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Thomas Davis Papers

Identifier: mss-428

Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Davis Papers contain academic papers, political papers, and correspondence. Davis worked in different types of human service and educational fields. His academic papers include journals he subscribed to, articles he kept, scholarly papers, newspapers, and personnel files. Also included are papers relating to specific courses on various subjects. The topics of these seminars and classes include management/leadership, research, politics and finances.

The Davis collection also contains a group of political papers relating to Davis' work as director of Senator Patrick Leahy’s Vermont Office. These papers focus on the election of 1986, including surveys from voters, voter lists, statistics from polls, official memoranda, volunteer forms, correspondence, and media-based articles. The collection also includes the papers Davis kept from his time in the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Human Services Agency, and from UVM’s Continuing Education Department. The first two sections concern major projects Davis worked on, the Bennington Program and the Vermont/New York Youth Project. The former was a program that brought children from poverty ridden schools and gave them better education. The latter is a project to help the poverty stricken youth in New York City that brings children them to Vermont for a summer.

In addition, there are official memoranda and proposals. Human Service projects include plans in Child Care, Elderly Care, Housing Programs, Welfare programs, poverty issues and more. The proposals vary from graduate programs in the Human Services, housing programs, and a program to help make Vermont self-reliant in various areas.

The next section includes speeches and statements given by Davis and others. These speeches and statements are arranged by date given and by whom and range from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. They focus on Davis but include Governor Thomas P. Salmon’s as well. The topics range from the everyday working of the agencies to appointments to new proposals being pushed through the agencies.

The Davis Collection also contains a section of Subject Files. The topics relate to projects that Davis was involved in, including alcoholism, welfare, child care, education, elections, health care, human services, and political issues.

The final section contains correspondence from Davis during the years 1969-1985. This section also includes greetings cards to Davis and a small section of official correspondence from Governor Salmon.


  • circa 1950-1990



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Thomas Davis was born in Barre, Vermont in the 1930s. His parents were Deane C. Davis (later governor) and Corinne Eastman Davis. Thomas Davis held a number of positions in the field of human services, ranging from alcoholic counseling to being the secretary of the Human Services Department for the State of Vermont. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1953. While at UVM, he played baseball and was a member of the Sigma Phi Fraternity. After graduating he became a counselor for the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Board in Vermont. Governor Philip Hoff hired him to work at the State Office of Economic Opportunity and in 1967 designated him the “arm” for President Johnson’s War of Poverty in Vermont.

He continued his human service role after the Hoff Administration in his father’s administration from 1969-1973. He was then appointed Secretary of Human Services under Gov. Thomas P. Salmon. His work included managing all the human service departments – welfare/social services, mental health, poverty, Medicaid/health care, and corrections – and integrating them into one superagency. As secretary, he was part of the Salmon Cabinet for two terms.

Davis is a staunch Democrat despite the fact that his father was a Republican governor and they had differing political opinions. He worked for Democratic Governor Thomas Salmon, declared himself a member of the Democratic Party, volunteered at many Democratic events, and worked for Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, Gov. Philip Hoff and Gov. Thomas Salmon.

After working under Salmon, Davis moved on to the Human Services Development Institute on the Portland Campus of the University of Maine. There he researched, advised, and developed many programs for the state of Maine and New England as a whole. He then moved back to Vermont to work at the UVM Continuing Education Department in 1981 which he directed until 1982.

In 1982, Senator Patrick Leahy hired him to run his office in Vermont for 13 years. After his lengthy time at Leahy’s office, he was appointed the U.S. Department of Labor’s representative in England. At the Department of Labor, he directed many projects in New England and worked very closely with Massachusetts to help promote economic growth.

Davis retired in 1996 and moved back to Vermont.


4.75 Linear feet


Papers of Tom Davis relating to his work in the administration of VT Gov. Thomas P. Salmon, and issues in state government during the terms of Philip Hoff and Deane C. Davis.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.
Guide to the Thomas Davis Papers
Finding aid prepared by Fred Torde
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)