Jerome Davis (sociologist)

Jerome Dwight Davis (December 2, 1891 October 1979) was a labor organizer and sociologist who founded Promoting Enduring Peace. Early in his life, he campaigned to reduce the workweek and as an advocate of organized labor.

Davis was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1891. He attended Newton High School in Newton, Massachusetts, then Oberlin College, where he graduated in 1913. He was manager for the YMCA in Russia where he worked with a number of Bolshevik leaders including Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.

In 1924, he founded the Jerome Davis Research fund to support students at Oberlin who "worked with labor" to facilitate "mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of industry."[1] He received a PhD in sociology from Columbia University and was a professor at the Yale Divinity School.

His failure to receive tenure at Yale caused controversy, as it was widely believed to be caused by his socialism.[2][3] It is alleged that he was a Stalinist sympathizer. He was blacklisted by the HUAC in the 1950s.

In the late 1930s, he (along with Denis Nowell Pritt, Upton Sinclair, Bertolt Brecht, Lion Feuchtwanger, and others) defended the Moscow Trials from critics. He claimed that as a former Chairman of the Legislative Commission on Jails in the State of Connecticut, he had seen hundreds of criminals bluntly confess based on overwhelming evidence against them, and he compared that with the reactions of the Moscow Trials defendants. He, however, noted that "there is a lot of false testimony in a trial of this kind."[4]

He founded the American group Promoting Enduring Peace that issued reprints of articles in pamphlet form that opposed militarism in the mid-1940s and formally formed the organization in 1952. As its first director, he organized many trips to the USSR during the Cold War. The Gandhi Peace Award was first proposed by him, on March 13, 1959, and presented to the first recipient, Eleanor Roosevelt , the following year.



  1. "Awards Oberlin College". Oberlin College & Conservatory. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  2. YALE CONDEMNED FOR OUSTING DAVIS; Professors' Council Scores Its Action as a 'Violation of Academic Tenure'. New York Times, May 23, 1937
  3. N. E. A. HITS YALE FOR OUSTING DAVIS; Report, Adopted Unanimously, Says University Gave 'No Valid Reasons' for Action. New York Times, July 1, 1937
  4. Paul Hollander. Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. 2004. p. 162, 165.
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