A Guide to the Papers of Homer E. Davis, ca. 1861-2000 (bulk 1967-1982) Davis, Homer E., Papers Ms2001-051

A Guide to the Papers of Homer E. Davis, ca. 1861-2000 (bulk 1967-1982)

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2001-051


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

©2005 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Homer E. Davis Papers,1861-2000 (Bulk, 1967-1982)
Physical Characteristics
16.0 Linear feet 35 boxes
Davis, Homer E.
A collection of photographs resulting from an effort to record the gravesites of Civil War generals. Also represented are the gravesites of other prominent personalities in U. S. military, political, legal, business, entertainment, art and literary history--together with research files on cemeteries and individuals. Materials related to historical organizations (particularly District of Columbia area Civil War roundtables); Civil War printed materials and memorabilia; and personal materials.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Homer E. Davis Papers, , Ms2001-051, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Homer E. Davis Papers were donated to Special Collections at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in August 2001.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Homer E. Davis Papers commenced in April 2002 and was completed in July 2002.

Biographical/Historical Information

Homer Ellis Davis, a realtor, stockbroker and Civil War history enthusiast, was born in Livingston, Montana on 28 October 1922, the son of Ellis Davis and May Beach. During World War II, Davis joined the Army Air Corps and served in the Panama Canal Zone and Caribbean. Returning to Montana in 1946, Davis attended Montana State University for a year before transferring to Georgetown University, graduating from the School of Foreign Service in 1951. Davis married Margaret Ernestine "Peggy" Smith on 12 June 1952. Soon thereafter he went to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and remained there until 1957, when he joined a realty company in Lansing, Michigan. In 1959, Davis returned to Washington, D. C. and worked as a stockbroker until his health forced him into retirement in 1971. Davis devoted his retirement years largely to his interest in American history--particularly the Civil War. He was an active member in both the American Revolution and Civil War roundtables of Washington, D. C., as well as the Civil War Roundtable of Alexandria, Virginia. Davis' main interest, however, lay in photographing cemetery monuments. The cemetery project was apparently initiated as a means to document and preserve the gravesites of Civil War generals, but Davis also photographed the gravesites of politicians, judges, entertainers, authors and others. While photographing cemeteries in Michigan, Davis was involved in a car accident and died on 6 August 1982 as a result of his injuries. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Homer E. Davis, a Civil War enthusiast whose hobby was documenting and photographing the gravesites of Civil War generals and other historical figures and celebrities. The collection is divided among the following series: Cemeteries and Gravesites, Historical Organizations, Printed Material, Memorabilia, Personal Materials and Oversize Materials.

The Cemeteries and Gravesites series represents the core of the collection and is arranged in two subseries. The Gravesite Research subseries contains materials gathered by Davis during his research on various cemeteries and other historic sites (homes, battlefields, monuments, etc.) as well as individuals. The files provide details--including maps and brochures--on cemeteries throughout the United States and often contain biographical information on the interred. Also included are a few files of correspondence with other cemetery researchers and files on cemetery topics that are not location-specific. The Gravesite Images subseries contains more than 12,000 black-and-white gravesite photos. Nearly every photo includes brief biographical information on its verso. The photographs are complemented by approximately 800 color slides. Negatives are included as well.

The Historical Organizations series contains materials accumulated by Davis during his membership in various organizations and includes such materials as correspondence, memoranda, rosters, notes and printed materials (newsletters). The series is arranged in four subseries: American Revolution Roundtable of the District of Columbia; Civil War Roundtable of Alexandria, Virginia; Civil War Roundtable of the District of Columbia; and Other Historical Organizations.

The Printed Materials series contains such items as booklets and magazine articles (including items related to Civil War topics but not to research for the cemetery project or the roundtables) and catalogs from dealers in Civil War publications and memorabilia.

The Memorabilia series includes Civil War commemorative items as well as relics from the Civil War era.

The few materials in the collection that relate to Davis' personal life may be found in the Personal Materials series. The series contains such things as correspondence, invitations and biographical information.

The Oversize Materials series consists of items pulled from the other series because they were too large to be inter-filed with other items in those series.


Series I: Cemeteries and Gravesites, 1972-1982, n.d.
This collection of materials related to Davis' cemetery research and photography is divided between two subseries:

Gravesite Research
The research files include notes, correspondence and printed materials. Materials are arranged alphabetically by state, then locale, with foreign locations at the end. Correspondence with other researchers and files on topics that are not location-specific complete the subseries.

Gravesite Images
Both the color slides and the photographs are filed alphabetically by the names of the people whose graves are pictured. The negatives at the end of the subseries are arranged alphabetically by state. Images of graves in Southwest Virginia are available in the Virginia Tech Imagebase.

Series II: Historical Organizations, 1951-1981, n.d.
The papers and other materials arising from Davis' involvement with various historical organizations are arranged in four subseries:

American Revolution Roundtable of the District of Columbia
Includes newsletters and other general materials. Arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Civil War Roundtable of Alexandria
Includes preparatory documentation for field trips (research notes, printed material, etc.), correspondence and memoranda, newsletters, and general materials. Arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Civil War Roundtable of the District of Columbia
Includes the same types of material as the Alexandria roundtable files, as well as rosters, programs and presentation texts. Arranged by document function, then chronologically.

Other Historical Organizations
Includes newsletters and brochures from other Civil War roundtables, as well as materials (notes, brochures, invitations, etc.) from non-roundtable organizations. Arranged alphabetically by name of organization.

Series III: Printed Materials, 1929-2000, n.d.
Arranged in two subseries:

Articles and booklets
These materials relating to the Civil War are arranged alphabetically by title.

These catalogs from dealers in Civil War publications and relics are arranged alphabetically by dealers' names.

Series IV: Memorabilia, 1952-1976, n.d.
This series includes modern Civil War commemorative items as well as relics from the Civil War era. The materials are arranged by type, with the commemorative items preceding the relics.

Series V: Personal Materials, 1929-1981, n.d.
This small collection of materials related to Davis' personal life is arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Series VI: Oversize Materials, 1863-1978, n.d.
This series contains items which were too large to be inter-filed with materials in the other series. Items in this series are arranged according to the order in which they would have been filed had they remained with their respective series.

Index Terms


  • Cemeteries
  • Civil War
  • Sepulchral monuments
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contents List

Series I: Cemeteries and Gravesites, 1972-1982, n.d.
  • Subseries A: Gravesite Research
    • Box-folder 1-1
    • Box-folder 1-2
    • Box-folder 1-3
    • Box-folder 1-4
    • Box-folder 1-5
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 1-6
    • Box-folder 1-7
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 1-8
    • Box-folder 1-9
      District of Columbia
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 1-10
    • Box-folder 2-1
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 2-2
    • Box-folder 2-3
    • Box-folder 2-4
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 2-5
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 2-6
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 3-1
    • Box-folder 3-2
    • Box-folder 3-3
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 3-4
    • Box-folder 3-5
      (4 folders)
    • Box-folder 3-6
      Massachusetts A-K
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 4-1
      Massachusetts L-Z
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 4-2
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 4-3
    • Box-folder 4-4
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 4-5
    • Box-folder 4-6
    • Box-folder 4-7
    • Box-folder 4-8
    • Box-folder 4-9
      New Hampshire
    • Box-folder 4-10
      New Jersey
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 5-1
      New Mexico
    • Box-folder 5-2
      New York (except New York City area)
      (5 folders)
    • Box-folder 5-3
      New York City: The Bronx
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 5-4
      New York City: Brooklyn
    • Box-folder 5-5
      New York City: Manhattan
    • Box-folder 5-6
      New York City: Queens and Staten Island
    • Box-folder 5-7
      North Carolina
    • Box-folder 5-8
      North Dakota
    • Box-folder 6-1
      (4 folders)
    • Box-folder 6-2
    • Box-folder 6-3
    • Box-folder 6-4
      (6 folders)
    • Box-folder 7-1
      Rhode Island
    • Box-folder 7-2
      South Carolina
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 7-3
      South Dakota
    • Box-folder 7-4
    • Box-folder 7-5
    • Box-folder 7-6
    • Box-folder 7-7
    • Box-folder 7-8
      Virginia A-E
      (5 folders)
    • Box-folder 8-1
      Virginia F-Z
      (6 folders)
    • Box-folder 8-2
    • Box-folder 8-3
      West Virginia
    • Box-folder 8-4
    • Box-folder 8-5
    • Box-folder 8-6
      Foreign Countries
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 9-1-3
      Correspondence: Jack Brown, 1975-1982, n.d.
    • Box-folder 9:4
      Other correspondents, 1972-1981, n.d.
      3 folders
    • Box-folder 9-5-6
      Notes on cemetery trips, 1975-1980
    • Box-folder 9-7
      General cemetery research materials, 1978-1981, n.d.
  • Subseries B: Gravesite Images
    • Boxes 10-11
      Scope and Contents note

      A-K, L-Z

    • Boxes 12-24
      Scope and Contents note

      A-Bld; Ble-Chd; Che-De Z; Dea-Fq; Fr-Har; Has-Joq; Jor-Mam; Man-Nek; Nel-Rd; Re-Smh; Smi-Tos; Tot-Will; Wilm-Z

    • Box 25
Series II: Historical Organizations, 1951-1981, n.d.
  • Subseries A: American Revolution Roundtable of the District of Columbia
    • Box-folder 26-1
      Newsletters, 1975-1999
    • Box-folder 26-2-3
      Organizational papers, 1974-1980, n.d.
  • Subseries B: Civil War Roundtable of Alexandria
    • Box-folder 26-4
      Newsletters, 1998-2000
    • Box-folder 26-5
      Correspondence, 1957-1971, n.d.
    • Box-folder 26-6
      Organizational papers, 1958-1999, n.d.
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 26-7
      Field trip: New Market, 1974
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 26-8
      Field trip: Spotsylvania, 1974
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 26-9
      Field trip: Stuart's raid on Chambersburg, [1973?]
    • Box-folder 27-1
      Field trip: The Wilderness, 1976
      (2 folders)
  • Subseries C: Civil War Roundtable of the District of Columbia
    • Box-folder 27-2
      Field trip: Antietam, 1973
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 27-3
      Field trip: Gettysburg, 1971
      (3 folders)
    • Box-folder 27-4
      Field trip: Lee's retreat from Richmond, 1971
    • Box-folder 27-5
      Field trip: Manassas, First, 1961
      Scope and Contents note

      Manassas, First

    • Box-folder 27-6
      Field trip: Manassas, Second, 1979
    • Box-folder 27-7
      Field trip: Monocacy, 1975
    • Box-folder 27-8
      Field trip: South Mountain, 1972
    • Box-folder 27-9
      Field trip: Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign, 1968
    • Box-folder 27-10
      Other field trips, 1967-1979, n.d.
      Scope and Contents note

      General field trip materials

    • Box-folder 27A-1
      Presentations, 1975-1981, n.d.
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 27A-2
      Programs, 1951-1978
    • Box-folder 27A-3-4
      Correspondence, 1967-1980, n.d.
    • Box-folder 28-1
      Membership rosters, 1970-1980, n.d.
    • Box-folder 28-2-4
      Newsletters, 1959-1998, n.d.
    • Box-folder 28-5
      General Materials, 1961-1979, n.d.
  • Subseries D: Other Organizations
    • Box-folder 28-6
    • Box-folder 28-7
      (2 folders)
    • Box-folder 28-8
    • Box-folder 28-9
    • Box-folder 28-10
    • Box-folder 29-1
    • Box-folder 29-2
    • Box-folder 29-3
    • Box-folder 29-4
    • Box-folder 29-5
      (2 folders)
Series III: Printed Materials, 1929-2000, n.d.
  • Subseries A: Booklets and Articles
    • Box-folder 30-1
      • Alexandria: Occupied City, 1861-1865, a City-Wide Civil War Exhibit, [1978]
      • Bedford Soldiers in the Civil War: A Paper Read Before the Beford Historical Socity by Melvin M. Scott, 1970
      • The Cairo Story n.d.
      • Civil War Action in Rockingham County Virginia, n.d.
      • The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Dissertation Bibliography , [1980]
      • Civil War Deterrent: the Defenses of Washington, 1966
      • "Civil War Monitor Tecumseh Recovery Planned," 1971
        Scope and Contents note

        reprinted from Naval Engineers Journal, Feb 1971

    • Box-folder 30-2
      • Grafton and Taylor County [West Virginia] During the Civil War Days and Points of Interest, 1961
      • Historical Society of Fairfax, Virginia, Inc. , 1962-1963
      • "If the South Had Won the Civil War" ( Look, 1960
    • Box-folder 30-3
      (4 folders)
      • "Lee and Napoleon : Gentleman and Player," n.d.
        Typescript, 4 folders
    • Box-folder 30-4
      • "Memoranda on the Civil War : Comments on General Grant's 'Chattanooga Campaign'" [ Century Magazine, ?] n.d.
      • "Military History and Policy of the United States" ( Military History, ) Sep 1929
      • Museum of the Confederacy Newsletter, Spring 1979
      • North and South: the Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, Jun 2000
    • Box-folder 30-5
      • "Our March Against Pope" [Century Magazine, ?] n.d.
      • The Stonewall Brigade: of a Band of Heroes and Their Commanders, 1956
      • The Valley Dispatch, Sep 1984
      • "What Happened to Lincoln's Body" (Life, ) Feb 15 1963
  • Subseries B: Dealer Catalogs, 1977-1983, n.d.
    • Box-folder 30-6
    • Box-folder 30-7
    • Box-folder 30-8
    • Box-folder 30-9
    • Box-folder 30-10
Series IV: Memorabilia, 1952-1976, n.d.
Arrangement note

Memorabilia commemorating the Civil War appears before actual relics from the Civil War.

  • Box-folder 31-1
    "Medallic History of the Civil War" commemorative medallions, n.d.
    2 folders
  • Box-folder 31-2
    Lincoln Mint Civil War commemorative medallion set, n.d.
    (2 folders)
  • Box-folder 31-3
    Other commemorative medallions, 1970-1972, n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-1
    Abraham Lincoln images and printed material, n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-2
    • Robert E. Lee and Lee family, n.d.
      11 items
    • A. P. Hill carte de visite (reproduction), n.d.
    • Washington D. C. / Baltimore area scenes, n.d.
      20 items
    • Monticello, Virginia, n.d.
    • "Stonewall" Jackson, n.d.
    • Samuel Eddy (Medal of Honor recipient, 37th Massachusetts Infantry), n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-3
    Other images
    • John Brown, n.d.
    • Nathan Bedford Forrest, n.d.
    • Civil War uniform prints, n.d.
    • Historic locomotive color-etch prints (Civil War era), n.d.
    • Composite portrait, Confederate commanders, n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-4
    "101 Civil War Battles" slide chart, n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-4
    "The Original Red Tape," n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-4
    Civil War collectors' stamps, n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-4
    Sheet music for "O I'm a Good Old Rebel" [reprint], n.d.
  • Box-folder 32-4
    Program honoring 86th anniversary of Ulysses S. Grant's birth (New York Avenue Presbyterian Church), 1908
  • Box 33
    Last meeting of Lee and Jackson - stained glass, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Kepi (reproduction) - 33rd Virginia CSA Regiment, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Miniature "Flags of the Confederacy" set, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Metal bookends (Union and Confederate soldiers), n.d.
  • Box 33
    Bust of Lincoln - Presented to Davis by Chicago Roundtable, 1976
  • Box 33
    Core sample of rock beneath National Tower in Gettysburg, 1972
  • Box 33
    Confederate trivet, 1952
  • Box 33
    Paperweight - American Revolution Roundtable of the District of Columbia, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Paperweight - Civil War Roundtable of the District of Columbia, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Civil War playing cards, 1961
  • Box 33
    Union uniform buttons (reproductions), n.d.
    4 items
  • Box 33
    Salt and pepper shakers (Union and Confederate hats), n.d.
  • Box 33
    Piece of brick from the Garret House (Port Royal, Virginia), where John Wilkes Booth was shot, n.d.
  • Piece of glass from the Garret House (Port Royal, Virginia), where John Wilkes Booth was shot, n.d.
  • Box 33
    Confederate officer uniform buttons, n.d.
    7 items
  • Box 33
    Metal spikes, n.d.
    2 items
  • Box 33
    Grand Army of the Republic, n.d.
    Scope and Contents note

    (in wooden box labeled "Thos. P. Ward, Cohasset, Mass, G.A.R., 98")

    • Box 33
      Uniform buttons, n.d.
      3 items
    • Hat emblem (?), n.d.
    • Veteran's badge and ribbon, n.d.
  • Ambrotype of unidentified Union soldiers, n.d.
    2 items
  • Ambrotype of Robert E. Lee (hand-tinted), n.d.
Series V: Personal Materials, 1929-1981, n.d.
  • Box-folder 34-1
    Correspondence, 1929-1989, n.d.
  • Box-folder 34-2
    Biographical materials, 1945-1982, n.d.
  • Box-folder 34-3
    Invitations and color slides, 1962-1980, n.d.
  • Box-folder 34-4
    General materials, 1948-1981, n.d.
Series VI: Oversize Materials, 1863-1978, n.d.
  • Folder Oversize: 1
    Civil War Memorabilia
    • Civil War Times [re: Battle of Gettysburg], 1958
    • Civil War Times supplement [re: Battle of First Manassas], 1961
    • Southern Illustrated News, Jan 17 1863 (reproduction), n.d.
    • Jefferson Davis pencil portrait, 1971
    • Poster: "Memorial to the Loyal Sons of the South" portrait composite, n.d.
    • Views of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, n.d.
      (2 items)
    • Battle of Stone River lithograph (reproduction), 1978
    • Confederate soldier prints: artillery, cavalry and infantry, n.d.
    • Painting of Confederate soldiers stacking arms at Appomattox, by Hurley, 1951
    • American history scenes print set, n.d.
      (8 items)
    • "The U.S. Army in Action" - color prints, 1953
      (14 items)
    • Civil War recruiting poster (reproduction on linen), n.d.
    • Confederate bond, 1864
    • Arlo Greer print of Union troop review at Farmville, Virginia, n.d.
  • Folder Oversize: 2
    • Laurel Hill Cemetery (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), n.d.
      (4 items)
    • Chancellorsville, n.d.
    • Berryville, Virginia (topographical), n.d.
    • Gettysburg, n.d.
    • Second Manassas, 1972
    • Environs of Richmond, n.d.
    • Extract of Military Map of N. E. Virginia, 1865 (reproduction) 1951
    • Strangers Guide to Washington, D. C.: The City as Mr. Lincoln Knew It, 1968
    • Battle of Gettysburg (raised relief), n.d.
    • Atlanta as of 1938, showing the field and fortified lines of the Confederate forces, together with those of the Federal armies..., 1938
    • Civil War maps - U. S. Coast Survey (reproductions), n.d.
      (19 items)
    • Battle of Chancellorsville [reproduction], n.d.
    • Brandy Station battlefield, n.d.
    • Manassas National Battlefield Park, n.d.
      (6 items)
    • "The Picture Map of the Civil War," 1956
    • "A Pictorial Map Showing Historic Shrines and Battlefields of the Civil War, 1861-1865," 1961
    • "The Battles of Bull Run or First Manassas Virginia and Other Historic Incidents," 1961
    • "Martenet and Bond's Map of Montgomery County, Maryland (reproduction), 1985
  • Folder Oversize: 3
    Personal Materials
    • Studio portrait photograph of Davis wearing Confederate re-enactor's uniform, n.d.
    • Homer E. Davis diplomas, 1936-1951
      (2 items)
    • Survey plats for parcel 104/156 (Juniper St. / Georgia Ave.), Washington, DC, 1943-1948
      (8 items)
    • Architectural plans for apartment building at 7701 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC (Louis T. Rouleau, architect),1931, n.d.
      (6 items)
    • Architectural plans for apartment building at 7011 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC (Louis T. Rouleau, architect),
      (4 items)
    • Architectural plans for apartment building at 7611 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC (Louis T. Rouleau, architect),1931, n.d.
      (4 items)
    • Architectural plans for apartment building on Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC (Louis T. Rouleau, architect),
      (5 items)