Robert Davis started his life-long and illustrious journalism career as an 18-year-old compositor for the Carson City Appeal in 1887. The acclaimed writer eventually went on a tour of the world as a columnist for the old New York Sun. For an interview with Mussolini in Rome in 1926, Davis was made an honorary life member of the staff of The Associated Press.
From the New York Public Library archive:
Robert Hobart Davis, journalist, editor, dramatist and photographer was born in Nebraska in 1869. The son of Sylvia Nichols and George Ransome Davis, he spent most of his childhood in Carson City, Nevada. It was in Carson City that Davis gained his first newspaper experience working as a compositor on the Carson City Daily Appeal. Davis began his writing career in earnest in San Francisco where he became a leading reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, the Call and Chronicle.
Davis moved to New York in 1895 where he worked for the New York World and the New York Journal before joining the Frank A. Munsey Company in 1904. During his years with the Company, Davis edited Munsey’s Magazine and started several other publications for which he also served as first managing editor. These included All Story Magazine, The Cavalier and The Ocean. As an editor Davis was well known for his keen criticism, his constant encouragement and his sound and willing advice. These qualities are evident in the hundreds of letters Davis wrote and received during his lifetime. Among the many writers who Davis is credited with “discovering” are O. Henry, Zane Grey, Montague Glass and Frank Packard.
After Frank Munsey’s death in 1925, Davis was made a member of the executive board of the Munsey-owned New York Sun. At that time Davis turned from his editorial work to writing a regular column for the Sun called “Bob Davis Reveals”. Appearing three times a week the column chronicled Davis’s adventures, opinions, perceptions and personal encounters as he traveled for the Sun.
In addition to his editorial work and regular column, Davis wrote plays, books including Ruby Robert – Alias Bob Fitzsimmons, The Caliph of Bagdad-Life of O. Henry (with Arthur Maurice), Bob Davis Recalls, On Home Soil With Bob Davis and Hawaii. U. S. A., poetry and articles on golf and fishing, two of his preferred hobbies. Davis was an accomplished amateur photographer and in over 200 of his portraits were published in 1932 in Man Makes His Own Mask.
Robert Hobart Davis died in Montreal in October, 1942, while traveling for his “Bob Davis Reveals” column.