Donald Davidson Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0002

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Donald Davidson Papers (1906 - 1968) include correspondence and writings by Davidson as well as reviews, research materials, publications materials, publicity for books, legal and financial documents, family records, newspaper clippings and photographs, segregation materials, and manuscripts of writings by others. The bulk of the materials come from the 1920's through the 1960's.

Davidson received his B. A. and M. A. degrees from Vanderbilt University and remained at the University his entire professional career (1920 - 1968) teaching English. In addition to being a teacher Davidson was also a poet, novelist, and critic. From 1931-1967 he spent his summers teaching at Breadloaf School of English in Ripton, Vermont. He served in the military during World War I May 1917- June 1919. In June of 1918 he married Theresa Sherrer, a legal scholar and artist, and their only child Mary (later Mrs. Eric Bell, Jr.)was born March 26, 1919.

Davidson maintained extensive correspondence with many of his friends and associates who were also important literary figures of this time--John Gould Fletcher, Brainard and Frances Cheney, John Crowe Ransom, Laura Riding, Louis Rubin, Jesse Stuart, Allen Tate, John Donald Wade, Robert Penn Warren, Caroline Gordon/Tate, and Stark Young among others. These letters and others are important highlights of the Davidson Papers and comprise 5 1/3 cubic feet.

The Papers include much information that pertains to Vanderbilt, especially Davidson's role in The Fugitive and Agrarian groups which were centered at the university in the 1920's and 1930's. In the Series Fugitives and Agrarians there are letters and manuscript poems by John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren,and other of the Fugitives and Agrarians. Appendix C is a listing of newspaper clippings relating to I'll Take My Stand (1930) and Who Owns America?(1936)

Davidson's Writings (5 1/3 cubic feet) are divided into several genres: poetry, reviews, articles, essays, lectures, text books, history books, plays, a short story and an operetta. His Editing Projects- The Tennessean Book Review and Literary Page and The Weekly Review-A Page About Books cover the period September 7, 1924 - October 26, 1930 and is 1 cubic foot. Of special interest in the Writings is a collection of over 150 of Davidson's poems typed or holograph (Complete listing Appendix A). Davidson's Literary Career is well documented in these papers. Appendix B is a listing of newspaper clippings about Davidson's work. There are also publicity materials and correspondence concerning his various literary projects.

In the Academic Career Series there are Davidson's notes for lectures at Vanderbilt as well as papers by some of his students including Randall Jarrell, Francis Robinson, and Mildred Haun. There are also committee reports and other administrative reports and a small section on Breadloaf School of English. In the Research Notes there are extensive notes for his two volume book The Tennessee and also notes on American Composition and Rhetoric. There are many miscellaneous notes.

Personal and Biographical Materials include Biographical Sketches and Writings about Davidson, Personal and Financial Records and Family Papers. Davidson's own detailed curriculum vita and also that of his wife Theresa Sherrer Davidson are in this series. In the series Organizations, Activities and Events there is 1 1/3 cubic feet of material which is concerned with Segregation and Civil Rights, including Reports of Citizens' Councils in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

The Subject Files contain information on the Tennessee Valley Authority, on George Pullen Jackson , Jesse Stuart, Agriculture, Southern Policy Papers and others. There are also book announcements (arranged by publisher or dealer) and Photographs of Writers (A complete list of these photographs found in Appendix D).

Finally in the Writings By Others there are publications and articles collected by Davidson-- book reviews , poems, and short stories by others, including poems by Cleanth Brooks, , e.e. cummings, Hart Crane,and George Marion O'Donnell.

Dates

  • 1906 - 1968

Creator

Donald Davidson Chronology

  • 18 August 1893 Donald Grady Davidson born in Campbellsville, near Pulaski, Tennessee to parents Elma Wells Davidson and Wiliam Bluford Davidson. Both of his parents were teachers-his father a schoolteacher and his mother a piano teacher.
  • 1905 - 1909 Attends and graduates from Branham and Hughes School in Spring Hill, TN.
  • 1909 Begins a B. A. program at Vanderbilt, drops out for financial reasons, returns in 1914.
  • 1910 -1912 Davidson teaches at the Cedar Hill Institute in Cedar Hill, Tennessee.
  • 1912 - 1914 Davidson teaches in the rural community of Mooresville.
  • Fall 1914 Returns to Vanderbilt at the age of 21.
  • 1915, 1916 Attends George Peabody College for Teachers as a summer student.
  • 1916 - 1917 Teaches in Pulaski, Tennessee where he meets Theresa Sherrer (later to be a legal scholar and artist and Davidson's wife).
  • 1917 Davidson does not graduate with his class in 1916, but receives his B. A. in absentia from Vanderbilt.
  • May 1917 - June 1919 Davidson serves in the U. S. Military .
  • May 1917 Davidson joins the first officer candidates who leave Vanderbilt for Fort Oglethorpe in May 1917; commissioned 2nd lieutenant in 324th Infantry, 81st Division, U. S. Army.
  • August 1917 Lands in Liverpool England.
  • August 16, 1918 81st Division assembled in Tonnerre France; Davidson sees action in Defensive Sector and Meuse-Argonne offensive; he becomes a first lieutenant .
  • June 8, 1918 Davidson marries Theresa Sherrer in Greenville, South Carolina while assigned To Camp Sevier.
  • March 26, 1919 Mary Theresa Davidson born, the only child of Theresa and Donald Davidson (And later Mrs. Eric Bell, Jr.).
  • June 7, 1919 Leaves to return to America on the USS Martha Washington and arrives in Charleston, South Carolina in mid June.
  • 1919 Davidson begins work on Master's Thesis on Joseph Conrad at Vanderbilt
  • August 1919 - 1920 Davidson teaches at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Summer 1920 Davidson has a job as a reporter for the Evening Tennesseean
  • Fall 1920 Davidson begins a 44 year career in the English Department at Vanderbilt University: 1920-1924, Instructor in English

    1925-1929, Assistant Professor of English

    1930-1937, Associate Professor of English

    1938-1964, Professor of English

    1964, Distinguished Lecturer in English

    1965-1968, Professor of English, Emeritus

  • 1922 M. A. from Vanderbilt (Master's Thesis on Joseph Conrad)
  • 1924 An Outland Piper. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1925 Article derived from Davidson's Master's Thesis published in the Spring 1925 issue of the Sewanee Review, "Joseph Conrad's Directed Indirections"
  • Work on the Master's degree was begun in 1919, and the degree awarded 1922.
  • April 1922 - Dec.
  • 1925 Fugitive magazine published-Davidson co-founder, 1922 and co-editor, 1922-1924
  • 1926 Poetry Society of South Carolina Southern Prize for "Fire on Belmont Street"
  • 1927 The Tall Men. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
  • 1924 -1930 Sept. 7, 1924 - Oct. 26, 1930 Editor of The Book Review and Literary Page of The Tennessean and The Weekly Review-A Page About Books.
  • November 1930 I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition. By Twelve Southerners. New York : Harper and Brothers. Davidson's essay titled " A Mirror for Artists "
  • June 1931 Davidson joins the faculty of the Breadloaf School of English of Middlebury College for the summers of 1931 - 1967, Ripton, Vermont.
  • 1934 Culture in the South. Edited by W. T. Couch. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Davidson contributes the essay " The Trend of Literature."
  • Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence. Edited by Herbert Agar and Allen Tate. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
  • 1936 Davidson's essay titled " That This Nation May Endure-The Need for Political Regionalism."
  • 1937 British Poetry of the Eighteen Nineties. New York: Doubleday. Davidson is the editor and author of introduction, notes, and biographical sketches.
  • 1938 The Attack on Leviathan: Regionalism and Nationalism in the United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • 1938 Lee in the Mountains and Other Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1939 American Composition and Rhetoric (textbook). New York: Scribner.
  • 1942 Readings for Composition (textbook). New York: Scribner. Revised edition, 1957.
  • 1946 The Tennessee Vol. 1, The Old River: Frontier to Secession. New York: Rinehart. Rivers of America Series.
  • 1946 Honorary degree, Litt. D., Cumberland University
  • 1948 Honorary degree, Litt. D., Washington and Lee University
  • 1948 The Tennessee Vol. 2, The New River: Civil War to TVA. New York: Rinehart. Rivers of America Series.
  • 1952 Singin Billy-based on a poem by Davidson, music composed by Charles Faulkner Bryan of George Peabody College for Teachers. Produced at Vanderbilt Theater.
  • 1953 (Author of introduction) Stark Young, So Red the Rose, new edition, Scribner.
  • 1955 Twenty Lessons in Reading and Writing (textbook). New York: Scribner.
  • 1955 - 1959 Davidson Chairman of the Tennessee Federation for Constitutional Government.
  • May 1956 Fugitive Reunion at Vanderbilt.
  • 1957 Davidson gives the first series of the Eugenia Dorothy Blount Lamar Memorial Lectures at Mercer University in Georgia (Published as Southern Writers in the Modern World).
  • 1957 Still Rebels, Still Yankees and Other Essays. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
  • 1958 Southern Writers in the Modern World (Eugenia Lamar Memorial Lectures). Athens: University of Georgia Press.
  • 1961 The Long Street: Poems. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
  • 1963 The Spyglass: Views and Reviews, 1924 - 1930. Edited by John Tyree Fain. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
  • 1964 Davidson retires from Vanderbilt after 44 years.
  • 1965 Honorary degree, L. H. D., Middlebury College.
  • 1966 Poems, 1922 - 1961. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • 1966 ( Editor and author of introduction) John Donald Wade, Selected Essays and Other Writings. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
  • Spring 1968 Reunion of the Agrarians at the University of Dallas; Davidson unable to attend because of failing health.
  • April 25, 1968 Donald Davidson dies in his home at the age of 74. Funeral service April 27, 1968 in Nashville.
  • 1974 The Literary Correspondence of Donald Davidson and Allen Tate. Edited by John Tyree Fain and Thomas Daniel Young. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
  • 1985 Singin Billy: A Folk Opera. Text by Donald Davidson; music by Charles Faulkner Bryan. Glendale, S. C.: Foundation for American Education.
  • 1996 The Big Ballad Jamboree. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
18 August 1893
Donald Grady Davidson born in Campbellsville, near Pulaski, Tennessee to parents Elma Wells Davidson and Wiliam Bluford Davidson. Both of his parents were teachers-his father a schoolteacher and his mother a piano teacher.
1905 - 1909
Attends and graduates from Branham and Hughes School in Spring Hill, TN.
1909
Begins a B. A. program at Vanderbilt, drops out for financial reasons, returns in 1914.
1910 -1912
Davidson teaches at the Cedar Hill Institute in Cedar Hill, Tennessee.
1912 - 1914
Davidson teaches in the rural community of Mooresville.
Fall 1914
Returns to Vanderbilt at the age of 21.
1915, 1916
Attends George Peabody College for Teachers as a summer student.
1916 - 1917
Teaches in Pulaski, Tennessee where he meets Theresa Sherrer (later to be a legal scholar and artist and Davidson's wife).
1917
Davidson does not graduate with his class in 1916, but receives his B. A. in absentia from Vanderbilt.
May 1917 - June 1919
Davidson serves in the U. S. Military .
May 1917
Davidson joins the first officer candidates who leave Vanderbilt for Fort Oglethorpe in May 1917; commissioned 2nd lieutenant in 324th Infantry, 81st Division, U. S. Army.
August 1917
Lands in Liverpool England.
August 16, 1918
81st Division assembled in Tonnerre France; Davidson sees action in Defensive Sector and Meuse-Argonne offensive; he becomes a first lieutenant .
June 8, 1918
Davidson marries Theresa Sherrer in Greenville, South Carolina while assigned To Camp Sevier.
March 26, 1919
Mary Theresa Davidson born, the only child of Theresa and Donald Davidson (And later Mrs. Eric Bell, Jr.).
June 7, 1919
Leaves to return to America on the USS Martha Washington and arrives in Charleston, South Carolina in mid June.
1919
Davidson begins work on Master's Thesis on Joseph Conrad at Vanderbilt
August 1919 - 1920
Davidson teaches at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro, Kentucky
Summer 1920
Davidson has a job as a reporter for the Evening Tennesseean
Fall 1920
Davidson begins a 44 year career in the English Department at Vanderbilt University: 1920-1924, Instructor in English 1925-1929, Assistant Professor of English 1930-1937, Associate Professor of English 1938-1964, Professor of English 1964, Distinguished Lecturer in English 1965-1968, Professor of English, Emeritus
1922
M. A. from Vanderbilt (Master's Thesis on Joseph Conrad)
1924
An Outland Piper. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
1925
Article derived from Davidson's Master's Thesis published in the Spring 1925 issue of the Sewanee Review, "Joseph Conrad's Directed Indirections"
Work on the Master's degree was begun in 1919, and the degree awarded 1922.
April 1922 - Dec.
1925
Fugitive magazine published-Davidson co-founder, 1922 and co-editor, 1922-1924
1926
Poetry Society of South Carolina Southern Prize for "Fire on Belmont Street"
1927
The Tall Men. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
1924 -1930 Sept. 7, 1924 - Oct. 26, 1930
Editor of The Book Review and Literary Page of The Tennessean and The Weekly Review-A Page About Books.
November 1930
I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition. By Twelve Southerners. New York : Harper and Brothers. Davidson's essay titled " A Mirror for Artists "
June 1931
Davidson joins the faculty of the Breadloaf School of English of Middlebury College for the summers of 1931 - 1967, Ripton, Vermont.
1934
Culture in the South. Edited by W. T. Couch. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Davidson contributes the essay " The Trend of Literature."
Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence. Edited by Herbert Agar and Allen Tate. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
1936
Davidson's essay titled " That This Nation May Endure-The Need for Political Regionalism."
1937
British Poetry of the Eighteen Nineties. New York: Doubleday. Davidson is the editor and author of introduction, notes, and biographical sketches.
1938
The Attack on Leviathan: Regionalism and Nationalism in the United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
1938
Lee in the Mountains and Other Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
1939
American Composition and Rhetoric (textbook). New York: Scribner.
1942
Readings for Composition (textbook). New York: Scribner. Revised edition, 1957.
1946
The Tennessee Vol. 1, The Old River: Frontier to Secession. New York: Rinehart. Rivers of America Series.
1946
Honorary degree, Litt. D., Cumberland University
1948
Honorary degree, Litt. D., Washington and Lee University
1948
The Tennessee Vol. 2, The New River: Civil War to TVA. New York: Rinehart. Rivers of America Series.
1952
Singin Billy-based on a poem by Davidson, music composed by Charles Faulkner Bryan of George Peabody College for Teachers. Produced at Vanderbilt Theater.
1953
(Author of introduction) Stark Young, So Red the Rose, new edition, Scribner.
1955
Twenty Lessons in Reading and Writing (textbook). New York: Scribner.
1955 - 1959
Davidson Chairman of the Tennessee Federation for Constitutional Government.
May 1956
Fugitive Reunion at Vanderbilt.
1957
Davidson gives the first series of the Eugenia Dorothy Blount Lamar Memorial Lectures at Mercer University in Georgia (Published as Southern Writers in the Modern World).
1957
Still Rebels, Still Yankees and Other Essays. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
1958
Southern Writers in the Modern World (Eugenia Lamar Memorial Lectures). Athens: University of Georgia Press.
1961
The Long Street: Poems. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
1963
The Spyglass: Views and Reviews, 1924 - 1930. Edited by John Tyree Fain. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
1964
Davidson retires from Vanderbilt after 44 years.
1965
Honorary degree, L. H. D., Middlebury College.
1966
Poems, 1922 - 1961. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
1966
( Editor and author of introduction) John Donald Wade, Selected Essays and Other Writings. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Spring 1968
Reunion of the Agrarians at the University of Dallas; Davidson unable to attend because of failing health.
April 25, 1968
Donald Davidson dies in his home at the age of 74. Funeral service April 27, 1968 in Nashville.
1974
The Literary Correspondence of Donald Davidson and Allen Tate. Edited by John Tyree Fain and Thomas Daniel Young. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
1985
Singin Billy: A Folk Opera. Text by Donald Davidson; music by Charles Faulkner Bryan. Glendale, S. C.: Foundation for American Education.
1996
The Big Ballad Jamboree. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Extent

27 Linear Feet (65 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Donald Davidson Papers (1906 - 1968) include correspondence and writings by Davidson as well as reviews, research materials, publications materials, publicity for books, legal and financial documents, family records, newspaper clippings and photographs, segregation materials, and manuscripts of writings by others. The bulk of the materials come from the 1920's through the 1960's.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives
Title
Finding Aid for the Donald Davidson Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Molly Dohrmann
Date
2002
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

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