There is a substantial expression of gratitude for Earl Davis in the Acknowledgments section of José Chapiro's 1947 book Thoughts for Each Day selected from the writings of William Ellery Channing:
“Finally, I am particularly gratified to inscribe here the name of Earl C. Davis, the sage of Petersham, Massachusetts, and a distinguished citizen of the Free State of William Ellery Channing. A tireless reader, he is also a perpetual student of that ‘gay science’—the word is Nietzsche’s—in which scholarship and life complement and fertilize each other. Earl C. Davis cultivates it with the same joy and earnestness of purpose with which he cultivates the flowers and vegetables in his garden. Above all, he has an uncommon knowledge of the realm of Channing. He has roamed through it many times and in every direction. He knows its apparent beauties and hidden charms, its peaks and its depths; and its sunny landscapes still remain the favorite goal of his spiritual excursions and rambles. Earl C. Davis often served me as guide, as counsellor, and as a source from which I could draw valuable information that it would have been difficult to find elsewhere. I thank him.” (p. 440).
The author and his wife Elisabeth gave a copy of the newly published book to Earl and Annie on December 21, 1947. Their gift came with a letter and was inscribed. Both the letter and inscription are available here.
Evidently, Earl Davis was not entirely comfortable with this acknowledgement, for there is mention of it in a letter from John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964), who was a fellow student with Earl Davis at the Harvard Divinity School (both graduated in 1904). In a letter to Earl Davis dated April 27, 1949, Holmes writes, “I am amused by what you write of your embarrassment in the matter of Chapiro’s reference to you in the Channing book. I think you are over-sensitive on this point. The tribute to you is wholly deserved, and in the proper place. It would be a real loss to have this gracious tribute of Chapiro to your sympathy and help removed from later editions. And this same opinion of mine applies to Mrs. Hapgood as well as to yourself.”
There is some uncertainty as to the dates. The letter is dated December 21, 1947. The book’s publication date is 1948, which is consistent with a early edition gift for Christmas, 1947. The inscription in the book, however, says “Christmas, 1948,” and offers “heartiest wishes for 1949.”
The primary downloadable document contains both the original letter followed by the transcription. The three supplementary files are the inscription, the original letter, and the transcription, respectively. The bottom of each item page also features the primary document as an embedded pdf for browsing.
Transcription by Davis Baird. Item description based off writing and context provided by Davis Baird.
Earl Clement Davis, sermons, minister, Unitarianism, religion, José Chapiro, correspondence
Chapiro, Jose, "Letter by Jose Chapiro to Earl Clement Davis" (1947). Manuscripts, 1933-1953. 8.