Jonathan O. Davis Records

 Collection
Identifier: 98-36

Scope and Contents

The Jonathan O. Davis Records documents Davis' professional career through materials related to his research projects, articles and other writings, professional associations, field notes and research data, and professional correspondence. Davis' personal life is represented by personal correspondence both to and from Davis and an interesting group of materials related to his involvement as a student in the anti-Vietnam War movement and the Students for a Democratic Society organization. There are legal documents such as his birth certificate; diplomas; and marriage, divorce, and annulment papers which provide a encapsulated view of marriage and divorce in the early 1970s. His career and personal interests can be followed through Davis' resumes and vitae, pilot's flight logs, files for Silver City civic organizations, genealogical materials, and personal journals and calendars.

The bulk of the professional portion of the collection consists of Davis' project files for work undertaken in the Great Basin of the American west, both as a private consultant and as a researcher for the DRI. Many of these projects resulted in professional publications, some of which are represented in this collection in Series II, Articles (both published and unpublished). Many of Davis' works can also be found cataloged as individual monographs in the University of Nevada, Reno, library catalog. Davis' vita (found in Series VII) lists those publications to 1985.

Davis, in addition to being a researcher at DRI, taught classes at the University of Nevada, Reno. The bulk of the documentation for this area of his career consisted of student exams, research papers, and final grade forms. Final grade forms were discarded because student grades are considered confidential. The student exams were also discarded; research papers were retained.

Davis' professional materials also contained correspondence, most of which dealt with administrative topics. Davis served on a number of DRI academic committees which are documented through this correspondence.

The materials reflecting Davis' personal life contains significant correspondence from his parents, E. Mott and Beth Ogden Davis, and from friends representing several phases of Davis' life. The correspondence from friends is interesting because it reflects many attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s on the topics of the Vietnam War, drugs, drinking, and rejections of traditional political authority. Likewise, documents connected with Davis' brief, first marriage and subsequent divorce and annulment reflect changing attitudes of the 1970s toward those institutions.

Dates

  • 1908-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1961-1990

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Jonathan Ogden Davis (JOD) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 15, 1948 to E. Mott Davis (EMD) and Beth Odgen Davis. The family moved to Austin, Texas, in 1956 where E. Mott Davis became a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. Jonathan Davis received a B.A. cum laude in anthropology and geological sciences from the University of Texas, Austin in 1969; an M.S. in geology from the University of Idaho in 1974; and a Ph.D. in geology, also from the University of Idaho, in 1977. His dissertation topic was "Quaternary Tephrochronology of Lake Lahontan, Nevada and California."

Davis was a geoarchaeologist and a research professor of geology at the Quaternary Sciences Center of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada. Over the course of his career, Davis was also a taught geology at the University of Nevada, Reno; and was a geological/archaeological consultant for the United States Geological Survey, private research companies and several universities. He was a co-founder of the Nevada Archeological Survey, a collaborative organization of archaeologists who contracted to evaluate cultural sites. He published extensively and frequently presented professional papers on archaeological and geological investigations, tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology, and other aspects of environmental history of the Great Basin region. He was one of the first researchers allowed into the Mount St. Helens area after that volcano erupted in May, 1980.

Davis was a member and officer in many professional organizations, including the Geological Society of America, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Friends of the Pleistocene, Nevada Archaeological Association, Nevada Am-Arcs, Northwest Scientific Association, Society for American Archaeology, and the Society of Professional Archaeologists.

When Davis was a student at the University of Texas, Austin, he was a member of the U.T. Students for a Democratic Society and participated in the Vietnam March on Washington, D.C., in November, 1965. He was a member of the University Speleological Society and continued his interest in cave exploration in later years, doing considerable caving in Mexico.

Davis was a pilot of both small craft and gliders. He lived in Silver City, Nevada, with his second wife, Sandra L. Powers and served on the Lyon County Mining Ordinance panel, the Silver City Town Advisory Board, and the Silver City Junior Ski Program.

Davis was killed in an automobile accident on December 14, 1990 which was caused by a drunken driver. He was survived by his wife Sandra Powers, father and mother, and brother Hugh Davis.

Extent

13 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The collection documents Davis' professional career through materials related to his research projects, articles and other writings, professional associations, field notes and research data, and professional correspondence. Topics in the professional papers include archaeological geology, volcanic ash studies, and Quaternary stratigraphy. Davis' personal life is represented by personal correspondence both to and from Davis and an interesting group of materials related to his involvement as a student in the anti-Vietnam War movement and the Students for a Democratic Society organization (1908-1991).

Arrangement

Arranged in the following series: 1) Professional Activities; 2) Jonathan O. Davis Articles; 3) Professional Activities; 4) Student Papers; 5) Field Notes and Research Data; 6) Professional Correspondence; 7) Personal Materials; 8) Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dave Rhode in October 1998.

Separated Materials

Photographs were transferred to the photographic archives of the Special Collections Department.

Processing Information

Photographs found in folders were not separated with other photographs and have been left within the folders in which they were found.

Title
Guide to the Jonathan O. Davis Records
Status
Completed
Author
Susan Searcy
Date
circa 1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)