DAVIS, JAMES FRANCIS (1870–1942). James Francis (J. Frank) Davis, newspaperman and author, was born on December 20, 1870, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of James and Ann E. (Francis) Davis. He attended public schools in New Bedford and Brockton, Massachusetts. He married Clara Franklin Draper on October 7, 1896. From 1886 to 1904 he worked as a newspaperman, salesman, and publicity man. In 1904 Davis began working for the Boston American as dramatic editor and special writer. In 1907 he became managing editor of the Boston Tribune; by 1908 he was a special political writer for the Boston Herald. He was city editor of the Boston Traveler in 1908–09 and associate editor of that paper in 1910, when, because of an injury, he retired to San Antonio, Texas. From 1911 to 1914 he did advertising and publicity work in San Antonio, and about 1915 he began writing fiction. Davis published several books and plays; Gold in the Hills (1930) was one of his better-known plays. He wrote short stories and serials for many of the popular magazines of the day, such as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, Scribner's, American, and others. The setting of many of his stories was Texas, and he was made an honorary Texas Ranger for his vivid stories of early western life. In 1935 Davis became the state supervisor of the Texas Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration, which published Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State (1940) and guidebooks of San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Houston, all under Davis's direction. He died on April 6, 1942, in San Antonio and was buried in Mission Burial Park in that city.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). San Antonio Express, April 7, 1942. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "DAVIS, JAMES FRANCIS," accessed July 22, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fda40.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox