Dwight Filley Davis (1879 - 1945)

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Dwight F. Davis, U.S. Secretary of War (founder of the Davis Cup)'s Geni Profile

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Birthplace: St. Louis, MO
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
Managed by: David Embrey
Last Updated:

About Dwight Filley Davis


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.


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

Davis was the runner-up for the men's singles title at the US Championships in 1898. He then teamed-up with Holcombe Ward won the men's doubles title at the championships for three years in a row from 1899-1901. 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 University.

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.

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. He married Pauline Sabin in 1936. He wintered in Florida from 1933 until his death, living at Meridian Plantation, near Tallahassee. Davis died in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 1945.


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.

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Dwight F. Davis, U.S. Secretary of War (founder of the Davis Cup)'s Timeline

St. Louis, MO
Age 66
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States