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Audiocassettes, 1985-2000


Collection Overview

From the Collection:

This collection consists of the papers of John Martin Taylor, also known as Hoppin’ John, American food writer and culinary historian of the American South. The papers span the years from 1935 to 2018 and include biographical materials; assorted writings including manuscripts, speeches, published essays and articles, diaries; working files; materials relating to his store Hoppin’ John's; and other materials related to his professional and personal life. Topics include Lowcountry cooking and culinary history as well as art, Taylor’s travels and personal life.

Biographical materials relating to Taylor’s personal life document travel, education, his marriage, and Taylor's work in the culinary field. The materials in his personal files include clippings, awards, congratulatory cards, and a scrapbook. There are also writings by Taylor including manuscripts of articles, speeches, cookbooks including Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking, and unpublished short stories, fiction and nonfiction books. Also included are Taylor’s diaries containing entries recording his travels abroad, language studies, and social life as a gay/bisexual man. Diaries occasionally contain pencil sketches and photographs by Taylor and friends along with newspaper clippings. There are also assorted published magazine and newspaper articles written by Taylor for Gastronomica magazine, the New York Times and Omnibus newspapers, and other publications. Note: original folder titles are in quotation marks and have been retained where possible.

There are also working files that Taylor assembled while researching and composing his articles, speeches, lectures, potential books, and other works. Working files contain correspondence, contracts, research notes, drafts, and published copies of his works. The bulk of the working files are for articles that Taylor wrote for various publications, including Omnibus, The Washington Post, Gastronomica, and Gourmet. Also included are his working files for lectures and speeches given at various museums, symposiums, and dinners, including the Smithsonian, along with research notes, associated event flyers, and correspondence relating to the event. Working files for books contain research notes, correspondence, and clippings Taylor collecting during the writing process. Also included are working files of Taylor's poetry and song lyrics.

The collection also includes materials relating to Taylor’s online and brick-and-mortar store Hoppin’ John’s, consisting of promotional materials, photographs, brochures, and newsletters. Since much of the store was destroyed during Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the collection has very few materials relating to the store from the years 1986-1989. The materials that are included in the collection mostly relate to the online store and describe events Taylor participated in as a store representative.

The papers also include assorted correspondence between John Martin Taylor and his friends and family, mostly about life events or holidays. Taylor had a large collection of mail art (art designed to be sent through the postal service) created by friends, relatives, and fellow artists, including members of The B-52s. A few mail art pieces created by Taylor are also included in the collection. Many of the pieces are sections of paintings, collaged postcards, or original photographs taken by the sender, and are about camp subjects. There is also a large collection of mass-produced postcards. Most are postcards received, since friends and family knew that Taylor collected postcards, and sent postcards so that he could grow his collection. He particularly collected vintage postcards, and postcards with camp subjects, pigs, or Elizabeth Taylor. The collection does include some postcards sent by Taylor which he then took back from the recipient and added to his collection. Also included are assorted letters, cards, printed emails, faxes, and invitations sent and received. Most of the assorted correspondence is between Taylor and his friends and family, and topics are usually personal life events, publishing, and politics.

There are also loose photographs, slides, and photograph albums from throughout Taylor's life. Images are mostly of gatherings and events with Taylor, friends, and family, including members of the band The B-52s (Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, and Ricky Wilson), artist Mary Edna Fraser, Taylor's sister Susan Highfield, and Taylor's husband Mikel Herrington. Also included are numerous images from Taylor’s travels in Provence, Greece, and Italy.

Also included is a small amount of artwork created by Taylor consisting of drawings and photographs. Subjects of the artwork include architecture, nature, friends, and food. Also included are handmade collage books created for Taylor by family and friends as gifts on special occasions. There are also assorted writings by other authors collected by Taylor including poems, manuscripts, and published material. Notable authors include the poet Kent Brown (1952-2003) and the culinary historian Karen Hess (1918-2007). There is also his mother Rebecca Martin Taylor's handwritten cookbook.

Audiovisual materials in the collection include audiocassettes, compact discs, and a videocassette. The audiocassettes contain appearances on various radio cooking shows, mostly the public radio show The Splendid Table. Topics discussed are Lowcountry cooking and his cookbooks. Other audiocassettes also contain lectures and interviews conducted by Taylor. One notable interview is with artist Sam Doyle at Doyle’s home on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, shortly before Doyle passed away. Compact discs contain a recording of The Splendid Table where Taylor discussed food in Sri Lanka, and assorted digital files including manuscript drafts, correspondence, recipes, and Hoppin' John's company information. A single video reel has clips of Taylor, all shorter than 10 minutes, including FoodNation with Bobby Flay, and a pilot TV show.


  • Creation: 1985-2000


Language of Material

From the Collection:

Materials are in English, Italian, French, and Mandarin Chinese

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 16.0 linear feet (8 cartons, 1 document box, 4 flat boxes, 3 postcard boxes, 1 oversize paper folder, 8 compact discs, 2 3.5" inch floppy disks, 15 audiocassettes, 1 videocassette)

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)