William Johnson Taylor was born in Worcester County, Md., on 13 Oct. 1861. He received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1882. After his residency at Pennsylvania Hospital, he established a private practice in Philadelphia. Taylor's interest in surgery brought him to the attention of William W. Keen, who hired Taylor as his assistant at the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Hospital and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases. Later, Taylor became Attending Surgeon at the hospital.
Taylor became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1889 and was always an active member. He served as a Censor, a member of Council, and Chairman of the Library Committee. Taylor was a key member of the College's Building Fund (1904-1914), the body largely responsible for the erection of the College building on 22nd Street. During World War I, Taylor went overseas with a Pennsylvania Hopital Unit stationed in France. Upon his return from the war, he was elected President of the College of Physicians; he served in this capacity for three years, from 1919 to 1922. It was during Taylor's presidency that Marie Curie visited the College and donated her electrometer to its collections.
The Office of the President of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was established in the 1787 constitution. The constitution states that the president "shall have power to call extraordinary Meetings whenever important, or unexpected Business shall require, of which he shall be the Judge."
The 1834 by-laws give the president authority to sign orders from the treasurer. In 1882, he was given "general supervision of the affairs of the College" and was required to present an annual address. In 1886, President S. Weir Mitchell secured the right to be informed of all committee meetings and attend them if he wished. In 1925, the president was granted ex-officio membership in all standing committees and had the authority to appoint most committee members. The 1972 by-laws require the president to publish his annual address, submit a yearly summary of activities of the College, and appoint all standing committees and designate chairmen. The presidential term is limited to two years. This is  an active office.
From the description of Correspondence of William J. Taylor concerning the visit of Marie Curie to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1920-1923. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122474262