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James Wheeler Davidson

James Wheeler Davidson 

This collection contains a selection of textual records and images from the James Wheeler Davidson Family fonds housed in Archives and Special Collections.

Please note that the language, terminology or visual content in our historical collections reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology.

The information within the collection does not reflect the views of the University of Calgary, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.

James Wheeler Davidson has been described as a modern Marco Polo and a renaissance man.  Born in the United States in 1872 but later becoming a naturalized Canadian, Davidson was an Arctic explorer, war correspondent, author, US consul agent in the Far East and recipient of the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun.

Davidson was involved in a number of successful business ventures, including the Calgary Colonization Company, the Crown Lumber Company, and the Royalite Oil Company, and was also actively involved in a number of initiatives in Calgary, including the construction of the Lougheed Building, the founding of the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Alberta Motor Association, and the Calgary-Banff Tourist Development Association.

Davidson dedicated the last years of his life to the international expansion of the Rotary Club and traveled first to Australia and New Zealand and later embarked on a thirty-two month trip with his wife and daughter to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Jerusalem, India and the Far East. His efforts resulted in 23 Rotary clubs chartered in 12 different countries.

In 1933, at the age of 61, James passed away.  Tributes poured in from all over the world after his passing, as he had met and touched so many lives.  A lasting tribute to James -- proposed by the Alberta Motor Association and the Rotary Club of Calgary -- was the dedication of Mount Davidson, near Banff, Alberta.  

Lillian and Marjory continued their involvement with Rotary for the remainder of their lives, speaking at Rotary events about James and the family’s international travels promoting the organization. 

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James Wheeler Davidson (CU2ALB60317) 

“The Island of Formosa Past and Present – Reviews”
PDF
Journal of the America Association of China
PDF
Queen’s Quarterly
PDF
Presentation notes
PDF
Certificate of naturalization
PDF
Tributes to JWD
PDF
Christmas cards
PDF
Last will and testament
PDF
Newsclippings and articles re JWD
PDF
Report on the “Quebec situation”
PDF
Reports to Rotary International
PDF
Correspondence, notes, maps re Rotary travel
PDF
Scientific displays in the circus
PDF
Presentation on elephants
PDF
Telegrams to JWD on return home – from Rotary clubs and Layton Ralston
PDF
In appreciation to James W Davidson
PDF
That Man Davidson
PDF
Newsclippings re JWD’s death
PDF
Life and death of James Wheeler Davidson
PDF
Correspondence
PDF
Rotary leaflets
PDF
From Athens to Yokohama in the footsteps of James W Davidson
PDF
Chinese pirates article
PDF
Circus
PDF
Correspondence re JWD’s death
PDF
Correspondence re JWD’s death
PDF
Tributes to JWD following his death
PDF
Tributes to JWD
PDF
Memories of JWD – collected and compiled by Lillian
PDF
Talk to Rotary Club
PDF
Mount Davidson
PDF
Convention speeches
PDF
Christmas cards - Marjory
PDF
Presentations re Rotary
PDF
Two manned kayaks on their sides in the water
Bowdoin Glacier, Greenland
Sunlit iceberg
Greenland, Melville Bay. Ittiblii skin tents or Tiipiks (taken at midnight)
Map showing route of the 1905-1906 Peary Expedition
Tent. Bill and Marie
Eskimo Girl, Hopedale,. Labrador
Ship surrounded by ice floes
Upernavik, Greenland
Skin tents on a shoreline
Steam/sailship painting
Greenland, Godhavn. Omiak or woman's boat
Godthaab Harbor, Greenland
Group of four icebergs
Iceberg
Iceberg and ship with a red sky
of 8 
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