Chicago Theological Seminary's collection of Ozora Stearns Davis, 1896-1933.
Ozora Stearns Davis (1866-1931) was born in White River Junction, Vermont, on July 30, 1866. His father was a baggage smasher and as a boy Davis helped his father by sweeping out baggage rooms, delivering telegrams and running errands for the men who worked on the train. He mastered telegraphy at the age of 16. He attended St. Johnsbury Academy, then Dartmouth College, and then Hartford Theological Seminary. He won a fellowship that sent him to three German universities and received both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in 1896. He was ordained by Congregational Council in Springfield, Vermont, on September 14, 1896 and went on to serve First Church, Springfield, Vermont; Central Church, Newtonville, Massachusetts; and South Church, New Britain, Connecticut. He became president of Chicago Theological Seminary in 1909 and served in that position until 1929 when he became seriously ill and resigned his position. He was dubbed President Emeritus upon his retirement and continued to serve the seminary as Professor of Practical Theology from 1929 until his death in 1931. While on a trip to Los Angeles, California with his wife Grace, Davis became quite ill. He died near Kansas City, Missouri, March 15, 1931, on his way back to Chicago from Los Angeles.
Davis received several honorary degrees including his D.D. from Iowa College in 1906, and two LL.D., one from Colorado College in 1921 and the other from Washington College in 1922. He was also a prolific writer, publisher and speaker. A partial listing of his publications can be found in the related materials note of this guide.
Scope of Collection
This collection represents an intentional gathering of materials relating to Ozora Davis Stearns (1866-1931) and was compiled by Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). The material focuses almost exclusively on Davis's time as President of CTS and the years following. Much of the correspondence is both professional and personal, and includes letters detailing Davis's declining health and his close friendship with Robert Cashman, business manager of CTS during Davis's time as President. Of particular note is a series of letters detailing Davis's last days. While this collection contains many of the addresses Davis gave while President of CTS, this collection is notably lacking in materials from early on in his Presidency and in materials detailing his administrative duties, policies, and personal opinions.
It should be noted that this collection is both wide-ranging in its breadth and lacking in details. It paints neither a complete picture of Davis nor of his Presidency. Perhaps the most comprehensive view it offers is of journalist and CTS benefactor Victor Freemont Lawson (1850-1925) in a biography penned by Davis himself.
Materials are arranged into two series. Materials in Series I: Davis Collection are arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically. Items in Series II: Victor Lawson Biography Manuscript are arranged in chapter order with peripheral material arranged alphabetically by subject at the end. Please see the detailed container listing below for more detail.
The following list contains related materials held by the Congregational Library. In addition to these works, many of Davis's publications can be found in digital format at Internet Archive. The Congregational Library also holds Davis's personal copy of John Robinson: the pilgrim pastor (RBR 9.1.36) which includes annotations and notes.
By Ozora Stearns Davis:
Elihu Burritt an apostle of international brotherhood (20.3.1. BUR)
Frank Gibson Ward (20.3.1 WAR)
The gospel in the light of the great war (126.96.36.199)
In memory of Betsey Shipman Gates Mills (20.3.2 MIL)
John Leete Rogers (20.3.1 ROG)
John Robinson: the pilgrim pastor (9.1.36)
Life-giving convictions: an address (30.4 1002)
Meeting the master (11.1.242)
The Pilgrim faith (15.4 5846 DAO-DEL)
Preaching on church and community occasions (188.8.131.52)
Preaching on the social gospel (28.5.122)
Using the Bible in public address (184.108.40.206)
By Grace Tinker Davis:
Ozora Stearns Davis : his life and poems (D29.62D)
Detailed Description and Container List
Series I: Davis Collection
|This series contains materials by or relating to Ozora Stearns Davis intentionally collected into one cohesive whole by Chicago Theological Seminary. While most items were produced by or reference Davis, it is not clear which portion of the materials come from his own personal papers. Materials in this section are arranged alphabetically by subject or topic. Please note that much of the correspondence has been replaced with photocopies of the originals.|
|Folder 1||Addresses and Proclamations||1923, 1927, undated|
|Folder 2||Congregational Christian Union||1928-1929|
|Folder 3||Congregational Foundation for Education;
Colleges of Congregational Affiliation
|Folder 4||Convocation of Congregational Ministers||1918-1919, 1926|
|Folder 5||Correspondence||1919-1931 [gaps], undated|
|Folder 6||"Heroism and Romance in Pilgrim History" Manuscript||undated|
|Folder 7||"John Robinson" Manuscript||undated|
|Folder 8||Newspaper Clippings and Photographs||1923, 1927, undated|
|Folder 9||"Photos of Corbels – Chicago Theological Seminary Cloisters"||undated|
|Folder 10||Posthumous and Memorial Material||1931|
|Folder 11||Publications||1908-1930 [gaps], undated|
|Folder 12||Publications – Duplicates|
|Folder 13||Reports||1909, 1928, undated|
|Volume 1||"John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers" Dissertation||1896|
Series II: Victor Lawson Biography Manuscript
|This series contains material gathered and written by Ozora Stearns Davis about his friend Victor Freemont Lawson (1850-1925). Materials are arranged in chapter order with peripheral material at the back. Please note that chapter 1 of the manuscript is missing. Please also note that much of the correspondence has been replaced with photocopies of the originals.|
|Folder 1||Chapters 2-5||undated|
|Folder 2||Chapters 6-7||undated|
|Folder 3||Chapter 8||undated|
|Folder 4||Chapter 9||undated|
|Folder 5||Chapter 10||undated|
|Folder 6||Chapters 11-13||undated|
|Folder 7||Chapters 14-15||undated|
|Folder 8||Chapters 16-17||undated|
|Folder 10||Correspondence||1929-1930, 1933|
|Folder 11||Draft of chapter 7||undated|
|Folder 12||Notes and supporting material||1920, undated|