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Personal papers of Mary Davidson

Call Number: PP 621


This collection contains personal correspondence, ephemera, lesson plans, and essays from University of Kansas English instructor Mary Davidson.


  • Creation: 1949 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Copyright retained by the family.

Biography of Mary Davidson (1926-2014)

Mary Davidson was born Feburary 11th, 1926 in Saint Louis, Missouri. She attended Washington University and earned a Master’s Degree from there in 1949. In 1981 she earned a Ph.D from the University of Kansas.

Davidson married Jack Davidson in 1949, who went on to become the head of KU's Physics and Astronomy department. They had four sons and moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1966, and Davidson began teaching as an instuctor and later lecturer at KU. She taught in both the English Department and briefly in Women's Studies.

Davdison also served as an assistant professor at Baker University from 1974-1976 and as an instructor for the Live-In English Program at Fujen University in Taiwan in the summer of 1969. She received a Kansas Committee for the Humanities grant to serve as humanist-in-residence at Independence (Kan.) Community College in 1983-1984 in order to organize a national conference on the Kansas-born playwright William Inge (1913-1973). She held a position as administrative assistant in the English Department at KU in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and she was assistant director of the core curriculum at Baker in 1975-1976.

Courses Davidson taught included focuses in theatre (including Shakespeare), women in literature, biography and autobiography, as well as writing composition and technical writing, among other courses.

Davidson retired in 1996, and became politically active. She worked with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was nominated as a Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegate in 2000. Davidson died on May 26, 2014.

[Information retrieved from Mary Davdison's curriculum vitae and other materials in the collection.]


6.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The bulk of Mary Davidson's papers focus on her teaching career. The collection includes research, paper drafts, correspondence, and other materials related to research and writing Davidson conducted on authors and playwrights including Tom Stoppard (1937-), William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Henry Green (1905-1973), and others. There are also anonymized student evaluations, syllabi, course notes, and other materials from courses Davidson taught, as well as notes and materials from Davidson's own studies at Washington University and the University of Kansas. There is a variety of material related to Davidson's study of William Inge and the conference she organized at Independence (Kan.) Community College.

The collection includes some personal materials, including correspondence, as well as materials related to Davidson's political activity after her retirement and materials related to community theatre in Lawrence, Kansas. The collection is organized chronologically, with undated materials at the end of the collection.

Physical Location

PP 621

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Jim Davidson, 2014.



Guide to the Mary Davidson Collection
Personal papers of Mary Davidson
Finding aid prepared by gem. Finding aid encoded by gem.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Mary Davidson, PP 621, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States