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Royal J. Davis Family Collection

Identifier: FMS-153

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, essays, photographs, scrapbooks, and other material concerning the family of Jonah M. Davis.


  • 1870-1975

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Included with donor form.

Biographical or Historical Information

Jonah Mace Davis was born in Carteret County, North Carolina, March 2, 1824, the son of Jesse and Alice (Mace) Davis.  The Davises moved to Indiana in 1832 and settled near Spiceland in Henry County.  A brother, Rufus H. Davis (1827-1917) was the first student to enroll in Friends Boarding School, now Earlham College, in 1847.  Jonah M. Davis was educated in Quaker boarding schools at New Garden, Illinois, where he taught in the Vermilion Grove Friends Academy for five years, then became a merchant in Ridge Farm. In 1875, Jonah M. Davis married Rhoda Ellen Jenkins, known as Ella, who was born in Wabash County, Indiana, March 26, 1848, the daughter of Benjamin and Frances C. (Wiles) Jenkins.  She was recorded minister and evangelist among Orthodox Friends.  Their three children were born in Vermillion County.  In 1894 the family moved to Wabash, Indiana, but a year later they moved to Richmond, Indiana, so that the children could attend Earlham College.  All three became Earlham graduates: Royal Jenkins in the class of 1898; Ruby in the class of 1903; and Ellen in the class of 1904.  Jonah M. Davis died in Richmond, Sept. 15, 1899.  Ella (Jenkins) Davis died in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 8, 1900. The Davis sisters never married, but spent their lives as educators.  Nellie earned the M.A. at Columbia University and taught in Quaker schools around Philadelphia before opening a nursery school in Richmond, where she lived until her death.  Ruby Davis, after teaching English at Friends Select, Westtown, and Moorestown Friends Schools earned her Ph.D. in English at Cornell in 1925 and joined the Earlham faculty.  She taught until she retired in 1946. Royal J. Davis earned additional bachelors degrees at Haverford (1899) and Harvard (1900).  He married Louise Stanton, a 1904 Earlham graduate, in 1906.  They had five children.  After a year as business manager for The American Friend in Philadelphia, he taught at Guilford College from 1904 to 1906 and St. Johns College in Annapolis from 1906 to 1910.  In 1910 he joined the editorial staff of the New York Evening Post, where he also served as literary editor of the vocational journal Occupations.  Davis was considered a leading figure in New York City journalism.  He died in New York City, October 20, 1934.

Note written by


2 Boxes

Language of Materials



Correspondence, essays, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, publications, and ephemera of the family of Jonah M. Davis (1824-1899) and his wife Ella (Jenkins) Davis (1848-1900) and their children Royal J. Davis (1878-1934), Ruby (1880-1975), and Ellen (Nellie) Davis (1883-1974) of Richmond, Indiana, and New York.

Technical Access Requirements


Method of Acquisition

Donation, 2009, Marion Narr of Exmoor, VA, a granddaughter of Royal J. Davis.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are expected.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Thomas Hamm
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Friends Collection and Earlham College Archives Repository