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March 31, 2017 | History

David Brion Davis

16 February 1927 -

David Brion Davis (16 February 1927- )

David Brion Davis is 'Sterling Professor' of History Emeritus at Yale, Connecticut as well as Director Emeritus of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.

Born in Denver in 1927, the son of journalist, novelist, and screenwriter Clyde Brion Davis (1898-1962) and the artist and writer Martha Wirt Davis (1905-1951), David lived a peripatetic childhood in California, Colorado, New York, and Washington State and attended five high schools in four years.

Eighteen and having graduation from Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Haven) in June 1945, David was drafted and trained as a combat infantryman in preparation for a fall 1945 invasion of Japan. However the war ended and, because he had high school German, was assigned to the occupation in Germany for a year and became a member of the army's Security to police civilians.

At the time he was deciding he career and in a lengthy letter to his eighty-five year-old grandmother he described his experiences with "the appalling racism that many white American soldiers displayed when they encountered black soldiers in the segregated army". And adamantly, at first, wanting to go into this physics and mathematics, but later deciding to major in history, continuing into post-graduate research, and finally teaching, in college.

Indeed he went back to Dartmouth where by 1950 he won his Artium Baccalaureatus (summa cum laude) and was offered a post as instructor in history. He then got into Harvard University and whilst studying for his degree began teaching at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York as assistant professor. He achieve his Artium Magister degree three years later, followed by his Doctor of Philosophy by the end of another three years. <!-- 1956 -->

He continued at Cornell in the position of associate professor (1958-63), and within two years as 'Ernest I. White' Professor of History and had gained his Oxford University Masters (1963-69) a total of fourteen years even with a brief time lecturing in India.

By the end of the 60's he was at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut as their professor of history and working on yet another Masters of Arts (1969-72) at the end of which he was made 'Farnham' Professor of History (1972-78) and finally 'Sterling' Professor of History in 1978 - he remained, specializing in Slavery in the Western World and America, Antebellum America, and Intellectual history at Yale until 2001.

His books include Homicide in American Fiction (1957); The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (1966); The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (1975); Slavery and Human Progress (1984); Revolutions: American Equality and Foreign Liberations (1990); In the Image of God: Religion, Moral Values, and Our Heritage of Slavery (2001), Challenging the Boundaries of Slavery (2003), and Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (2006). He writes frequently for The New York Review of Books.

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 6 revisions
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March 31, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot add VIAF and wikidata ID
April 8, 2012 Edited by J Gill added full name, b.date, biog and pic
April 8, 2012 Edited by J Gill Added new photo
April 8, 2012 Edited by J Gill merge authors
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import