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Herbert John Davis Personal Papers, 1893-1973
6 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 32

Abstract:
Fourth president of Smith College, Professor of English, and world renowned expert on Jonathan Swift. Contains material primarily related to his personal life including correspondence, speeches, publications, photographs, newspaper articles, and memorabilia.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Herbert John Davis was born on May 24, 1893 in Northamptonshire, England, where he received his elementary and secondary education. He later attended Oxford University (St. John's College) from which he graduated in 1914. He then served in France and Belgium during WWI and in 1919 he returned to Oxford to earn his A.M. In 1922, Davis married Gertrude Lucas of Opladen, Rheinland, Germany but she died tragically just six years later. In 1930, Davis married Gladys Wookey of Toronto and the couple had two daughters, Charlotte Elisabeth Ann and Jane.

In 1920, Davis acquired a position at the University of Leeds where he taught for two years. He then moved to the University of Toronto where he remained for sixteen years. Davis was hired as an Associate Professor of English, and later promoted to a full Professor. He also served as Chair of the English department. In 1938, Davis accepted a position as Chair of the English department at Cornell University.

In 1939, Davis succeeded William Allan Neilson as president of Smith College and he assumed this role for the 1940-1941 school year. Davis served as the fourth president of Smith College until 1949 when he returned to Oxford as a reader in textual criticism. Davis retired from Oxford in 1960.

During his academic career, Davis made several notable contributions. Following his passion for poetry and prose, Davis became a world renowned expert on Jonathan Swift and wrote several books on his work including Swift's View of Poetry (1931) and Stella, a Gentlewoman of the Eighteenth Century (1942). The latter is an account of the friendship that existed between Swift and Esther Johnson. Davis also edited the fourteen volume work, The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift (1939-68). Davis' distinguished literary contributions were well recognized and he received several honorary degrees including a Doctorate of Laws from Amherst College in 1940.

In addition to his enthusiasm for the English language, Davis was also extremely socially conscious and particularly concerned with WWII raging overseas. Perhaps his most memorable act of charity was providing a home to five British refugee children for several years during the war. Many of his colleagues and friends followed his lead and opened their doors to children in need. Davis died on March 28, 1967.

1893Born on May 24, at Long Buckby, Northamponshire, England. Son of Carter and Martha Ann (Sheldon) Davis.
1905Educated at Northampton Grammar School.
1911St. John's College, Oxford.
1912Pass Moderations (Classics)
1914B.A.; Honour School of English Language and Literature.
1915Reading for Anglican Orders, Wells Theological College.
1916-1919War Service--gunner, R.G.A.; subaltern with 301 Siege Battery, France and Belgium; acting-adjutant, 4th Brigade, R.G.A., Army of Occupation.
1919M.A., Oxford.
1920Lecturer in English, University of Leeds.
1922Associate Professor English, University College, Toronto. Married Gertrude Lucas of Opladen, Rheinland, Germany.
1924-1925Guest Professor in the University of Cologne, Germany.
1925-1935Professor of English, University College, Toronto. Elected Chairman of the Department of English, University of Toronto.
1928Gertrude Lucas Davis died.
1930Married Gladys Wookey of Toronto. Children--Charlotte Elisabeth Ann Davis (Falconer) and Jane Davis (Knowles).
1937
Appointed Professor of English at Cornell University; granted leave of absence for one year in England.
Frederic Ives Carpenter Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago, summer quarter.
1938Chairman of the Department of English, Cornell University.
1939Appointed Goldwin Smith Professor of English Literature at Cornell University.
1940Accepts position as fourth President of Smith College; L.L.D. from Amherst College.
1949Leaves Smith College; Returns to Oxford to teach English.
1960Retires from Oxford.
1967March 28, 1967--Died.
Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Herbert John Davis Personal Papers are primarily related to his personal life. Types of material include correspondence; speeches; publications; photographs; newspaper articles; and memorabilia. Although the chronological focus of the collection is Davis' presidential years, the records pertain to life outside his presidential duties.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Herbert John Davis Personal Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

These papers were transferred to the College Archives from the Office of the President after President Davis left the College in 1949.

Processing Information

Processed by Tamara Weiner.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: nyoung@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/archives
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Series I. Biographical Material,
(1893-1973)
2.5 linear inches

This series provides an overview of Herbert John Davis' career and personal life and is arranged alphabetically. Newspaper clippings and magazine articles, dating from 1939 to 1973, document Davis' many achievements, focusing on education, awards, and travel as well as his work with the European Recovery Program.

Association of Begatees of Clergymen
n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Awards
1940-1947, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
Data
1893-1973

Box 1: folder 3
Degrees
1940-1949, 1957

Box 1: folder 4
European Recovery Program
1948

Box 1: folder 5
Luncheons, etc.
1947

Box 1: folder 6
Miscellaneous
1941

Box 1: folder 7
Newsclippings and Publications
Oct 1944-Dec 1946

Box 1: folder 8
Obituaries
1967

Box 1: folder 9
Resignation
1948, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Resignation - Surprise Party
1949

Box 1: folder 11
Trips Abroad
1946-1948

Box 1: folder 12
Series II. Correspondence,
(1940-1950)
5 linear inches

This series documents Davis' personal correspondence during his time as president of Smith College. This series is arranged by subject and includes correspondence regarding, among other things, Davis' interest in the author Jonathan Swift.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1948

Box 1: folder 13
The Atheneum Pall Mall
1948

Box 1: folder 14
Birch Wathen School
1945

Box 1: folder 15
British Consulate, 1942
1944

Box 1: folder 16
British Refugee Children
1940-1942

Box 1: folder 17
Sponsors-Davis, Herbert J.
1940-1943

Box 1: folder 18
Sponsors, A-L
1940-1941

Box 1: folder 19
Sponsors, M-Z
1940-1943

Box 1: folder 20
Connely, Willard
Jul 1940-Mar 1941

Box 1: folder 21
Davis, Gertrude, Fellowship
1947-1950

Box 1: folder 22
Finn, John
1949-1950

Box 1: folder 23
Grolier Club
1949

Box 1: folder 24
Homberg
May 1949

Box 1: folder 25
Invitations
1940

Box 1: folder 26
Johnson
Oct 1949-Jan 1950

Box 1: folder 27
Kinnevan, J.W.
1942-1943

Box 1: folder 28
Miscellaneous
1942-1950

Box 1: folder 29
Mongan
1941

Box 1: folder 30
New Modern Language Association
1941

Box 1: folder 31
Oxford, England
1948

Box 1: folder 32
Pons
1949

Box 1: folder 33
Power, Eugene
1941

Box 1: folder 34
Randall
1949-1950

Box 1: folder 35
Resignation



Responses, A-L
1948

Box 2: folder 1
Responses, M-Z
1948

Box 2: folder 2
Smith, Anne Nichol
1943-1944

Box 2: folder 3
Smith, David Nichol
1940, 1944

Box 2: folder 4
Schroder, August
1948-1949

Box 2: folder 5
Schott, Carl
1948-1949

Box 2: folder 6
Spect, Betty
1949

Box 2: folder 7
Swift, Jonathan



1939-1940

Box 2: folder 8
July 1, 1940-July 1, 1942

Box 2: folder 9
July 1, 1942-July 1, 1944

Box 2: folder 10
July 1, 1944-July 1, 1945

Box 2: folder 11
July 1, 1945-July 1, 1946

Box 2: folder 12
July 1, 1946-July 1, 1947

Box 2: folder 13
July 1, 1947-July 1, 1948

Box 2: folder 14
July 1, 1948-July 1, 1949

Box 2: folder 15
Index to Vol. XI


Box 2: folder 16
"War and Post War"
1942

Box 2: folder 17
Wooley, David
1949

Box 2: folder 18
Yale University
1944-1949

Box 2: folder 19
Series III. Inauguration,
(1939-1940)
2.5 linear inches

This series documents Davis' presidential appointment in 1939 as well as his inauguration in 1940. Included in this series are congratulatory letters from colleagues and friends as well as newspaper clippings and publications.

Appointment and Pre-Inaugural Visit
1939-1940

Box 2: folder 20
Committee of Inauguration
1940

Box 2: folder 21
Congratulations
Nov 1939-Jul 1940

Box 2: folder 22
Congratulations, Alumnae and Smith College Clubs
1940

Box 3: folder 1
Exercises
1940

Box 3: folder 2
Luncheon and Broadcast
1940

Box 3: folder 3
Newsclippings and Publications



Appointment
1939

Box 3: folder 4
Inauguration
1940

Box 3: folder 5
Series IV. Photographs,
(1939-1964)
2.5 linear inches

The bulk of this series documents Davis' presidency at Smith College and is arranged chornologically. Included in this series are inaugural photographs, formal portraits, candid shots, and the weddings of daughters, Charlotte Elisabeth Ann Davis (Falconer) and Jane Davis (Knowles).

1939-1940

Box 3: folder 6
Inauguration
Oct 1940

Box 3: folder 7
1940-1941

Box 3: folder 8
British Children
1940-1941

Box 3: folder 9
President and Mrs. Davis
1940-1941

Box 3: folder 10
1942-1943

Box 3: folder 11
1945-1946

Box 3: folder 12
1947-1948

Box 3: folder 13
1948-1949

Box 3: folder 14
Formal
1940-1949

Box 3: folder 15
Miscellaneous
1940-1949

Box 3: folder 16
The weddings of Charlotte Elizabeth Ann Davis (Falconer)and Jane Davis (Knowles)
1957-1964

Box 3: folder 17
Series V. Publications and Speeches,
(1940-1964)
1.5 linear feet

Arrangement:

Arranged by subject.

Scope and content:

This series is comprised of speeches and publications written during Davis' presidency at Smith College and the years following. Included are speeches given at area colleges and organizations and his published work on the poetry of Jonathan Swift.

Publications



Untitled
1941-49

Box 4: folder 1
American Association of University Professors
n.d.

Box 4: folder 2
Article for Professor Lowenstein
1941

Box 4: folder 3
Burden of Knowledge
1945

Box 4: folder 4
Challenge to the Intellect
1941

Box 4: folder 5
Charles Montagu Doughty
1945

Box 4: folder 6
Foreign Literatures and Our Youth
1941

Box 4: folder 7
Freshman Handbook
1948

Box 4: folder 8
Inaugural Speeches
1940

Box 4: folder 9
The Manuscripts of Swift's "directions to servants"
1954

Box 4: folder 10
No Time for Poetry
1941

Box 4: folder 11
The Poetry of Jonathan Swift
1939-1941

Box 4: folder 12
Princeton University
1944-1947

Box 4: folder 13
Princeton University-Awards
1946

Box 4: folder 14
Recent Studies of Swift and Johnson
1959

Box 4: folder 15
Reviews
1942-1945

Box 4: folder 16
Satire of Jonathan Swift
1939-1947

Box 4: folder 17
Smith Alumnae Quarterly
1944, n.d.

Box 4: folder 18
Smith College Museum of Art
1959

Box 4: folder 19
Stella
1942

Box 4: folder 20
WAVES
1942-1943

Box 5: folder 1
Wilson, Frank Percy
1963

Box 5: folder 2
Speeches



Advice to Daughters
n.d.

Box 5: folder 3
Alumnae Association
14 Jun 1941

Box 5: folder 4
Alumnae College
1941

Box 5: folder 5
Alumnae Council
1941-1949

Box 5: folder 6
American College Publicity Association
1944

Box 5: folder 7
American Russian Institute Dinner
1948

Box 5: folder 8
Amherst College
1940

Box 5: folder 9
Ann Arbor
3 Oct 1946

Box 5: folder 10
Armistice Day
1940

Box 5: folder 11
Assembly
1939-1949

Box 5: folder 12
Assembly
10 Dec 1947

Box 5: folder 13
Augustan Art of Conversation
1957

Box 5: folder 14
Baccalaureate
1941-1949

Box 5: folder 15
Bates College
1946

Box 5: folder 16
Boston
1940

Box 5: folder 17
Brown University
1941

Box 5: folder 18
Chapel Talks
Sep 1940-Jan 1943

Box 5: folder 19
Chapel Talks
Sep 1943-Jun 1949

Box 5: folder 20
Christmas Celebration
1942

Box 5: folder 21
Commencement, Smith College
1943

Box 5: folder 22
Commencement, Smith College
1944

Box 5: folder 23
Commencement, Smith College
1950

Box 5: folder 24
Conference on Academic Freedom
1948

Box 5: folder 25
Conference on Academic Freedom
1949-1950

Box 5: folder 26
Conference on Education about the Soviet Union
1944

Box 5: folder 27
Connecticut College
1941-1947

Box 5: folder 28
Cooley Dickenson Hospital
n.d.

Box 5: folder 29
Criticism of Writer's Manifesto in Horizon
n.d.

Box 5: folder 30
Democracy
n.d.

Box 5: folder 31
Education at Smith College, New York
1947, n.d.

Box 5: folder 32
Eighteenth Century Conference
1947

Box 5: folder 33
England
n.d.

Box 5: folder 34
Ethel Walker School
n.d.

Box 5: folder 35
Faculty Meetings
1940-1947, n.d.

Box 5: folder 36
Freedom in Education
n.d.

Box 5: folder 37
Gaucher College
1949-1956

Box 5: folder 38
Grolier Club Dinner
1945

Box 5: folder 39
Humanities and a Liberal Arts Education
n.d.

Box 6: folder 1
Inaugural
1940

Box 6: folder 2
Jefferson Day
1945

Box 6: folder 3
Kent Place School
1945

Box 6: folder 4
Kiwanis
1949

Box 6: folder 5
Limits of General Education
1947

Box 6: folder 6
Literature, Teaching of
n.d.

Box 6: folder 7
Massachusetts State College
1944

Box 6: folder 8
Mt. Holyoke College
1941-1949

Box 6: folder 9
New Concepts in Education for Women
1945

Box 6: folder 10
New York Dinner
30 Apr 1946

Box 6: folder 11
New York, Executive Committee
10 Apr 1947

Box 6: folder 12
New York Luncheon
1943

Box 6: folder 13
New York Smith College Club
1948

Box 6: folder 14
Northampton Chamber of Commerce
1940

Box 6: folder 15
Northampton Grammar School
1952

Box 6: folder 16
Northampton Historical Society
1946

Box 6: folder 17
Northfield School for Girls
1942

Box 6: folder 18
Phi Beta Kappa
1949

Box 6: folder 19
Poland
1941

Box 6: folder 20
Pompeian Conference
1948

Box 6: folder 21
Pontypool Girls' School
1951

Box 6: folder 22
Princeton University
1941

Box 6: folder 23
Queen's University
1945

Box 6: folder 24
Radio Broadcasts
1942, n.d.

Box 6: folder 25
Rally Day



Note:
Rhodes House
1954

Box 6: folder 26
Scholarships
n.d.

Box 6: folder 27
Scripps College
1964

Box 6: folder 28
Senior Day
1943

Box 6: folder 29
Smith Clubs
1941-1949

Box 6: folder 30
Summer Session
1943, 1944

Box 6: folder 31
Sweet Briar College
1943

Box 6: folder 32
Toronto University-Alexander Lectures
1942

Box 6: folder 33
Trustee-Faculty Dinner
1944

Box 6: folder 34
Trustee's Meetings
1948

Box 6: folder 35
Unidentified
1940, 1948, 1949, n.d.

Box 6: folder 36
V-E Day Plan
1945

Box 6: folder 37
Vespers
1940-1948

Box 6: folder 38
Washington's Birthday Introductions
1941-1949

Box 6: folder 39
WAVES
1942, 1944

Box 6: folder 40
Wells College
n.d.

Box 6: folder 41
Wheaton College
1942

Box 6: folder 42
Williamsburg-175th Anniversary
1946

Box 6: folder 43
Williston Academy
n.d.

Box 6: folder 44
Wilson College
1945

Box 6: folder 45
Yale University Lecture
1942, 1944

Box 6: folder 46

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Davis, Herbert John, 1893-1967.
  • Smith College--Presidents.
  • Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745.


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