to create a designated fund the Taylor Sisters Library Fund that provides annual grants to the Norfolk Public Library. Since 2000, the fund has given out $31,483 in grants that have paid for books and enhanced the library’s preschool literacy programs.

Another component of the fund provides field of interest funding for organizations serving minority, poor or homeless people in Norfolk.

The last sister, Teah, died in 2005, but the Taylor sisters' legacies live on forever through the charitable fund that bears their names.

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