Richard Allan Davison

September 11, 1934 - January 19, 2023

Richard Allan Davison, age 88, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

Born in Montréal, Canada, on September 11, 1934, he was a son of the late Harry P. and Alta (Chalmers) Davison.

He was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Delaware, where he was Associate Chair from 1969 – 1974. He was a proud graduate of Middlebury College, earned his M.A. at the University of Rochester, and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Before his over three decades as a faculty member at the University of Delaware, he taught at Gettysburg College and Seattle University and was Visiting Professor at Washington College and at universities in Essen and Cologne, Germany.

While at Seattle University, he was the Director of the English Graduate Program and wrote and hosted 39 episodes of a television series “Literature and Life” in 1966. Professor Davison published numerous articles on such figures as Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, Stephen Crane, Hart Crane, Fitzgerald, Robert Penn Warren, Steinbeck, Albee, Salinger, and Hemingway.  He was a past president of the Frank Norris Society and published articles and books on Frank, Charles, and Kathleen Norris.  He was a member of the Hemingway Society, Fitzgerald Society, and John Updike Society, among others, and enjoyed travel with his colleagues to various international conferences.

A passionate theater-goer from the time he saw his first Broadway show, The Music Man, in 1958, he was an enthusiastic audience member, scholar, dramaturg, and enjoyed correspondence with many great theater artists.  His papers, including a portion of his extensive playbill collection, are at the University of Delaware Library, Special Collections.  He co-edited two books on theater with Jackson Bryer, The Actor’s Art (2001) and The Art of the American Musical (2005).

He received the University of Delaware College of Arts and Science Teaching Award in 2001.  After his retirement, he continued to give readings and talks on a variety of writers and on theater throughout the state.

Richard is survived by his wife of 48 years, Milena (Taychman) Davison; children, Heather Davison (Julian), Gregory Davison, and Anne Davison (Amy); and one grandchild, Moth.

All services will be held privately with a celebration of his life in the spring of 2023.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard’s memory to the University of Delaware Library, Special Collections, Development and Alumni Relations, 83 East Main Street, 3rd Floor, Newark, DE 19716-2128. Please include “Special Collections” on the memo line.

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9 Condolences for Richard Allan Davison

  • Sending everyone much love and condolences through this difficult time. Anne, It sounds like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I look forward to seeing you during much happier times in May. Sincerely and with much love, Janice Cassello-Winkler

  • I am broken hearted to hear of the passing of Richard, a most treasured and beloved colleague from the University of Delaware. A remarkable and generous colleague. I treasured my time with him and Milena. My deep condolences to her and their family.

  • Sending love to Richard’s family – you know how much a part of our family he was, and you all have been. The dearest and most joyful and valiant of friends. You are truly in our hearts, always. 🌹

  • So sorry to hear this news. Dick was such a source of joy and warmth in our department for so many, many years! He will be missed.

  • I am so saddened by our loss of Richard. He was my dissertation advisor but far more than that, he became a dear friend. We shared many happy times in the company of a cohort of Hemingway scholars who “hung out” at various conference venues in the places that Hemingway lived throughout the world. Richard was a free spirit and one of the kindest and most sensitive men I have ever known, and I will miss him dearly.

  • My condolences go out to Anne and her family. Your wonderful daughter Anne is a testament of the great father Mr Davidson must have been. May God help you all through this difficult time. Love, Paul and Tim

  • Dear Heather,
    We are so saddened by the loss of your wonderful father and send you and your family our deepest condolences. We know from you how supportive he was of your contribution to peace and social justice. We can only imagine how proud he was to have raised such a loving and committed daughter. It is such a huge part of one’s life to lose a beloved parent and we hope you will find the space and time to process your grief and celebrate your father’s life and the beauty he infused into the world while he was here. That beauty will remain in our collective consciousness into the future through you and Julian and Moth and your family and all the other people he directly and indirectly influenced. As an author we are sure his reach was very broad, and he will rest truly in peace. We send much love and our deepest sympathy. Pat and Bob

  • Dear Milena, Heather, Gregory, and Annie,

    Our deepest condolences to you all at this challenging time. We have so many wonderful memories of Richard, including when he came to stay with us for Moth’s birth. It was such a joy to meet him then, and you, Milena, shortly thereafter, and we so enjoyed your annual summer visits and spirited conversations (and debates!). We know the path to healing isn’t straight or short, but we wish you peace and serenity during this time, and knowing Richard is no longer suffering.

    Looking forward to seeing you in the Bay Area, Milena!

    All our love,
    Jen, Eric & Will

  • John and I are very sad to hear of Richards passing. He was a good neighbor. We were blessed to have him next door. He will be missed. Sending love and condolences to Milena and the family.