Elmer Davis

Elmer Davis was a news reporter, author, the director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II and a Peabody Award recipient. After attending Queen’s College, in Oxford, Elmer Davis became an editor for Adventure magazine, leaving after a year to work as a reporter and editor for the New York Times.

Davis’ best-known work is his company history, History of the New York Times, 1851-1921 and his coverage of Billy Sunday. In 1928 Davis published his one and only novel Giant Killer, a retelling of the Biblical story of David. In 1939, CBS asked Davis to fill in as a news analyst for H.V. Kaltenborn, through which he became an instant success. In 1941, Davis had a nightly five-minute newscast that was carried on 95 stations.

After two years of reporting news on the radio, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Davis director of the new created United States Office of War Information. Most notably, in this position, Davis advised President Roosevelt that Japanese-American be permitted to enlist for service and was instrumental in lifting censorship bans in the media surrounding graphic photographs of American soldiers during World War II. Davis then continued his career in radio. He was one of the four journalists who portrayed themselves in the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, and was the host of the ABC television series, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse.