Horace Mansell Davis, 1873-1971 [RG3625.AM]


RG3625.AM: Horace Mansell Davis, 1873-1971

Papers: 1890-1967
Valley, Greeley, Custer, Douglas, and Lancaster Counties, Neb.: Newspaper editor
Size: 6.5 cu.ft. and 1 reel of microfilm


Horace Mansell Davis was born in a sod house near Scotia, Greeley County, Nebraska, in 1873, one year after his parents came to Nebraska from Wisconsin in a covered wagon. Davis attended North Loup schools and became a teacher at Fish Creek when he was 18 years old. He later attended Milton University in Wisconsin and the Lincoln Normal University, where he earned a B.A. degree. After teaching in rural schools, he became editor of newspapers in Omaha, Broken Bow, Ord, and Greeley, Nebraska. With his brother, Ainslie L. Davis, Horace published the Greeley Leader-Independent in the early 1900s, before it consolidated with the Greeley Citizen.

Davis entered public service, becoming Clerk of the District Court of Valley County, and Assistant Clerk of the Nebraska House of Representatives during 1911, 1913, 1915, and 1917 sessions. He also served as Deputy and State Fire Marshall, and as President of the Capitol Fire Insurance Company and the Nebraska Publishing Company. Davis moved with his family to Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, in 1919, where he lived until his death in 1967.


This collection consists of manuscript materials arranged in eight series: 1) Correspondence, 1890-1967; 2) Diaries, 1891-1954; 3) Writings; 4) Speeches; 5) Newsletters, 1920-1928; 6) Scrapbooks; 7) School Journals, ca. 1925-1926; and 8) Miscellaneous. The collection relates primarily to Horace Davis’s work as newspaper journalist and editor, public official, political party worker, and businessman.

Series 1 consists of correspondence, 1890-1967, received and written by Horace M. Davis. This material comprises nearly half of the collection and deals with all of Horace Davis’s many careers and interests. Topics include his student life, politics, the Nebraska Press Association, and business interests. Folders 9-11 hold letters received by Richard Metcalfe during his campaign for the Senate. Folder 28 contains letters received by H. Richmond Davis (son of Horace Davis), 1923-1932. Series 2 contains diaries, 1891-1954, in 12 volumes. Volumes 1 and 2 are of interest because they provide a good accounting of Davis’s activities during 1891-1892. The other diaries are more akin to appointment books, which provide only very sketchy information.

The writings of Series 3 include school reports, articles, editorials, notes and fragments written by Horace M. Davis. Politics, literature, Nebraska history, public utilities, current events, and court cases are among the topics covered. Photocopied articles in Folder 5 provide the greatest variety of Davis’s work in good condition. The speeches in Series 4 deal primarily with fire prevention, rural electrification, public utilities, and political issues. Speeches delivered over the radio are noted.

Issues of Nebraska Utilities Information Bulletin, 1920-1928, form Series 5, Newsletters. Two bound volumes of newspaper clippings dealing with political issues, along with two microfilmed volumes, comprise the scrapbooks of Series 6. The filmed volumes contain biographical material, reminiscences, and articles by Horace M. Davis. Series 7, School Journals, contain notes made by H. Richmond Davis and Keith Davis for courses on philosophy, English, and applied mechanics. The miscellaneous topics of Series 8 include materials on public utilities, fire prevention, the Nebraska Press Association, the Executive Club, the Hastings Club, the 1944 political campaign, the 1915 Nebraska Legislature, and the Davis Family.

Note: See the photo component [RG3625.PH] for related images. See the Library Catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials relating to Horace M. Davis.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1890-1967

Box 1

  1. 1890-1899
  2. 1901-1905
  3. 1910-1911
  4. 1914
  5. 1915, Jan.-May
    a. 1915, June-Dec.
  6. 1916, Jan.-May
  7. 1916, June-July

Box 2

  1. a. 1916, Aug.-Oct.; 1917
  2. 1918-1919
  3. Richard Metcalf correspondence [senatorial campaign]
  4. Richard Metcalf correspondence [senatorial campaign]
  5. Richard Metcalf correspondence [senatorial campaign]
  6. 1920-1926

Box 3

  1. 1927
  2. 1928
  3. 1929
  4. 1930-1931
  5. 1932-1933

Box 4

  1. 1934
  2. 1935
  3. 1936-1939
  4. 1940-1941
  5. 1942-1943
  6. 1944-1945

Box 5

  1. 1946-1948
  2. 1949-1950
  3. 1951-1967
  4. Undated
  5. Letters to H. Richmond Davis, 1923-1930, Aug.
  6. Letters to H. Richmond Davis, 1930, Sept. – 1932, n.d.

Series 2 – Diaries, 1891-1954

Box 6

  1. 1891
  2. 1892
  3. 1902
  4. 1910
  5. 1948
  6. 1949
  7. 1950
  8. 1950
  9. 1951
  10. 1952
  11. 1954
  12. 1954

Series 3 – Writings

Box 7

  1. School papers
  2. Editorials and articles on politics, Nebraska history, current events, and public utilities
  3. Editorials and articles on politics, Nebraska history, current events, and public utilities
  4. Newspaper clippings by and about Horace M. Davis
  5. Photocopies of Horace M. Davis articles

Series 4 – Speeches

Box 8

  1. Speeches about fire prevention, rural electrification, public utilities, political issues
  2. Speeches about fire prevention, rural electrification, public utilities, political issues

Series 5 – Newsletters: Nebraska Utilities Information Bureau Bulletin

  1. 1920, June 7 – 1921, Apr. 23
  2. 1921, Apr. 30 – 1922, Aug. 25
  3. 1922, Sept. 1 – 1923, June 8

Box 9

  1. 1923, July 13 – 1925, Apr. 2
  2. 1925, Apr. 9 – 1926, Dec. 8
  3. 1926, Dec. 15 – 1928, July 25

Series 6 – Scrabooks

Box 10

  1. Bound Newspaper clippings about political issues
  2. Bound Newspaper clippings about political issues


  1. Biographical material, reminiscences and articles by Horace M. Davis. Scrapbooks only available on microfilm.
  2. Biographical material, reminiscences and articles by Horace M. Davis. Scrapbooks only available on microfilm.

Series 7 – School Journals, ca. 1925-1926

Box 10

  1. Philosophy notebook
  2. English notebook kept by H. Richmond Davis, 1925-1926
  3. History notebook
  4. Applied Mechanics notebook kept by Keith Davis

Series 8 – Miscellaneous

Box 11
Public power

Box 12
Fire Prevention
Nebraska Press Association
Executive Club
Hastings Club

Box 13
Native Sons and Daughters of Nebraska
1944 Political campaign
1915 Nebraska Legislature
Davis Family material
Legislative record

Subject headings:

Davis, Horace Mansell, 1873-1971
Davis family
Fire prevention — Nebraska
Journalism — Nebraska
Journalists — Nebraska
Metcalfe, Richard, 1861-1954
Nebraska Press Association
Politics, practical — Nebraska
Public power — Nebraska
Public utilities — Nebraska
Rural electrification — Nebraska

AIF/psw 02-28-1980
kfk    07-20-2000
Encoded TMM    03-25-2010

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