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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 (1 item)
SC 27 Grey, Zane Mar 1931 (2 items)
SC 27 MacArthur, Charles undated (1 item)
SC 27 MacFarlane, Peter Clark 11 Oct 1915 (1 item)
SC 27 McFee, William 16 Apr 1934 (1 item)
SC 27 MacGrath, Harold undated (1 item)
SC 27 McIntyre, Oscar Odd 1930-1931, undated (7 items)
SC 27 Mackay, Clarence H. 29 Jun 1926 (1 item)
SC 27 MacMonnies, Frederick (and wife Alice) 1918, undated (2 items)
SC 27 Maltby, Frances (Goggin) 06 Aug 1931 (1 item)
SC 27 Marshall, Edison 06 Dec 1930, undated (2 items)
SC 27 Masters, Edgar Lee Mar 1919, undated (2 items)
SC 27 Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis) 1927-1935, undated (8 items)
SC 27 Miller, Max undated (1 item)
SC 27 Montague, Margaret Prescott 07 Mar 1923 (1 item)
SC 27 Morley, Christopher 1929, 1932 (2 items)
SC 27 Mulford, Clarence Edward undated (1 item)
SC 27 Nathan, George Jean 09 May 1919, undated (2 items)
SC 27 Norwood, Robert Winkworth 1929, 1931 (2 items)
SC 27 O'Connor, William Frederick Travers 1932 (2 items)
SC 27 Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) 1914, undated (5 items)
SC 27 Opper, Frederick Burr 29 Mar 1932 (1 item)
SC 27 Orczy, Emmuska Orczy, Baroness 1914 (2 items)
SC 27 Paine, Albert Bigelow 03 Apr 1932 (1 item)
SC 27 Parker, Gilbert 1914 (4 items)
SC 27 Parson, Hubert Templeton 1928 (2 items)
SC 27 Phelan, James Duval 24 May 1919 (1 item)
SC 27 Phelps, William Lyon 1929-1934 (5 items)
SC 27 Phillips, Henry Wallace 28 Mar 1905 (1 item)
SC 27 Pinner, Erna 16 Dec 1930 (2 items)
SC 27 Polk, Frank Lyon 29 Aug 1932 (1 item)
SC 27 Raine, William MacLeod 04 Sep 1927 (1 item)
SC 27 Rinehart, Mary Roberts 1930, 1932 (2 items)
SC 27 Ripley, Robert LeRoy undated (1 item)
SC 27 Robinson, Corinne Roosevelt undated (1 item)
SC 27 Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow 11 Oct 1932 (1 item)
SC 27 Roth, Herb 08 Jul 1933 (1 item)
SC 27 Rothafel, Samuel Lionel 1930-1931 (3 items)
SC 27 Salisbury, Frank O. [?date illegible] (1 item)
SC 27 Sarazen, Gene 15 Jun 1934 (1 item)
SC 27 Shearn, Clarence John 17 Nov 1931 (1 item)
SC 27 Sitwell, Georgia (wife of Sacheverell) undated (1 item)
SC 27 Sitwell, Osbert 20 Apr 1933 (1 item)
SC 27 Steffens, Lincoln 18 Dec 1930 (1 item)
SC 27 Stone, Fred Andrew 19 Dec 1933 (1 item)
SC 27 Sumner, Samuel Storrow 18 Jul 1929 (1 item)
SC 27 Thielen, Benedict 07 Apr 1932 (1 item)
SC 27 Miscellaneous (unidentified) 1913-1932, undated (11 items)
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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