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Robert H. Davis Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Aug 1987

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.

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

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




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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

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