F. A. Davis Company

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F. A. Davis Company
Founded 1879
Founder F. A. Davis
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Philadelphia
Publication types Books
Nonfiction topics medical, nursing, and health-related professions
Official website www.fadavis.com

F.A. Davis Company (F.A. Davis or Davis) is a publishing firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded by F. A. Davis (1850–1917). Davis publishes mostly textbooks and reference books for the medical, nursing, and health-related professions fields.


Logo of F.A. Davis Co., taken from an 1892 edition of Psychopathia Sexualis

Frank Allston Davis (1850–1917) was an American businessman and entrepreneur who founded the F.A. Davis Company, a medical publishing company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1879.

Davis grew up in Vermont and began his working life as a teacher. During the summer of 1870, he traveled to Asbury Park, New Jersey and found a job selling lawn-mowers. His success convinced him that sales was his vocation, and he moved to Philadelphia and became an agent for several publishing houses.

In 1879, while working as an agent for William Wood and Company, a publisher itself and a book distributor for British publishers, Davis launched his company with a manuscript written by Dr. John V. Shoemaker, Dean of the Medico-Chirurgical College, which was part of the University of Pennsylvania.[1]

In the 1880s and 1890s, F.A Davis focused his business activities on the gulf coast of Florida. He was a key figure in the development of St. Petersburg, and built the city’s first electrical power plant. Davis also founded the nearby town of Pinellas Park.[2]

Davis turned his attention to medical publishing after the F.A. Davis Company was reincorporated in 1901.[3] He named Dr. Charles Euchariste de Medicis Sajous, the first person to hold a chair in endocrinology and the first president of the Endocrine Society,[4] as editor that same year.

Dr. Sajous published medically important and commercially successful works during his tenure as editor, including the Analytic Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, which was called “an excellent work” by JAMA in 1901.[5]

F.A. Davis Dies[edit]

In 1917, F.A. Davis died and control of his business interests passed to his son from his first marriage, Alonzo B. Davis (1873–1942), and his second wife and widow, Irene Davis.

Alonzo Davis focused on his father’s business enterprises in Florida. These businesses fell victim to the crash of 1929. Irene Davis took charge of the publishing company and turned it into a strong enterprise that survived the Great Depression and still exists today.

Irene Davis Leads The F.A. Davis Company[edit]

Irene Davis was “a tiny, energetic lady” whose “sweetness and gentility cloaked a strong will”.[6]

One of Irene Davis’ first tasks was to find a replacement for Dr. Sajous, who died shortly after F.A. Davis. She selected Dr. George Morris Piersol to edit the Analytic Cyclopedia, under whose leadership the work was expanded from 8 to 15 volumes and renamed The Cyclopedia of Medicine, Surgery and Specialties.

To diversify the company’s publications list, Irene Davis hired Clarence Wilbur Taber (1870–1967) as a full-time textbook editor in 1931.[7] Clarence Taber published Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary with the F.A. Davis Company as well as 30 nursing textbooks that influenced nursing publishing for a generation.[8]

The F.A. Davis Company Today[edit]

Control of the F.A. Davis Company passed to Irene Davis’s nephew, Robert H. Craven Senior (1922 - ) in 1960. Robert Craven Senior lead F.A. Davis into publishing books for the emerging disciplines of allied health. The company is currently run by his son, Robert Craven Junior. It is one of the few remaining independent health-science publishing companies in the English language.

The F.A. Davis Company continues to publish nursing and allied health resources today, with a focus on faculty and students. Its flagship publications, Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary and Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses, as well as its online and mobile references, are trusted resources for generations of healthcare professionals.

Notable authors and books published[edit]

The Internal Secretions and Principles of Medicine edited by Dr. Charles Euchariste de Medicis Sajous, published in nine editions between 1903 and 1922. The first edition was essential to establishing endocrinology as a distinct medical specialty.[9] Dr. Sajous was considered one of the leading medical figures of his time.[10]

The Cyclopedia of Medicine, Surgery, Specialties edited by Dr. Charles Euchariste de Medicis Sajous. Dr. George Morris Piersol, Dean of the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (1954–1957) and president of the American College of Physicians, took over as editor after Dr. Sajous’ death.

In its 1901 review of the last volume of the series, JAMA called the Analytic Cyclopedia an “excellent work”. The reviewer commented that “the amount of work necessary to condense, systematize and co-ordinate all the vast amount of medical literature that these volumes represent has been enormous” and stated that it “covers every branch of medical knowledge, and brings the literature of each up to recent times in such a manner that it can be referred to easily and with satisfaction.” The volume reviewed contained 1,043 pages; was illustrated with chromolithographs, engravings, and maps; and cost $5.00.[5]

In 1970 the company published An Introduction to the Theoretical Basis of Nursing by Martha E. Rogers, a landmark publication in the field of nursing theory.


  1. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. p. 20. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  2. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. pp. 23–25. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  3. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. p. 21. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  4. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. p. 59. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  5. ^ a b "Annual and Analytical Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine". Journal of the American Medical Association. XXXVII (8): 526. 1901. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470340044019. 
  6. ^ Bussy, R. Kenneth (1976). Philadelphia Publishers and Printers: An Informal History. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Book Clinic. 
  7. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. p. 79. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  8. ^ Craven, Robert H. (1979). F.A. Davis Company 1879-1979. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. p. 80. ISBN 0-8036-2086-1. 
  9. ^ Medical Life. 25: 16. 1925.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Presidential address: The Endocrine Society". Endocrinology. 101 (5): 1647–51. 1977. doi:10.1210/endo-101-5-1647. PMID 334519. 

External links[edit]