Davis, Daniel H. B.
Manuscript Letter Copy Book of shipping firm owner Daniel H. B. Davis, of Lima, Peru and Rye, New York, 1875-1876

quarto, 300 pp., bound in contemporary ½ black leather, cloth covered boards, letters dated 5 June 1875 to 14 December 1876. The volume contains approximately 175 letters written to 15 or so individuals, including family and business associates. The letters mainly concern business, but some of them are personal, for example, when Davis writes his brothers the letters discuss both business and personal news.

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The front board has white paper label with the authors name and dates of letters in ink; gold tooled spine lettering reads “Letters.” The spine is worn at tips, as are the edges and corners of boards, with some scuffing and rubbing, otherwise good. Letter copies are on tissue paper. The book also includes several items tucked in: 3 letters (7 pp), with envelopes dated 25-27 July 1904, 1 receipt dated 1867 from Arnold, Constable & Co., of New York City, and 2 used envelopes without letters. The letters are written to Daniel H. B. Davis from his wife, while she was at the “Tahawus House” in the Adirondack’s and he was at “The Elms” in Greenwich, Connecticut.

           The largest recipient of letters written by Daniel H. B. Davis was James B. Davis, Daniel’s brother and business partner at “Davis Brothers.”  He wrote to James on at least seventy-nine occasions. The next was someone simply by the name of “Frank,” but who appears to possibly be a family member, or involved or in business with Davis and the shipping firm, as a couple of letters are addressed to “James & Frank,” or “Frank & James.” There are at least fourteen letters that were written to “Edward,” who again, may be a family member or a business associate in the shipping firm of “Davis Brothers.” There were ten letters written to “John” who appears to be John W. Davis who originally was one of the brothers at Davis Brothers, but who left the firm and became an attorney at New York City working for South American interests.

           Other recipients of letters were: H. B. “Harry” Kaufman (3), a business associate in Peru; Wm. H. Parsons (1), a businessman and neighbor from Rye; James Boyd, Esq. (2), of Panama; Clemente Torretti (1); Capt. Wilson (2); Charles G. Hall, at Quebec (2); the Editor of the New York Herald (1), where he corrects something written about the president of Peru; Charles G. Holl/Hall (2)of Quebec, Canada; Col. W. P. Tisdal (1), general agent for the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company; Daniel Lyons, Esq. (1), Lockwood Reynolds, Esq. (1), and Ms. O. E. Holt (1) of Elizabeth, New Jersey; and “Friend Dawson.”

Daniel H. B. Davis of “Davis Brothers,” New York City and Lima, Peru

           The letter copy book contains copies of business and personal letters written by Daniel H. B. Davis, who owned a shipping firm that conducted business in New York City and in Lima, Peru. Davis writes from Lima, Peru, regarding the local affairs of Davis Brothers.

           He writes to his brother James B. Davis and to his brother John W. Davis, and to a number of others. The letters to his brothers are in many cases several pages long.

          Daniel H. B. Davis was born in New York City on 29 January 1836, the son of Dr. John Davis and Sarah Reynolds. John Davis was born in Bound Brook, N.J., and was one of four sons, all physicians, of the late Isaac Davis, formerly one of the Lay Judges of Somerset County. John Davis began the study of medicine with his elder brother, Dr. William Davis, in 1820 at Cream Ridge, N.J., together with Dr. Taylor, of New-Brunswick, N.J. He came to New York City in 1821, where he completed his studies and was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons while it was on Crosby-street, about 1823. On January 1, 1825, John married Sarah Banks Reynolds, the oldest daughter of the late Nathaniel Reynolds, at one time the Assistant Alderman for the Twelfth Ward in New York City. John Davis was a member of the Baptist Church, and at various times attended the Stanton-Street Church, the Norfolk-Street Church, and the First Baptist church in New York.

           Daniel H. B. Davis co-owned the Davis Brothers shipping firm, in partnership with his brother, James B. Davis (born about 1838 in NY). The Davis Brothers conducted business in Lima, Peru, where Daniel H. B. Davis lived for several years. In a report to Congress in 1884, James B. Davis testified that the brothers had a branch house in New York City, as well as in Mexico and at different points on the coast. They bought goods to ship to other people.

          For a time, another brother John W. Davis worked for Davis Brothers. John engaged in various mercantile pursuits in New York City and at one time was associated in business with his brothers who had migrated to Peru, South America. At one time he went around Cape Horn to California. He later left the company and worked as a lawyer, keeping his contacts in South America. He was head of the legal firm of John W. Davis & Co. and did a large South American business, representing interests of merchants in Chile and Peru. He was a member of the Manhattan Club. He married and had five children.

           In the United States, Daniel H. B. Davis and his wife Jeanette lived in Rye, New York, and they had at least three children: Percy Hamilton Davis (1865- ), Henry B. Davis (1857-1918) and Clara Davis (1872-? ). Davis married his wife Jeanette Peck in February 1864 at Port Chester. She was the daughter of James H. Peck, Esq. D. H. B. Davis died at Rye, Westchester County, New York on 15 November 1916, he was 81 years old.