Author Julia Davis (July 23, 1900-January 30, 1993) was born in Clarksburg, the daughter of distinguished lawyer and statesman John W. Davis and Julia Leavell McDonald Davis. Educated at Wellesley and Barnard colleges (B.A. 1922), she married William McMillan Adams in 1923 and began writing books for young readers. Her first, The Swords of the Vikings (1928), was followed by a biography of Stonewall Jackson, Stonewall (1931), a narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition, No Other White Men (1937), and others. Davis also achieved success with her adult fiction, historical and biographical writings, and drama—more than two dozen books in all, including the Shenandoah volume for the landmark Rivers of America series.
Two later marriages, to Paul West and Charles P. Healy, brought stepchildren and other children who needed homes into her care, and Davis also was active in charitable organizations in New York. The Sun Climbs Slow (1942) is based on her experiences with two Spanish children who came to stay with her as a result of upheavals during the Spanish Civil War. In 1974, she and William Adams remarried. After his death in 1986, Julia Davis lived and continued to write in Jefferson County, near Media Farm, the McDonald family farm and the scene of the happy childhood summers described in Legacy of Love (1961).
Julia Davis died in Charles Town.
This Article was written by Barbara Wilkie Tedford
Last Revised on October 15, 2012
Davis, Julia. The Shenandoah. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1945.
Davis, Julia. The Embassy Girls. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 1992.