John Taylor, 87, Specialist on Military at Archives, Is Dead





John E. Taylor, a specialist in military history at the National Archives for 63 years and a trusted guide to authors mining the dusty records of past wars, died Saturday at his home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 87.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his niece, Claudia Taylor Walsworth.

Mr. Taylor joined the archives staff in September 1945 at the close of World War II, whose intelligence records would become his particular interest. Despite declining health, he was still at work last week in the archives’ facility in College Park, Md.

For decades, historians and journalists who visited the archives in search of obscure military or intelligence records were invariably referred to Mr. Taylor, who could often direct them to just the documents they needed. Few Americans have been thanked in the acknowledgments of so many books.

“With me as with everyone, Mr. Taylor was generous with his time and with his ideas,” Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States, said Tuesday in a statement. “His distinguished career brought honor to the dogged research enterprise which the archives embodies.”


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