Main content

Edward N. G. Davis family papers


Held at: Newtown Square Historical Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 3, Newtown Square, PA, 19073

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Newtown Square Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Records show the first appearance of the Davis family in Newtown Square, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, at the time of the 1850 census. Edward and Drucilla Gardner Davis lived in Newtown with their six children for several years but then moved away. One of the children, William Thomas Davis, returned as an adult to settle in the township in 1866.

At first, William T. Davis earned his living by farming and cattle droving. Then, in 1868, he bought the Newtown Square Inn. Seeing a business opportunity, he began to hold livestock auctions at the hotel: Davis provided lodging facilities for sellers, buyers, and livestock; he also made a profit from auction services. He became a prominent member of the local community, serving as township supervisor and auditor. In 1877, William married Sarah (Sallie) Jane Kirk. Their son, Edward Nathan Grim Davis, was born in 1880. The family continued to live in and operate the Inn until 1897; they kept ownership of the hotel, leasing out its operations, until just after William T. Davis's death in 1916.

Edward N. G. Davis attended State Normal School in West Chester, the St. Luke's School at Bustleton, and Swarthmore College (for two years). In 1896, he entered into partnership with Harvey Patterson as dealers in groceries and produce under the firm name of Davis & Patterson. He also worked at the local lumberyard before becoming a real estate broker. Edward married Amelia Lavender in 1906, and they had two children: Elizabeth L. Davis (born 1908) and William Thomas Davis (1911-2002).


Humes, Doug. "The Davis Family: An Appreciation." December 12, 2011. Accessed June 13, 2013.

This collection consists largely of financial ledgers, with some correspondence, photographs, and other document types. Most items relate to Edward N. G. Davis, with another large portion of items from his father, William T. Davis. There are also materials from several other family members, including Keziah G. Davis (sister of William T. Davis), Sarah (Sallie) Jane Kirk Davis, and Amelia L. Davis, as well as the first minute book of the Improvement Association of West Chester Road (1909-1910) and voter registries for Newtown Square (1924-1925).

From Edward N. G. Davis, this collection includes financial records, township voter registries, and some personal documents. There are two general account books with tenant apartment house registers, income, chicken accounts, some clippings, receipts, and other information, 1917-1957 and 1957-1973; three volumes of account books and daybooks from the Davis & Patterson grocery store, 1896; two voter registries for Newtown Township, from when E. N. G. Davis served as assessor, 1924-1925; and other miscellaneous documents including E. N. G. Davis's wallet with membership and registration cards, his personal laundry record (1898-1899), and a photocopy of a deed from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington Railroad Company (1968).

From William T. Davis, this collection includes several kinds of financial ledgers. There are two accounts of cow and horse sales, 1882-1884 and 1887-1889; two account books, 1873-1874 and 1878-1883; and three daybooks, 1867-1869, 1873-1874, and 1885-1890. There are also two photograph albums, circa 1870, that belonged to his wife, Sarah Jane Kirk Davis, and sister, Keziah Gardner Davis, respectively. Of special interest are several framed photographs of the Newtown Square Inn, circa 1880-1915.

There is a fair amount of correspondence in this collection, mostly to Edward N. G. Davis and William T. Davis, with some to Keziah G. Davis. It dates from circa 1880-1910 but the bulk is from the 1890s; much of the correspondence is from when Edward was attending State Normal School in West Chester (now West Chester University) in the late 1890s.

The remaining records in this collection are from other Davis family members or are not clearly identified: Davis account book ("to sundries"; indexed), 1817-1819; account book (Patter's Mill?), 1883; Joseph Lewis receipt book 1796-1826; two account books (indexed), 1902-1906 and 1906-1909; address book, circa 1950; and schoolwork and grade books.

Gift of Randall P. K. Davis, 2011.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Newtown Square Historical Society directly for more information.

Newtown Square Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Newtown Square Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest