Martin L. Davey papers

The Special Collections & Archives reading room is closed, and all in-person (physical, face-to-face) services are suspended at this time. We are here to help! Please contact us to discuss how we can best serve you during this time.

Special Collections and Archives

Martin L. Davey papers

The Special Collections & Archives reading room is closed, and all in-person (physical, face-to-face) services are suspended at this time. We are here to help! Please contact us to discuss how we can best serve you during this time.

Special Collections and Archives

Martin L. Davey papers

Martin L. Davey papers

Storage Note: This material is housed in an off-site storage facility and requires at least up to three weeks for retrieval. Please call or email the department with requests for this material prior to your visit.


Biographical Note: Martin L. Davey was born on July 25, 1884 in Kent, Ohio to John Davey and Bertha Reeves. He was the third of seven children. John Davey, a cemetery caretaker by trade, had a professional interest in tree health and maintenance and, shortly after the turn of the century, came up with the idea for a tree surgery company. This had a major impact on young Martin's life. To help his father with the fledgling company's administrative and financial affairs, he left Oberlin College. In 1909 the enterprise was incorporated as the Davey Expert Tree Company. Tree surgery, was a new business concept; there were no benchmarks, no reference points for guidance. Profits did not come immediately. However, after nearly a decade of struggling, the Davey Tree Expert Company became an established success. John Davey served as company president from 1909 until his death in 1923. Martin suceeded his father and ran affairs until his own death in 1946. One of Martin's crowning achievements as company president was the Davey radio programs introduced to stimulate business after the stock market crash of 1929. Featuring Martin on the topic of tree care, these shows were a great public success. The Davey Institute of Tree Service, a technical and scientific school for tree surgery, was also established during his tenure.

In 1907, Martin Davey and Bernice Chrisman, also of Kent, Ohio, were married. They had three children. One daughter, Happy, died in early childhood; the other daughter, Evangeline, eventually married and settled in Kent. The only son, Martin L. Davey Jr. also married and settled in Kent. He went on to become president of the Davey Tree Expert Company after his father's death.

Motivated by the election of Woodrow Wilson, Martin Davey made the decision to enter politics in November 1912. At the age of twenty-nine, he was elected mayor of Kent, Ohio and served three terms in that capacity. Later on, after serving three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat (14th Ohio District), Martin was elected governor of Ohio in 1934, winning the election by 65, 000 votes. Inaugurated on January 14, 1935, he became the 53rd governor of Ohio and, in turn, earned a front row seat to many of the harsh problems and realities of the Great Depression, including bankrupt local governments, defunct banks, closed schools, massive unemployment, and numerous state projects without funding. Among some of Governor Davey's major accomplishments were the School Foundation Bill which allocated $45.00 for each elementary school student and $67.50 for each high school student, and a complete administrative overhaul of Ohio's Relief Administration. One of the major events during his tenure included the Ohio Steel Strike during the summer of 1937. Martin held the office of governor for two terms until 1938 when, in a bid for re-election, he was defeated by Republican candidate John Bricker.

In 1940, Martin attempted to recapture the governorship from Governor Bricker but fell short. During the Second World War, he was active in numerous local war efforts. Still at the helm of the Davey Tree Expert Company, Martin L. Davey died shortly after midnight on March 31, 1946.


Scope and Content: Coverage of this collection ranges from Martin L. Davey's early life until his death in 1946. Numerous types of materials are represented, including personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and photographs. The first two boxes are comprised of textual materials relating specifically to his life and career; they are arranged by chronologically-based subject headings, e.g., early life. The remainder of the collection is arranged chronologically under general subject headings.


Box 1--Early Life, Congressional Career, and Gubernatorial Career (including material on the Ohio Steel Strike)
Folder---Contents

  1. Early Life: Kent High School Alumni Directory: 1908
  2. Early Life: Kent High School Alumni Directory: 1921
  3. Early Life: Kent Hotel Company Stock Holder Dinner: September 8, 1921
  4. Early Life: Warren Harding Funeral Card: 1923
  5. Congressional Career: Congressional Record: January 27, 1925
  6. Congressional Career: Congressional Record: February 22, 1926
  7. Congressional Career: Congressional Record: March 24, 1926
  8. Congressional Career: Congressional Record: July 16, 1926
  9. Congressional Career: Davey's Reorganization Bill: 1926
  10. Congressional Career: Davey Biography from Ohio Review: June 1927
  11. Congressional Career: Correspondence with Wife: 1926-1927
  12. Congressional Career: President Hoover Inauguration: March 4, 1929
  13. Run for Governor: Announcement of Candidacy: February 5, 1934
  14. Run for Governor: Campaign Song Lyrics: 1934
  15. Run for Governor: Comparison of Democratic Candidates: 1934
  16. Run for Governor: Family Description: 1934
  17. Run for Governor: Congressional Labor Record: 1934
  18. Run for Governor: Stock Exchange/News Clips: 1933-34
  19. Governor: Inauguration/News Clips: January 20, 1935
  20. Governor: C.E. Black/Tax Commission: 1934-37
  21. Governor: Prison Newspaper/"New Day": May 4, 1935
  22. Governor: Delinquent Taxes: 1935-36 (oversized)
  23. Governor: Gasoline Tax: 1935-36
  24. Governor: Taxation of Foreign Diplomats: 1935-37
  25. Governor: Songs and Songbooks: 1935-36
  26. Governor: Miscellaneous News Clips: 1935-38
  27. Governor: Miscellaneous News Clips: 1935-38
  28. Governor: James Farley/Democratic National Committee: June 1936
  29. Governor: Great Lakes Exposition/Invitations: June-October 1936
  30. Governor: Ohio Department of Public Welfare Report: 1936
  31. Governor: Parkersburg Bridge Bond: 1936
  32. Governor: Personal Photographs/Ohio Landscapes: 1936
  33. Governor: Cigarette and Alcohol Tax: 1936-38
  34. Governor: Sales Tax Reports and Correspondence: 1936-38
  35. Governor: Primary Grade Conservation Education: 1936-38
  36. Governor: Correspondence to Governor Davey: 1936-40
  37. Governor: Inauguration/Second Term: January 11, 1937
  38. Governor: Inauguration/News Clip: January 11, 1937
  39. Governor: Presidential Birthday Ball Appointment: January 18, 1937
  40. Governor: FDR Inauguration: January 20, 1937
  41. Governor: FDR Victory Dinner Menu: March 6, 1937
  42. Governor: FDR Campaign Materials: 1936-44
  43. Governor: Market Street Riot/Younstown: June 10, 1937
  44. Governor: Poland Avenue Riot Transcript/ Youngstown: June 19, 1937
  45. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Press Release: June 20, 1937
  46. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Proclamation: June 21, 1937
  47. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike/ National Guard Orders: June 24, 1937
  48. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike/ Radio Speech: June 30, 1937
  49. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Correspondence: July 1937-March 1938
  50. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Speech/Pamphlet: September 23, 1937
  51. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Statement: November 20, 1937
  52. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike/ CIO Response: November 22, 1937
  53. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Address: 1937
  54. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Editorials: 1937
  55. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike/News Clips: 1937
  56. Governor: Ohio Steel Strike Statements: 1937
  57. Governor: Birthday Party Program: July 24, 1937
  58. Governor: BGSU Presidency Application/Dr. W. Collins: 1937
  59. Governor: Seagram's Illegal Alcohol Sales: 1937
  60. Governor: Appropriation Bill Speech: January 3, 1938
  61. Governor: Gubernatorial Campaign/ Materials: 1938
  62. Governor: Gubernatorial Campaign/News Clips: 1938
  63. Governor: Gubernatorial Campaign Radio Speeches: 1938
  64. Governor: Lucas County Tax Appraisals: 1938
  65. Governor: Miscellaneous News Clips: 1938
  66. Governor: Memorandum to Governor: undated
  67. Governor: Message to Ohio Members of Congress: undated
  68. Governor: Radio Speeches: undated
  69. Governor: Resolutions: undated
  70. Governor: State Departments Investigation Speech: undated

Box 2--1940 Gubernatorial Race, Later Life, and Death
Folder---Contents

  1. Governor's Race of 1940: Ohio Congressional District Map: 1937-38
  2. Governor's Race of 1940: Democratic Party Paper: January-May 1940
  3. Governor's Race of 1940: Letters to Newspapers/ From Davey: March-December 1940
  4. Governor's Race of 1940: Letters of Support/ To Davey: April-October 1940
  5. Governor's Race of 1940: Campaign Correspondence: April-November 1940
  6. Governor's Race of 1940: Democratic National Convention/ Certificate: June 6, 1940
  7. Governor's Race of 1940: "Liberal View"/ Davey Biography: June 1940
  8. Governor's Race of 1940: Letters to Governor Bricker/ From Davey: August 1940
  9. Governor's Race of 1940: Ohio Democratic Convention: September 1940
  10. Governor's Race of 1940: Radio Speeches: September-October 1940
  11. Governor's Race of 1940: News Releases: September-November 1940
  12. Governor's Race of 1940: Post-Election Letter to Governor Bricker: November 1940
  13. Governor's Race of 1940: Campaign Flyers, etc.: 1940
  14. Governor's Race of 1940: Campaign Materials: 1940
  15. Governor's Race of 1940: Campaign Paper/ "Victory News": 1940
  16. Governor's Race of 1940: County Wards and Precints: 1940
  17. Governor's Race of 1940: Governor Bricker Material: 1940
  18. Governor's Race of 1940: Old Age Pension Issue: 1940
  19. Governor's Race of 1940: New Ballots: 1940
  20. Governor's Race of 1940: News Clips: 1940
  21. Governor's Race of 1940: News Clips: 1940
  22. Governor's Race of 1940: Platform Materials: 1940
  23. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ African Americans: 1940
  24. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Agriculture: 1940
  25. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Business: 1940
  26. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Education: 1940
  27. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Ethnic Groups: 1940
  28. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Labor: 1940
  29. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Ohio Universities: 1940
  30. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Religious Leaders: 1940
  31. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Women: 1940
  32. Governor's Race of 1940: Target Groups/ Young Democrats: 1940
  33. Later Life: Second World War/ Letter to FDR: December 10, 1940
  34. Later Life: Governor Bricker Material: 1940-44
  35. Later Life: "Ohio Democrat's Day"/ Booklet: May 1943
  36. Later Life: Second World War/ News Clips: August 21, 1944
  37. Later Life: Slander Lawsuit/ Davey vs. Steward: 1944
  38. Later Life: Second World War/ War Financing Program: December 31, 1945
  39. Later Life: "Washington News Digest"/Davey Article: February 1946
  40. Later Life: Robert Taft Booklet: undated
  41. Davey's Death: Painted Portrait/ Correspondence: 1940-1947
  42. Davey's Death: U.S. Congressional Record: April 1, 1946
  43. Davey's Death: Davey Tree Company/ Memorial Publication: April 1946
  44. Davey's Death: Funeral Services/ News Clips: April 1946
  45. Davey's Death: Funeral Services/ News Clips: April 1946
  46. Davey's Death: Kent Elk Lodge/ Memorial Publication: April 1946
  47. Davey's Death: Memorial Address/ By Robert Guinther: April 1946
  48. Davey's Death: News Clips: April 1946
  49. Davey's Death: Poem/ By Thomas Williams: August 1946
  50. Davey's Death: Letters of Sympathy: 1946
  51. Davey's Death: Letters of Gratitude/ From Paul Davey: 1946
  52. Davey's Death: Telegram: 1946
  53. Davey's Death: Northwestern Insurance Company/ Davey Publication: February 1947
  54. Davey's Death: Career of Davey/ Paper: By Judge Caris: 1953
  55. Davey's Death: Comments Regarding Davey: 1970s

Box 3--Memorabilia
Folder---Contents

  1. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Honorary Degree/ Wiberforce University: 1935
  2. Martin Davey Memorabilia: License Plates/ Governor of Ohio: 1935
  3. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Grand Army of the Republic/ 70th Annual Encampment: 1936
  4. Martin Davey Memorabilia: "Forcean"/ Wilberforce University Yearbook: 1936
  5. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Standard Register Company/ Anniversary: 1937
  6. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Ohio National Guard and Naval Militia/ Annual: 1938
  7. Martin Davey Memorabilia: National Assn. of Postmasters/ Convention Program: 1940
  8. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Birthday Scrapbook/ July 1944
  9. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Autographed Piece of Wood: undated
  10. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Masonic Hat: undated
  11. Martin Davey Memorabilia: Traffic Safety Equipment/ Photos: undated

Box 4--Directories, Legislation, and Reports
Folder---Contents

  1. Directory: Congressional Directory/ 70th Congress: 1927
  2. Directory: Ohio/ Federal, State, and County Officers: 1933
  3. Directory: Ohio/ Federal, State, and County Officers: 1935
  4. Directory: Ohio/ Federal, State, and County Officers: 1937
  5. Directory: Ohio/ Federal, State, and County Officers: 1939-40
  6. Directory: Ohio/ Township, Municipal Officers, and Boards of Education: 1934-35
  7. Directory: Governors of the 48 States: 1938
  8. Legislation: House Bills/ New Acts: 1935-36
  9. Legislation: Senate Bills/ New Acts: 1935-39
  10. Legislation: Constitution of Ohio: 1936
  11. Legislation: General Corporation Act/ Foreign Corporations: 1936
  12. Legislation: Senate and House Calender: 1937
  13. Legislation: Bills in Committee/ Ohio General Assembly (nos. 140, 274, 473): 1937-38
  14. Legislation: House Bills Enacted Into Law/ Listing: June 29, 1964
  15. Report: Ohio Election Statistics: 1934
  16. Report: Ohio Election Statistics: 1936
  17. Report: Ohio Election Statistics: 1938

Box 5--Directories, Legislation, and Reports
Folder---Contents

  1. Report: Annual Report/ Director of Finance (Ohio): 1934
  2. Report: Annual Report/ Director of Finance (Ohio): 1936
  3. Report: American Road Builders' Association/ Convention Proceedings: 1935-36
  4. Report: State Department of Liquor Control/ Examination: 1935-36
  5. Report: State Department of Liquor Control/ Examination: 1937
  6. Report: State Department of Highways/ Triennial Report: 1935-37
  7. Report: Department of Public Welfare/ 50th Annual Report: 1936
  8. Report: Civil Service Laws of Ohio: 1937
  9. Report: Unencumbered Balances of Appropriations/ Analysis: 1937
  10. Report: Executive Budget/ Ohio: 1938
  11. Report: Ohio Department of Agriculture/ Livestock Report: 1938

Box 6
Folder---Contents

  1. Miscellaneous: Oversized Pencil: undated
  2. Miscellaneous: Sales Tax Stamps: undated
  3. Miscellaneous: Ticket Stubs, Passes, Etc.: 1936-40
  4. Miscellaneous: Ticket Stubs, Passes, Etc.: 1936-40
  5. Miscellaneous: Cancelled Postage Stamps: 1946
  6. Miscellaneous: Personal Stationary (Blank): undated
  7. Miscellaneous: Davey Campaign Posters: undated

Trays -- Badges, Pins, Ribbons, Etc.

  1. "53 Social Club"/ Davey Campaign: Pin: undated
  2. Democratic "Donkey": Pin: undated
  3. FDR and Garner/ Campaign: Pin: undated
  4. "Railway Employees Roosevelt Club"/ Stark County: Pin: undated
  5. "Roosevelt...Ohio"/ Campaign: Ribbon: 1940
  6. "Presidential Reception Committee/ President's Day--Marietta, Ohio: Badge: July 8, 1938
  7. Buckeye/ Campaign: Pins (4): undated
  8. Red, White, and Blue/ Campaign: Pin: undated
  9. "Davey"/ Campaign: Ribbons: undated
  10. Democratic National Convention/ Delegate: I.D. Card: 1940
  11. Democratic National Convention/ Delegate: Badge: 1940
  12. Democratic National Convention/ Honorary Assistant Secretary: Badge: 1940
  13. "Official Inaugural Badge"/ Governor of Pennsylvania: Badge: January 1935
  14. "National Encampment"/ Spanish War Veterans: Badge: August 1937
  15. American Legion/ Portsmouth, Ohio: Badge: 1936
  16. American Legion/ Columbus, Ohio: Badge: August 1937
  17. American Legion/ "Ohio Host": Pin: undated
  18. American Legion/ National Convention/ Cleveland: Pin (2): 1936
  19. American Legion/ "Guest": Ribbon: undated
  20. Veterans of Foreign Wars/ "Honorary Member": Badge: undated
  21. Veterans of Foreign Wars/ "Annual Picnic/ Euclid, Ohio: Ribbon: August 8, 1936
  22. Veteran's Association/ Annual Convention/ Youngstown, Ohio: 1935
  23. Ohio Fair Manager's Convention: Badge: undated
  24. Ohio Fair Manager's Convention: Badge: undated
  25. Ohio Fair Manager's Convention: Badge: undated
  26. Ohio Fair Manager's Convention: Badge: undated
  27. Ohio Chamber of Commerce/ Annual Meeting: Badge: undated
  28. Ohio Chamber of Commerce/ Annual Meeting: Badge: undated
  29. Ohio State Fair/ Governor: Badge: 1935
  30. Ohio State Fair/ Governor: Badge: 1936
  31. Ohio State Fair/ Governor: Badge: 1937
  32. Great Lakes Exposition/ Commemoration: Coin: 1936
  33. Great lakes Exposition/ Florida Exhibit: Badge: 1936

Box 7
Trays -- Badges, Pins, Ribbons, Etc.

  1. Polish American Organization: Badge: 1935
  2. "Gyro Club": Ribbon: undated
  3. Italian American Citizen Federation: Ribbon: undated
  4. Young Democratic Clubs of America/ Convention: Badge: August 1937
  5. "Honorary Guest"/ Unknown Origin: Badge: undated
  6. "Committee"/ Unknown Origin: Badge: undated
  7. Fire Chief's Association of Ohio/ Annual Convention: Badge: August 1935
  8. Ohio Baker's Association/ Cedar Point, Ohio: Pin: July 1936
  9. National Association of Postmasters/ Annual Convention: Badge: 1940
  10. Postmasters and Supervisors/ Convention/ Cedar Point, Ohio: Badge: July 1936
  11. Post Office Clerks/ Women's Auxiliary/ Toledo, Ohio: Badge: September 1937
  12. Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police/ Annual Convention: Badge: October 1935
  13. Society of American Florists & Ornamental Horticulturists/ Annual Convention: Badge: 1936
  14. Ohio State Council/ K. of C.: Badge: undated
  15. Fraternal Order of Eagles/ Annual Convention: Badge: 1936
  16. Shriners/ Annual Convention: Badge: 1938
  17. Ohio State Elk's Association/ Cedar Point, Ohio: Badge: August 1936
  18. Ohio State Moose Association/ Annual Meeting: Pin: September 1935
  19. Ohio State Moose Association: Ink Pen: undated
  20. Ohio State Moose Association/ State Meeting: Badge: 1935
  21. Illinois State Grotto/ Convention: Card: October 1935
  22. Cleveland Convention: Badge: undated
  23. Gift Watches/ Davey Campaign: Woman's Watch: undated
  24. Governor of Ohio/ "Martin L. Davey": Business Cards: undated
  25. National Fleet User/ Davey Tree Expert Company: Card: undated
  26. N.C.R. Company/ Dayton, Ohio: Badge: undated

Box 8--Photographs
Folder---Contents

  1. Photograph: Chip Robert: 1926
  2. Photograph: Governor Davey, His Cabinet, and Department Heads: January 1935
  3. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Normony Lodge #70: March 1936
  4. Photograph: Luncheon Honoring Mayor Burton (oversized): May 1936
  5. Photograph: Governor Davey and unidentified woman with unidentified group of Native Americans: 1936
  6. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Oath of Office/ 2nd Term: January 1937
  7. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Parade in Lancaster, Ohio: May 1938
  8. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Cleveland, Ohio: undated
  9. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Dayton, Ohio: undated
  10. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Portrait: undated
  11. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Portrait: undated
  12. Photograph: Governor Davey/ Portrait: undated
  13. Photograph: Marching Band/ Warren, Ohio: undated
  14. Photograph Set: Governor Davey/ Inauguration (first term): January 1935
  15. Photograph Set: Great Lakes Exposition/ Ohio Building: October 1936
  16. Photograph Set: Governor Davey and FDR: October 17, 1936
  17. Photograph Set: Cincinnati Flood: January 1937
  18. Photograph Set: Governor Davey/ Ohio Society Fair: November 1938
  19. Photograph Set: Governor Davey/ Campaign Shots: undated
  20. Photograph Set: Governor Davey and Unknown Pilot: undated
  21. Photograph Set: Governor Davey/ Masonic Portraits: undated
  22. Photograph Set: Governor Davey/ Miscellaneous: undated