[KBD: Ten]

Correction's Katharine Bement Davis:
New York City's Suffragist Commissioner

-- Appreciations & Acknowledgments --

[Davis Testimonial Photo]

Copies of this head-and-shoulders Katharine Bement Davis photo formed part of the printed programs at her testimonial dinner. (Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Archives Center.)

Be On Notice: Other Issues to Explore
Project Process
To Comment, Quiry by Email

The following sections are mostly complete:
Acknowledgments I
Acknowledgments II
Other published resources used

By THOMAS C. McCARTHY©

Be On Notice: Other Issues to Explore

This extended essay is intended to serve only as an introduction to one of the most extraordinary New Yorkers of either gender and of any generation: Katharine Bement Davis.

In no way is this essay offered as the comprehensive or definitive statement on that individual who spent a half century blazing new trails in so many fields -- higher education, urban sociology, penology, municipal government, sexual practices research, women's rights. Studying her life is like wandering through the gardens, groves and glades of a great old estate, the kind where each turn in the path opens a different vista, some new setting worth exploring.

The nature of this introductory essay, and its context, precludes investigating many interesting issues involving Progressive era attitudes about female criminality in general and prostitution in particular, feeblemindedness and human heredity, public health policy and social hygiene, government interventions and individual rights.

These and related questions of that era are being revisited by scholars doing critical analysis in the light of contemporary values. This is mentioned here to put on notice any aspiring Davis scholars. If they are not already aware of it, then they should be alerted that these sensitive subjects offer opportunity for fresh research and hopefully even fresher thinking, whether to validate or refute, whether to follow or to challenge this or that school of historical analysis. In brief, KBD history is not dead and buried but alive and kicking.

The essay was not written as a vehicle for the expression of viewpoints, but to the extent that viewpoints are reflected (history is hard to write without a starting viewpoint or two), they are perforce my own, as are any errors of fact or interpretation of fact. My admiration for Davis must be obvious to anyone who has read these pages. But that admiration, this biography and its display here should not be interpreted as blanket endorsements of every Davis position on every issue of her times during her career of more than a half century.
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Project Process

Most of the research in libraries and among archives was done off-hours. Virtually all the actual writing was done at home evenings and weekends as was most of the HTML coding. Even some GIF graphics were created using my trusty handscanner at home. The author undertook this work, on his own initiative, with multiple purposes in mind: for an independent graduate study project, for a possible future book, for Department use in its newsletter, Web pages, and such other ways as it deems fit. The Department's support -- especially the encouragement of Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Thomas Antenen and my other colleagues in the Public Information Office -- was important throughout and at critical junctures, a fact I gratefully acknowledge.

To Comment, Inquire by Email

Readers of this Katharine Bement Davis biography can comment and/or inquire about it by E-mail to NYCHS.
[Emailbox]

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The author has relied on the few but excellent works of others who have researched her life. He has been privileged to discuss, by phone and/or email, specific points of historical interest with some of them. They and others who provided help are listed below in appreciation. In lieu of formal footnotes and bibliography, these lists provide useful information for those also studying the subject.

In particular, with respect to the Special Consolidation Centennial Preface, I wish to acknowledge the helpful conservations had with Bronx Borough Historian Dr.William A. Tieck, various articles in the ever-useful The Encyclopedia of New York City (also mentioned below) and parts of an excellent historical dissertation by one Martin Donnelly (date unknown).

The following three sections are mostly complete but can be added to if any names that should be here are not:

Acknowledgments I

Below are listed those who aided my research in various ways (by phone, fax, email or snail mail) deserving public acknowledgment; they already have my personal appreciation:

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Acknowledgments II

Below are listed those who aided my research with email information. I have already thanked them and wish to publicly acknowledge their help on key points of research:

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Other published resources used:


*Copyright 1997 by Thomas C. McCarthy and the New York City Department of Correction. All rights reserved.