John William Davis' correspondence encompasses the years in which he served as solicitor general. The major portion of that correspondence deals with letters of endorsement regarding a Supreme Court vacancy; inquiries from citizens seeking positions with the federal government; petitions for military commissions during the war years; and Davis' carbon responses as well. These papers were found among the William J. Hughes, Jr. Papers and in consideration of Davis' position, it warranted a separate collection.
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John William Davis, lawyer and diplomat, was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on April 13, 1873. he was graduated B.A. in 1892 and LL.B. in 1895 at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia. He was admitted to the West Virginia Bar in 1895 and began his law practice in Clarksburg with his father in that same year. From 1896-1897 he returned to Washington and Lee University as assistant professor of law. He resumed his law practice with his father in 1897. In 1899 he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. In 1900 he was the democratic candidate for presidential elector-at-large. In 1910 he won election in the First Congressional District of West Virginia being re-elected in 1912. On August 20, 1913 he was appointed solicitor general of the United States by Woodrow Wilson. He served in that capacity until 1918 when he was appointed a member of a U.S. commission to negotiate with a similar German commission a convention to govern the treatment of prisoners of war and provide regulations for exchange of such prisoners. He was appointed U.S. ambassador to Great Britain in 1918. He resigned in 1921 and returned to the U.S. to set up private practice in New York. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nominee in the campaign of 1924. He returned again to private practice. He died on March 24, 1955.
4.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Gift of Mrs. William J. Hughes, Jr., 1974.
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository