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Mon, 03.03.1884

An early Olympian, John Baxter Taylor

John Taylor

*John Baxter Taylor Jr. was born on this date in 1884. He was a Black veterinarian and Olympic track star.

From Washington, D.C., he was educated at Central High School, Philadelphia and Brown Preparatory before entering the University of Pennsylvania.  Within a few weeks of earning his degree in Veterinary Medicine, Taylor crowned his achievement with Olympic gold at the London games in July 1908.  The gold-medal-winning team for the 1,600-meter relay included Nathaniel Cartmell, Melvin Sheppard, William Hamilton and John Baxter Taylor, one of America’s first Black Olympic champions.

A glowing tribute to John Baxter Taylor’s athletic and academic accomplishments appeared in the yearbook of the Vet School Class of ‘08. The yearbook stated: "We of the Class of 1908 are proud and can boast of having one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known." Tragically, John Taylor’s promising career and remarkable achievements were cut short by his death from typhoid pneumonia, December 2, 1908.

University Archives
North Arcade, Franklin Field
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6320

To become a Veterinarian


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