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Murphy-Taylor Family Papers

Identifier: HQBCA-003


This collection includes the professional and personal photographic works of H. Janabelle Murphy Taylor, commonly known as Janabelle or Jane, and her family members. Janabelle was a progam director at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center for 20 years, as well as being a community activist throughout the Twin Cities. Her ancestors were one of the first Black families to willingly move to Minnesota in the late 1800s. In addtition to photographs, this collection includes letters, mixed-material albums, newspaper clippings, and other paper ephemera.

Other notable persons featured in this collection are Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. David Vassar Taylor, Charles A. Zimmerman, and Hallie Q. Brown (the person).


  • Majority of material found within 1880 - 1980
  • 1860 - 2018

Conditions Governing Access

Collections held within Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives will be open to researchers and visitors in the Fall.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain all necessary permissions and determining the nature of any liabilities prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The following is a record of the Murphy-Taylor genealogicial line in brief. Please note that not every member and relation is mentioned here. What follows are all of the major relations to H. Janabelle Murphy-Taylor, as she was the Program Director at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center for many decades, and a visitor and volunteer at Hallie Q. for many years prior to that. Anyone with the desire to research the family should peruse this finding aid in depth, in addition to conducting their own outside research.

The earliest known relation of the Murphy-Taylor family begins with Nancy and Reuben Wallace. They were both born around 1790, with Reuben originating from Guinea and Nancy being a Native American woman. Nancy and Reuben met in the state of Virginia and married eachother soon thereafter. One of their many children, Harriet Wallace, was born around 1835.

Richard Murphy was born in 1812 and freed himself from bondage in the 1840s. Richard's enslaver, a minister named Joseph Murphy, gave him 1000 dollars upon his liberation in Kentucky during the 1840s. He would later meet Harriet Wallace and they would have 13 children together. One of those children was a young man named James Edgar Murphy.

After Richard Murphy's death in 1888, Harriet Wallace Murphy moved to St. Paul, Minnesota with James Edgar and a few of their siblings in 1901. Harriet Wallace died in 1924.

James Edgar Murphy would go on to work at the United States Post Office for the majority of his life. He also spent time as a Sunday School Worker and was a member of the Union Hall Association. He met a woman named Ida Mae in 1910. In 1917, James Edgar and Ida Mae were married. She was his second wife. Ida Mae, born 1888, was the daughter of Ida Gilchrist, and John B. Johnson, both born around 1860. John B. Johnson is known to have been a cook on a private railroad car and was also a United States Postal worker for some portion of his life.

James Edgar and Ida Mae Murphy would then go on to have three children together; Harriet Janabelle, John E. "Buddy" (b.1922), and Richard Murphy. In 1937, James E. Murphy and Earl C. Walker, both of the Union Hall Association, would notarize the warranty deed for Hallie Q. Brown House, Co..

Harriet Janabelle, known simply as Janabelle or Jane, was born in December of 1920. She was educated in St. Paul Public Schools and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in Physcial Education. She began at Hallie Q. as a participant and, later on, was hired as a Girls Worker, and finally retired as the program director of HQB in August of 1982. She has received many community service awards from her church, the Inner City Youth League, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the St. Paul Urban League, the American Camping Association and Minneapolis Public Schools.

She was also an organizer of the United Negro College Fund and a member of the Federation of St. Paul Community Centers. She served on the St. Paul Planning Commission and was a member of serveral social service organizations including the NAACP and National Council of Negro Women. Additionally, she was a teacher at Pilgrim Baptist Church school, she worked with youth groups and was treasurer of the church for over 20 years.

Mr. James Taylor Jr. was born in Alabama around 1920. He graduated from Jefferson County Public Schools in 1938. Eventually, he moved to Minnesota and married Janabelle Murphy in the 1940s. Together they raised three sons in the Rondo Neighborhood; James Lanier Taylor II (b. 1950), Glenn Taylor(b.1951), and Garry Taylor(b.1956).

Many of members of the family go by multiple nick-names with varied spellings.


27.93 Linear Feet (29 containers) : The collection is contained within 15 letter-size document boxes; 2 clamshell boxes,;14 flat file folders of various, custom sizes; and one Rollicord camera in a brown leather case. The collection contains mostly photographic materials, with some other graphic materials such as pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and written correspondence.

Language of Materials



This collection consists of 15 letter-size boxes, 2 clamshell boxes and 12 flate file folders, divided into 5 series

Series I: Portraiture

Series II: Still Lifes and Landscapes

Series III: Photo Albums

Series IV: Other Graphic Materials

Series V: Ephemera and Realia


Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. "Collection Overview: Murphy-Taylor Family Papers". Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives.

Physical Description

Condition of materials is varied.

Murphy-Taylor Family Papers
Created and described by Kayla T. Jackson, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
This finding aid was made possible with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives Repository

270 N. Kent Street
Saint Paul MN 55102 USA