Richard Harding Davis
Richard Harding Davis
The American journalist Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916) was also a fiction writer and dramatist whose swashbuckling adventures were popular with the American public.
Richard Harding Davis was born into a well-to-do and rather pious Episcopalian family in Philadelphia. His father, an editorial writer, and his mother, a well-known fiction writer, often entertained Philadelphia artists and visiting actors and actresses, and the boy from the start was completely at ease with celebrities. After graduating from Episcopal Academy and Lehigh University, he studied political economy during a postgraduate year at Johns Hopkins University. In 1886 Davis became a reporter for the Philadelphia Press. The editor and other reporters confidently expected the cocky young dandy to fall on his face, but he shortly proved to be a superb reporter and a talented writer. From 1888 to 1890 he was in New York writing special stories for the Sun. He also published two volumes of short stories, Gallegher and Other Stories (1891) and Van Bibber and Others (1892). At the age of 26 he became the managing editor of Harper's Weekly and soon was writing accounts of his worldwide travels, which were collected in books such as Rulers of the Mediterranean (1894), About Paris (1895), and Three Gringos in Venezuela and Central America (1896).
As a picturesque and alert correspondent for New York and London newspapers, always appropriately attired for each adventure, Davis covered the Spanish War and the Spanish-American War in Cuba, the Greco-Turkish War, the Boer War, and—toward the end of his life (he died in 1916)—World War I. He based a number of books upon his experiences. More short stories filled 10 volumes, including The Lion and the Unicorn (1899), Ranson's Folly (1902), and The Scarlet Car (1907). A number of Davis's novels covered the international scene; notable were Soldiers of Fortune (1897), The King's Jackal (1898), Captain Macklin (1902), and The White Mice (1909). In addition, Davis wrote about two dozen plays, of which dramatizations of Ranson's Folly (1904), The Dictator (1904), and Miss Civilization (1906) were the most successful.
The critic Larzer Ziff in The American 1890's admirably summarized Davis's significance: "He demonstrated to those … who would listen that their capacity for excitement was matched by the doings in the wide world. But he also demonstrated to an uneasy plutocracy … that their gospel of wealth coming to the virtuous and their public dedication to genteel manners and gentlemanly Christian behavior were indeed justified."
For a complete list of Davis's writings consult Henry Cole Quinby, Richard Harding Davis: A Bibliography (1924). Two studies relate the author to his background admirably: Fairfax D. Downey, Richard Harding Davis: His Day (1933), and Gerald Langford, The Richard Harding Davis Years: A Biography of a Mother and Son (1961).
Lubow, Arthur, The reporter who would be king: a biography of Richard Harding Davis, New York: Scribner; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada; New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992. □
"Richard Harding Davis." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/richard-harding-davis
"Richard Harding Davis." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/richard-harding-davis
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Davis, Richard Harding
Richard Harding Davis, 1864–1916, American author and journalist, b. Philadelphia; son of Rebecca Harding Davis. After attending Lehigh and Johns Hopkins universities, he became a reporter in Philadelphia and later was on the New York Evening Sun. His stories and articles were soon attracting attention, and with the publication of Gallegher and Other Stories (1891), a collection of tales about a newsboy-detective, his reputation as a fiction writer was established. In 1890 he became managing editor of Harper's Weekly and began making trips in its behalf to various parts of the world. As a foreign correspondent he covered all the wars of his day and published several books recording his experiences; his war dispatches were colorful and dramatic, frequently at the expense of accuracy. Besides collections of short stories, his other writings include the novels Soldiers of Fortune (1897) and The Bar Sinister (1903) and the plays The Dictator (1904) and Miss Civilization (1906).
See his Adventures and Letters (ed. by his brother, C. B. Davis, 1917); biography by A. Lubow (1992).
"Davis, Richard Harding." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/davis-richard-harding
"Davis, Richard Harding." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/davis-richard-harding