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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

TAYLOR, SOPHIA ELIZABETH STRONG

TAYLOR, SOPHIA ELIZABETH STRONG

TAYLOR, SOPHIA ELIZABETH STRONG (5 May 1861-25 Sept. 1936) was principal owner of the WILLIAM TAYLOR & SON COMPANY department store from 1892 until her death. She was also known for her philanthropies, including St. Luke's Convalescent Home and missionary activities of the Presbyterian church.

Born in Mexico, Missouri to Charles and Elizabeth Roe Strong, Mrs. Taylor moved to Cleveland as a child, being educated through private schools and tutors. She married John Livingstone Taylor, president of Taylor's department store, on April 30, 1890. When Taylor died in 1892, Sophia inherited the business.   In 1902 William Taylor Son & Co. was incorporated with Mrs. Taylor serving as president until 1935 when she became chairwoman of the board. In business Mrs. Taylor was considered a progressive who modernized operations. Under her leadership Taylor's moved to 630 Euclid Avenue and expanded greatly.

Choosing not to remarry and having no children, Mrs. Taylor divided her time between the store and her philanthropic interests. Deeply religious, her charitable instincts led to the creation of St. Luke's Convalescent Home, a private children's hospital located on her Bratenahl estate in 1924.

Viewing her employees as "family", she spent many hours out in the store getting to know them. She turned over one of her homes as an employees' summer retreat and often lent money in times of need. They returned her generosity with unswerving loyalty and commitment to maintain the store's high quality. The store observed her death by closing its doors the day she was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.