Herbert John Davis personal papers
Scope and Contents
Dates of Materials
- Davis, Herbert, 1893-1967 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
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.
Davis served as the fourth president of Smith College from 1939 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.
- Born on May 24, at Long Buckby, Northamponshire, England. Son of Carter and Martha Ann (Sheldon) Davis.
- Educated at Northampton Grammar School.
- St. John's College, Oxford.
- Pass Moderations (Classics)
- B.A.; Honour School of English Language and Literature.
- Reading for Anglican Orders, Wells Theological College.
- War Service--gunner, R.G.A.; subaltern with 301 Siege Battery, France and Belgium; acting-adjutant, 4th Brigade, R.G.A., Army of Occupation.
- M.A., Oxford.
- Lecturer in English, University of Leeds.
- Associate Professor English, University College, Toronto. Married Gertrude Lucas of Opladen, Rheinland, Germany.
- Guest Professor in the University of Cologne, Germany.
- Professor of English, University College, Toronto. Elected Chairman of the Department of English, University of Toronto.
- Gertrude Lucas Davis died.
- Married Gladys Wookey of Toronto. Children--Charlotte Elisabeth Ann Davis (Falconer) and Jane Davis (Knowles).
- 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.
- Chairman of the Department of English, Cornell University.
- Appointed Goldwin Smith Professor of English Literature at Cornell University.
- Accepts position as fourth President of Smith College; L.L.D. from Amherst College.
- Leaves Smith College; Returns to Oxford to teach English.
- Retires from Oxford.
- March 28, 1967--Died.
2.5 linear feet (6 containers)
Language of Materials
- I. Biographical Material
- II. Correspondence
- III. Inauguration
- IV. Photographs
- V. Publications and Speeches
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Finding aid to Herbert John Davis Personal papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Tamara Weiner, Ellice Amanna
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: manosca10 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 11/12/18: Finding aid updated
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
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Northampton MA 01063