Dwight F. Davis

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Dwight F. Davis
File:Dwight Davis, Bain bw photo portrait.jpg
Full name Dwight Filley Davis, Sr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born July 5, 1879
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Died November 28, 1945(1945-11-28) (aged 66)
Washington, D.C., USA
Turned pro 1895 (amateur tour)
Retired 1902
Plays Left-handed (one-handed backhand)
Career record {{#property:P564}}
Highest ranking No. 5 (1900, Karoly Mazak)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
US Open F (1898, 1899)
Other tournaments
Olympic Games 2R (1904)
Career record {{#property:P555}}
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon F (1901)
US Open W (1899, 1900, 1901)
Other doubles tournaments
Olympic Games QF (1904)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1900, 1902)
Dwight F. Davis
Swearing in of Secretary Dwight Davis.jpg
Swearing in of Davis as Secretary of War in 1925
49th United States Secretary of War
In office
October 14, 1925 – March 4, 1929
President Calvin Coolidge
Preceded by John W. Weeks
Succeeded by James W. Good
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
July 8, 1929 – January 9, 1932
President Herbert Hoover
Preceded by Eugene Allen Gilmore
Succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. George C. Butte
Personal details
Born Dwight Filley Davis
(1879-07-05)July 5, 1879
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died November 28, 1945(1945-11-28) (aged 66)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Harvard University
Washington University Law School
Profession Politician, Tennis player

Dwight Filley Davis (July 5, 1879 – November 28, 1945) was an American tennis player and politician. He is best remembered as the founder of the Davis Cup international tennis competition. He was the United States Assistant Secretary of War from 1923 to 1925.


Davis was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 5, 1879.

Davis reached the All-Comers final for the Men's Singles title at the US Championships in 1898 and 1899. He then teamed up with Holcombe Ward and won the Men's Doubles title at the championships for three years in a row from 1899 to 1901. Davis and Ward were also Men's Doubles runners-up at Wimbledon in 1901. Davis also won the American intercollegiate singles championship of 1899 as a student at Harvard College.

In 1900 Davis developed the structure for, and donated a silver bowl to go to the winner of, a new international tennis competition designed by him and three others known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, which was later renamed the Davis Cup in his honor. He was a member of the US team that won the first two competitions in 1900 and 1902, and was also the captain of the 1900 team.

He participated in the 1904 Summer Olympics. He was eliminated in the second round of the singles tournament. In the doubles tournament he and his partner Ralph McKittrick lost in the quarter-finals.[2]

Davis was educated at Washington University Law School, though he was never a practicing attorney. He was, however, politically active in his home town of St. Louis and served as the city's public parks commissioner from 1911 to 1915. During his tenure, he expanded athletic facilities and created the first municipal tennis courts in the United States. He served President Calvin Coolidge as Assistant Secretary of War (1923–25) and as Secretary of War (1925–29). He then served as Governor General of the Philippines (1929–32) under Herbert Hoover. His first wife, Helen Brooks, whom he married in 1905, died in 1932.[3] He married Pauline Sabin in 1936. He wintered in Florida from 1933 until his death, living at Meridian Plantation, near Tallahassee.[4] Davis died in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 1945.[3]


His daughter Alice Brooks Davis was married to the British Ambassador to the United States Sir Roger Makins.

Davis has been honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[5]


  1. Mazak, Karoly (2010). The Concise History of Tennis, p. 28.
  2. "Dwight F. Davis Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 2014-01-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Political Graveyard Genealogies
  4. "Davis Cup has local tie". Tallahassee Democrat, 6 December 2007: 3C
  5. St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Retrieved 25 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John W. Weeks
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: Calvin Coolidge

October 14, 1925 – March 4, 1929
Succeeded by
James W. Good
Government offices
Preceded by
Eugene Allen Gilmore
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Plutarco Calles
Cover of Time Magazine
15 December 1924
Succeeded by
Alfonso XIII of Spain