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Robert H. Davis Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Davis, Robert H. (Robert Hobart), 1869-1942.
Title: Robert H. Davis Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1905-1935
Quantity: 97 items (SC)
Abstract: Incoming correspondence from literary figures (Zane Grey, Edgar Lee Masters, H.L. Mencken, Mary Roberts Rinehart); politicians (Fred O’Connor, James Phelan); artists (Frederick MacMonnies, Frank O. Salisbury, Herb Roth), and various notables from the turn of the century through the 1930s, most of whom Davis photographed or wrote about in his New York Sun column. Two manuscript items: a typescript ’Synopsis of the Amazing Quest of Mr. Ernest Bliss’ by E. Phillips Oppenheim, and typescript notes of a story to be called ’The Latchkey,’ attributed to A.E.W. Mason.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Robert (Bob) Hobart Davis (1869-1942) was an American editor and photographer. He was born in Brownsville, Nebraska on March 23, 1869 to Reverend George Ransome Davis and Silvia Nichols Davis. His parents had moved from New England to Nebraska to do missionary work with the American Indians of the region. As a result, Davis was exposed to American Indian culture early-on in his childhood and even could speak a few words of Comanche, Sioux, and Cheyenne by the age of six.

Davis began his career working for this brother, Sam, to publish the Carson City Daily Appeal. Although he started by delivering the newspaper to weekly subscribers, Davis was a proficient compositor by the age of nineteen. After Carson City, Davis moved to San Francisco before moving to New York to begin work at the New York Journal. During the Spanish American War, Davis wrote about the conditions of war, his most notable work being an exposé on the rotten meat served to soldiers. Davis's first editing job was at the New York Sunday News, where he served as managing editor in early 1900s. He would go on to become editor of Munsey's Magazine, owned by Frank Munsey. While in this position Davis was known for his willingness to help young writers break into the field of literary fiction.

In addition to his editorial career, Davis was an amateur photographer. During his lifetime he took more than 3,000 portraits of a variety of prominent individuals.

Bob Davis married Madge Lee Hutchinson of San Francisco in 1899. He died in Montreal, Canada in 1942 at the age of 73.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robert H. Davis Papers consist mainly of Incoming Correspondence from literary figures (Zane Grey, Edgar Lee Masters, H. L. Mencken, Mary Roberts Rinehart), politicians (Fred O'Connor, James Phelan), artists (Frederick MacMonnies, Herb Roth, Frank O. Salisbury), and various notables from the turn of the century through the 1930s, many of whom Davis photographed or wrote about in his New York Sun column. The Writings series contains two manuscript items: "Synopsis of the Amazing Quest of Mr. Ernest Bliss" by E. Phillips Oppenheim, and a typescript of "Notes of a Story to be Called 'The Latchkey'," attributed to A. E. W. Mason.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is divided into two series: Correspondence and Writings. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the correspondents' last names.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Castle, Egerton, 1858-1920.
Davis, Robert H. (Robert Hobart), 1869-1942.
Grey, Zane, 1872-1939.
MacArthur, Charles, 1895-1956.
MacGrath, Harold, 1871-1932.
Maltby, Frances (Goggin), Mrs.
Marshall, Edison, 1894-
Masters, Edgar Lee, 1869-1950.
McFee, William, 1881-1966.
McIntyre, O. O. (Oscar Odd), 1884-1938.
Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956.
Montague, Margaret Prescott, 1878-1955.
Morley, Christopher, 1890-1957.
Mulford, Clarence Edward, 1883-1956.
Nathan, George Jean, 1882-1958.
Norwood, Robert Winkworth, 1874-1932.
Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips), 1866-1946.
Opper, Frederick Burr, 1857-1937.
Orczy, Emmuska Orczy, Baroness, 1865-1947.
O’Connor, William Frederick Travers, Sir, 1870-
Paine, Albert Bigelow, 1861-1937.
Parker, Gilbert, 1862-1932.
Phelps, William Lyon, 1865-1943.
Phillips, Henry Wallace, 1869-1930.
Pinner, Erna, 1893-
Polk, Frank L. (Frank Lyon), 1871-1943.
Raine, William MacLeod, 1871-1954.
Rinehart, Mary Roberts, 1876-1958.
Ripley, Robert Le Roy, 1893-1949.
Robinson, Corinne Roosevelt, 1861-1933.
Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow, 1861-1948.
Rothafel, Samuel Lionel, d. 1936.
Salisbury, Frank O., 1874-
Sarazen, Gene.
Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969.
Steffens, Lincoln, 1866-1936.
Stone, Fred Andrew, 1873-
Thielen, Benedict, 1902-


Journalists -- United States.
Newspaper editors -- United States.
Photographers -- United States.
Photography -- Portraits.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Robert H. Davis Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Aug 1987
Revision history: 23 Oct 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 27 Castle, Egerton 10 Sep 1914
SC 27 Grey, Zane Mar 1931
SC 27 MacArthur, Charles undated
SC 27 MacFarlane, Peter Clark 11 Oct 1915
SC 27 McFee, William 16 Apr 1934
SC 27 MacGrath, Harold undated
SC 27 McIntyre, Oscar Odd 1930-1931, undated
SC 27 Mackay, Clarence H. 29 Jun 1926
SC 27 MacMonnies, Frederick (and wife Alice) 1918, undated
SC 27 Maltby, Frances (Goggin) 06 Aug 1931
SC 27 Marshall, Edison 06 Dec 1930, undated
SC 27 Masters, Edgar Lee Mar 1919, undated
Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis) 1927-1935, undated (8 items)
SC 27 Miller, Max undated
SC SC 27 27 Montague, Margaret Prescott 07 Mar 1923
SC 27 Morley, Christopher 1929, 1932
SC 27 Mulford, Clarence Edward undated
SC 27 Nathan, George Jean 09 May 1919, undated
SC 27 Norwood, Robert Winkworth 1929, 1931
SC 27 O'Connor, William Frederick Travers 1932
SC 27 Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) 1914, undated
SC 27 Opper, Frederick Burr 29 Mar 1932
SC 27 Orczy, Emmuska Orczy, Baroness 1914 (2 items)
SC 27 Paine, Albert Bigelow 03 Apr 1932
SC 27 Parker, Gilbert 1914
SC 27 Parson, Hubert Templeton 1928
SC 27 Phelan, James Duval 24 May 1919
SC 27 Phelps, William Lyon 1929-1934
SC 27 Phillips, Henry Wallace 28 Mar 1905
SC 27 Pinner, Erna 16 Dec 1930
SC 27 Polk, Frank Lyon 29 Aug 1932
SC 27 Raine, William MacLeod 04 Sep 1927
SC 27 Rinehart, Mary Roberts 1930, 1932
SC 27 Ripley, Robert LeRoy undated
SC 27 Robinson, Corinne Roosevelt undated
SC 27 Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow 11 Oct 1932
SC 27 Roth, Herb 08 Jul 1933
SC 27 Rothafel, Samuel Lionel 1930-1931 (3 items)
SC 27 Salisbury, Frank O. [?date illegible]
SC 27 Sarazen, Gene 15 Jun 1934
SC 27 Shearn, Clarence John 17 Nov 1931
SC 27 Sitwell, Georgia (wife of Sacheverell) undated
SC 27 Sitwell, Osbert 20 Apr 1933
SC 27 Steffens, Lincoln 18 Dec 1930
SC 27 Stone, Fred Andrew 19 Dec 1933
SC 27 Sumner, Samuel Storrow 18 Jul 1929
SC 27 Thielen, Benedict 07 Apr 1932
SC 27 Miscellaneous unidentified 1913-1932, undated
Writings by others
SC 27 "Notes of a Story to be Called 'The Latchkey'" attributed to A. E. W. Mason - typescript
SC 27 "Synopsis of the Amazing Quest of Mr. Ernest Bliss" by E. Phillips Oppenheim - manuscript

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