This biography of one of New Mexico's most distinguished citizens, J Paul Taylor (born 1920) recounts the life of the legislator, educator, community leader, and arts patron. J Paul Taylor was born to a pioneering New Mexico family. Taylor's mother, Margarita Romero y Lopez, was born in 1881 in Romeroville, near Las Vegas, New Mexico, to wealthy traders and merchants on the Santa Fe Trail who were instrumental in the development of Las Vegas as a commercial centre. Margarita and her husband Robert Taylor, settled in the Mesilla Valley near Las Cruces, where, in 1945, son J Paul and his bride Mary Daniels set up home. In 1947 the young couple relocated to Mesilla, where J Paul Taylor began his thirty-nine-year career in education. He was first elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1986, a position he held until his retirement in 2004. In 1953 Taylor and his wife purchased the historic Barela-Reynolds property on the plaza in Old Mesilla, two miles from Las Cruces.
The Taylor's home today is one of the great architecturally and historically significant properties in southern New Mexico, filled with a world-class collection of art from New Mexico, the Southwest, North and South America, Mexico, and Europe. On the National Register of Historic Properties, the property was dedicated a New Mexico State Monument in 2004. Ana Pacheco extensively interviewed Taylor and many of his family members while writing the story of Taylor's remarkable life in New Mexico. The book is illustrated with historical and family photographs as well as contemporary photographs of the Taylor Monument and art collections.