Scope and arrangement
The Robert Hobart Davis Papers (1871-1946) include correspondence, writings, clippings, printed matter and photographs documenting his career as an editor and writer and his hobby of photography.
Davis was a prolific writer whose work as an editor and later as a traveling correspondent for the New York Sun brought him into contact with many people. The letters reflect his personal as well as his professional interest in his correspondents including editors, dramatists, illustrators, journalists, artists and public figures. The correspondence (1890-1942) is arranged chronologically and alphabetically within each year. There are also two separate correspondence files for Fannie Hurst (1913-1942) and Julia Marlowe Sothern (1933-1946). Among Davis's other correspondents were: Rex Beach, Ambrose Bierce, Poultney Bigelow, Samuel G. Blythe, Gutzon Borglum, Edith R. Brainerd, Irvin S. Cobb, Octavus Roy Cohen, Kent Cooper, William Thompson Dewart, Anthony Weston Dimock, George H. Doran, Theodore Dreiser, George Allan England, Geraldine Farrar, Frederick Faust, Charles Ferguson, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Daniel Frohman, Arthur Hamilton Gibbs, Charles Dana Gibson, Richard Butler Glaenzer, Zane Grey, Ernest Haskell, Al J. Jennings, Rockwell Kent, John Francis Kieran, Richard Le Gallienne, George Horace Lorimer, Clarence Hungerford Mackay, Archibald Macleish, Edison Marshall, H. L. Mencken, Charles Arthur Moore, Jr., Frank A. Munsey, John G. Neihardt, Sir William Frederick Travers O'Connor, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Frank L. Packard, Charles Henry Parkhurst, Harry Irving Phillips, Henry Wallace Phillips, William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), Mary Roberts Rinehart, Herbert Livingston Satterlee, Perley Poore Sheehan, John Mac Alpine Siddall, Upton Sinclair, George Sterling, Lowell Thomas, Gene Tunney, Charles E. Van Loan, Ben Ames Williams and P. G. Wodehouse. A partial index to the correspondence is attached to this inventory.
Writings include typescripts and printed versions of works by Davis and a file of printed reviews of his books. The typescripts include poems, articles, book reviews and copy for Man makes His Own Mask.
The material relating to the Stevenson Society of America (1915-1930), of which Davis was an honorary president, includes letters, printed matter, clippings, and reports.
Miscellaneous files include material relating to O. Henry (transcripts of letters, a bibliography and printed matter), biographical material on Davis, Bob Fitzsimmon's account of his conquest of James Corbett, material relating to the Munsey magazine, George Allan England papers and sketches, a "moviegraph" by Jack Sears of Robert Hobart Davis and unsorted Sketches, papers and manuscripts.
Clippings include articles by Davis, articles about Davis and miscellaneous subjects.
The bulk of the Photographs Series is made up of approximately 375 portraits by Davis of his friends and acquaintances. These photographs, which Davis labeled "Unretouched Photographic Studies of Dual Personalities" were often inscribed to him by the sitter and include portraits of prominent writers, artists, performers and public figures. Notable among them are: Benjamin DeCasseres, Jo Davidson, Montague Glass, James Joyce, Rockwell Kent, Ring Lardner, D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, Groucho Marx, H. L. Mencken, Paul Robeson, Lincoln Steffens, Lowell Thomas, Carl Van Vechten, William Butler Yeats, Jan Sibelius, Gene Tunney and Hugh Walpole.
A complete list of portraits is included in the box list. The photographs also include other portraits inscribed to Davis and sent to him by friends and colleagues, portraits of Davis, snapshots of family and friends and scenes of New York by W. H. Vander Weyde. The Vander Weyde photographs were taken in 1923 and were used to illustrate a special issue of The Mentor devoted to O. Henry.
The Robert H. Davis papers are arranged in six series: