William C. Davidon
|William C. Davidon|
|Died||November 8, 2013
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
|Known for||Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI|
William Cooper Davidon (1927–November 8, 2013) was an American professor of physics and mathematics, and peace activist. He was the mastermind of the March 8, 1971 F.B.I. office breakin, in Media, Pennsylvania, and the informal leader of the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI.
From 1954 to 1956, he was a research associate at the Enrico Fermi Institute. From 1956 to 1961, he was an associate physicist at the Argonne National Laboratory. He was professor of physics at Haverford College, beginning in 1961, and then Professor of Mathematics. He retired in 1991. He was a 1966 Fulbright Scholar.
Davidon moved to Highlands Ranch, Colorado, in 2010. He died November 8, 2013, of Parkinson's disease.
In 1966, he traveled to South Vietnam, with A. J. Muste, sponsored by the Committee for Nonviolent Action. In 1971, he was named an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Harrisburg Seven case. He was on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union, Philadelphia affiliate.
Davidon was instrumental in planning and organizing a break-in of the F.B.I.'s Media, Pennsylvania office, as the leader of the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. The documents recovered there, led to the disclosure of COINTELPRO. According to The Burglary, a book published shortly after his death, Davidon also had engaged in draft board raids, stealing or destroying files, and subsequent to Media participated in two acts of sabotage against military materiel intended for use in Vietnam. Due at least in part to his exceptionally careful planning and his co-conspirators' total commitment to secrecy and discretion, neither he nor anyone else was ever charged in any of those actions, despite an intense, five-year FBI investigation.
Davidon married Ann Morrissett, a noted pacifist/feminist essayist and activist, in 1963; they had two daughters (one of whom, Ruth, is an Olympic rower). They divorced in 1978. Davidon was married and divorced prior to marrying Morrissett, and was also married subsequently.
- Davidon, William C. (1954). A proper time formalism (Ph.D.). University of Chicago. QC1099 Davidon.
- "Ann Morrissett Davidon and William C. Davidon Papers (DG 144), Swarthmore College Peace Collection". Swarthmore.edu. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- Cook, B.L. (November 19, 2013). "William C. Davidon, 86, professor and peace activist". The Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- Mazzetti, M. (January 7, 2014). "Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows". The New York Times.