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Jerome Davis : World Traveler Promotes tours for Peace

By Betty Knosler
Lake-Sumter Sentinel
Tuesday, January 22, 1963

CLERMONT – Sociologist, educator, world traveler, (war correpondent – Ed.), and lecturer would only begin to describe Dr. Jerome Dwight Davis, winter visitor to Clermont.

Dr. Davis, born in Kyoto, Japan, of Congregationalist missionaries (Father: Jerome Dean Davis – Ed.) near the turn of the century, has also been the author of over 25 books and an international YMCA representative.

While an Oberlin College student, he decided that, although he would not enter the missionary field as did his father, who founded the largest Christian University in Japan, he would devote his life to helping people everywhere with no thought of gain.

Still a student at Union Theological Seminary, he became secretary to Sir Wilfred Grenfell as he built hospitals, schools, and churches throughout Labrador and the Maritime provinces of Canada.

DOING MOST of their traveling by small ship, they were aground three times, on fire once, lost an anchor and were also hit by a huge iceberg.

Using axes to free stateroom doors and then to free the ship from the iceberg, they continues on course.

From 1916 to 1918, at the request of Dr. John R. Mott, world head of the YMCA, Davis represented the YMCA in Russia. Beginning with prisoner of war camps for German and Austrian prisoners, he established medical, educational, religious, recreational and self-governing committees in 29 prisoner of war camps.

The improving of conditions in the POW camps eventually led to the establishment of the first YMCA for Russian soldiers in Russia. This work was accomplished while the Tsar was still in power.

DR. DAVIS, who has seen the evils of Communism through his many trips to Russia, is bitterly opposes to the Communist doctrine, and believes that the only hope of the world lies in the success of the United Nations and a genuine effort for peace.

Following World War I, he taught at Dartmouth and in the Yale University Divinity School. It was during his Yale period that he became president of the American Federation of Teachers for three years and was also president of the Eastern Sociological Society.

Dr. Davis was chairman of the legislative commission on Jails for the state of Connecticut for 12 years, during which time many reforms were instituted in the penal system.

HE ALSO founded the religion and labor foundation, now located in Washington, which was instrumental in focusing attention on the wrongs of the 12-hour day and the seven-day work week. This was abolished eight years after the foundation’s establishment.

Representing the YMCA again, from 1940 to 1943, Dr. Davis was director of YMCA work in the prisoner of war camps in all of Canada.

(In 1944, Dr. Davis was a war correspondent for the Toronto Star, stationed in Moscow – Ed.)

For the last few years Dr. Davis has devoted his time to lecturing, writing books and heading international good will tour groups each summer. These groups are composed of teachers, ministers, doctors and other professional people.

This summer, one group will go to West Africa and the Middle East and a second group will go to the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Turkestan and France.

The tours are sponsored by Promoting Enduring Peace, Inc., of which Dr. Davis is executive director. He believes that person to person contact wins friendship for the American in foreign lands.

The only way we can change the kind of world we are in is by slow, constructive change, not revolution.

On these tours, they try to prove to the people of the world that the U. S. has more to offer and can be of more assistance than can any other country or countries.

DR. DAVIS would welcome inquiries sent to either 489 Ocean Ave., West Haven, Conn., or 2025 Sunset Lane, Clermont, from anyone interested in these tours.

The latest book of Dr. Davis will be published by Citadel Press in cloth and paper editions in June. The book “World Leaders I have Known” includes stories on Sir Grenfell, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Walter Reuther, Sidney Hillman, Djilas, who is now in a Yugoslavian prison, Kagawa of Japan and Ghandi of India.

(Text entered by Peter Bakke)