Harvey Grant Taylor was born in San Francisco, California, on July 22, 1903, to Stella May (Benson) and Benjamin Rush Taylor. When he was five, his family moved to the Canadian wilderness near Calgary. His formal schooling did not begin until the family returned to California when he was twelve. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from San Jose State College in 1928 and a Master of Arts in education from Stanford in 1929. While pursuing a doctorate in psychology at Stanford, he enrolled at Duke University School of Medicine, completed his studies in just over three years, and obtained his medical degree in 1939. He interned at Duke Hospital 1939-1940, was an assistant resident there 1940-1941, and served as a pediatric resident and assistant in research in pathology at Alfred I. DuPont Institute 1941-1942. He met married Martha Worth "Pat" Rogers in Atlanta, Georgia in 1942; they had two sons. Taylor served in the Army Medical Corps for which he received a Bronze Star and a battlefield promotion for his work under fire in Okinawa. After the war, Lt. Colonel Taylor returned to Duke as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Professor of Bacteriology, and Assistant Dean of the School of Medicine 1946-1947, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Professor and Associate Dean there 1947-1949. He returned to Japan between 1949 and 1951 as Deputy Medical Director for Research with the ABCC and as a consultant for the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board in Korea. He served as Director of the ABCC from 1952 to 1954.
Dr. Taylor’s forty-one-year association with MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, began in 1954. He became MDAH’s first chief of the Section of Pediatrics, and he organized and headed the UT Postgraduate School of Medicine in Houston, which became the UT Health Science Center’s Division of Continuing Education. He retired in 1975 but continued his affiliation with MDAH and the Division of Continuing Education. In 1977, he was named Emeritus Director of Continuing Education at the UT Health Science Center. In 1985, he was named Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at MDAH where his program of care that addressed the social, emotional, and medical needs of pediatric cancer patients formed the foundation for MDAH’s current system of pediatric therapy that integrates medical care and normal childhood development. When he was 87 he implemented an aluminum recycling program at MDAH that continues to generate thousands of research dollars annually.
Dr. Taylor’s ABCC experiences convinced him that teamwork and collaboration were necessary to obtain maximum benefit from medical research and education. He acknowledged parents’ heroic magnanimity and contributions as research partners when they granted permission to use experimental drugs that they were aware could not improve the condition of their child., "but if you can learn something that might help somebody else, go ahead and do it." In the late 1950s, his belief in cooperative research led Dr. Taylor to organize the first collaborative research group in the southwestern region of the U. S., the Southwest Cancer Chemotherapy Study Group, known today as the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG as of 2010).
Dr. Taylor authored scores of articles for medical journals, reports for the ABCC, chapters for medical texts, and editorials throughout his career. In 1990 he published Pioneers in Pediatric Oncology, a collection of autobiographies of thirty-nine of the major contributors to the remarkable progress in this discipline. In 1991 he published Remembrances & Reflections, an autobiography edited by N. Don Macon and John P. McGovern, M.D. He received recognition for his humanitarian achievements through the years. In 1969 he received a special award from the Leukemia Society, in 1973 a $1,000 award from the Center for Interaction, a private Houston foundation, and a certificate of appreciation from the Regional Medical Program of Texas and Texas Regional Medical Program, Inc. He was given honorary Emeritus membership on the Pediatric Executive Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group in 1974 and the American School Health Association Award in 1975. In June and August 1975 tributes were organized in his honor by the UT System and the Harris County Medical Society, respectively. The annual Grant Taylor Lectureship was established by the UT Health Science Center in 1981. Among other honors, he was also given Life Membership in the DeMolay Legion of Honor and, in 1986, the Sidney Kaliski Award from the Texas Pediatric Society, a chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.Dr. Taylor died September 19, 1995. He has an entry in the Handbook of Texas Online.