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Davidson Family papers

Identifier: 1981_112-UA

This collection includes materials documenting the life and career of Philip Grant Davidson, Jr. as well as the entire Davidson extended family. There are journals, correspondence and writings by Davidson, his parents, his sister, his wife and some of her family members, their children, and various other relations. They are divided into 6 series. Philip Grant Davidson served as the twelfth president of University of Louisville from 1951 to 1968. These papers include correspondence from 1946 to 1951 when Davidson served as dean of the graduate school at Vanderbilt University; photocopies of correspondence dating 1968 to 1972 addressed to Davidson, most written by Eleanor Turner, a longtime employee of the president's office, and correspondence with Davidson's successor Woodrow M. Strickler (see also Woodrow Mann Strickler papers). These letters detail the University of Louisville's relationships with the University of Kentucky, state legislature, and various governors at the time the university was entering the state system of higher education, as well as information about student unrest in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and general information about Louisville and the university at that time. Also included is a microfilm reproduction of a scrapbook concerning Davidson's presidential and post-presidential career. The microfilm provides access to materials still in private hands.


  • 1888-1996


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests have not been transferred to the University of Louisville; please consult a reference archivist for more information.


12 linear feet (6 records center boxes, 6 manuscript boxes, 2 half-manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 audiocassette box, 1 videocassette box, and one loose plaque)

Biographical / Historical

Philip Grant Davidson, Jr., was born in 1902 in Omaha, Nebraska, to the Rev. Philip Grant and Jessie Davidson, Sr., the eldest of two children. He attended the University of Mississippi then taught in the public school system before earning a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago. Until 1942 he taught history at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. From 1942-1951 he served as Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. He came to the University of Louisville as its twelfth president in 1951. Under his guidance, UofL began it first PhD programs, established the schools of business and education, and began work on new health sciences campus. Davidson oversaw the integration of the university as well as beginning of its the transition into the state university system. He left the university in 1968 to serve as a Ford Foundation advisor in Bangkok, Thailand. After that term ended he returned to Nashville, where he lived until his death in 2000. He was married to Jane Foot Davidson and together they had two children, Philip Grant Davidson, III and Ada Paige Davidson McClure.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1981-112 (photocopies of correspondence, 1968-1972, addressed to Davidson). Origin=? (check donor file)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1985-009 (letters of congratulation on appointment as president of U of L). Origin unknown (check donor file)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2003-052 (family letters, photographs, certificates) by gift, 10-3-2003. Origin unknown (check donor file). Accessioned by Kathie Johnson, 10-3-2003.

Davidson Family papers
Processed by: Archives Staff
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752