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Charles A. Davis Papers

Identifier: VAULT-Ayer-MS-1980

Scope and Content of the Collection

Travel journal, letters and photographs collected by Charles A. Davis and his wife Bess Davis in the Philippines between 1900 and 1901.

The journal, entitled "Memorias sobre las Yslas Filipinas," (translates roughly to "Reports on the Philippines Yslas") documents a sea voyage from Manila to Gibraltar between May 17 and August 13, 1854. The text in Spanish, in which the author describes stops in the ports of Hong Kong, Singapore, Pinang Island in Malaysia, Aden, Suez, Cairo, Alexandria, Malta, and Gibraltar, has been extensively edited in pencil by another writer. Also included in the journal are a table of distances and time spent in each port; and a list of expenses. Six letters and a postcard, dated June 16-Oct. 1, 1900, were written by Charles A. Davis, a young American who left Cincinnati on May 22, 1900 to take up a job as a court reporter in Manila, after the Americans had taken control of the Philippines. His letters describe the voyage to Manila, his living arrangements, and the social life and customs of the city. His wife, Bess, whom he married on May 2, 1900, and who later joined him in Manila in 1901, wrote four letters, dated March 4-28, 1901, to family members back home, describing in great detail her life in Manila. Many of the photographs taken by the Davises show the interior of their house in Manila, room by room; their Filipino houseboys; their friends, John Hansserman and his wife; and Charles’ office. There are also many photos of streets and shops in Manila, cathedrals and churches, the gates of the walled city, and native scenes in the Philippines, China, Japan and Hawaii.


  • Creation: 1854-1901



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Charles A. Davis Papers open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Charles A. Davis Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Charles A. Davis

Court reporter in Manila, The Philippines.

Little information exists about Charles A. Davis. He traveled to Manila from Cincinnati in 1900 to take a position as a court reporter in Manilla in May of 1900. He was married to Bess (maiden name unknown) directly before his voyage to Manila and she joined him there in 1901. It is unclear how long he remained in the Philippines.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Charles A. Davis left Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 22, 1900, to take a job as a court reporter in Manila after the Americans had taken control of the Philippines. His wife, Bess, joined him in Manila in 1901. This collection consists of letters and photographs that describe Mr. and Mrs. Davis' lives in Manila. It also includes a travel journal in Spanish from 1854, titled "Memorias sobre las Yslas Filipinas," that Mr. and Mrs. Davis acquired.


Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

Vault 26 2


Gift, Walker B. Davis.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2011.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Charles A. Davis Papers, 1854-1901
Lisa Janssen
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States