Harlan Page Davidson

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Harlan P. Davidson
Harlan Page Davidson.png
Born (1838-09-15)September 15, 1838
Hooksett, New Hampshire
Died (1913-01-20)January 20, 1913 (age 75)
Nationality United States American
Occupation Educator
Political party Republican / Prohibitionist
Spouse(s) Adelaide S. Ford
married May 16, 1866
Parent(s) Samuel Davidson
Lydia Jackman
Harlan with his wife, Adelaide, in Avon Park - Christmas 1912

Harlan Page Davidson (September 15, 1838 – January 20, 1913) was an educator[1] in private education.[2]

Early life[edit]

Davidson was born in Hooksett, New Hampshire.[3] The census records show his parents moved to Colebrook, New Hampshire around 1840. His early education was limited to a few weeks during winter in a country public school. Davidson spent most of his early years as a boy helping his father in farming since they had about 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land, much of it woods. Davidson was also learning to become a stonemason under his father's training. In 1860 he was seriously injured by an accident which no longer allowed him either of these careers.[1]

Mid life[edit]

Davidson decided at this point in his life to obtain a college education. He first attended the academy at Colebrook, New Hampshire. In 1864 he then entered Norwich University,[4] a military college, and was there towards the end of 1865.[1] He studied science and also Latin and Greek. He graduated from the university.[2] Since Norwich University moved from Norwich to Northfield in 1866, he did not return.[3]

Davidson had various positions in schools and academies for the next twelve years. He was principal of the Chestnut Hill Academy from 1866 to 1868. From there he worked at a private school from 1868 to 1870 at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Then he worked at a high school in Somerville, New Jersey, and ultimately became superintendent of schools in that town from 1870 to 1872. From September 1872 to 1884 he taught at the Collegiate Institute and the Business College in Salem, New Jersey.[1]

Davidson then became an editor for a newspaper in Jersey City, New Jersey, from 1884 to 1885. The newspaper was devoted to social and political reform. During most of his years in Salem, New Jersey, Davidson founded and produced the Qui Vive newspaper in the cause of temperance. It was largely through the influence of this newspaper that his county he then lived in became the banner Prohibition county of New Jersey.[1]

Davidson was principal of Leland & Gray Academy in Vermont from 1885 to June 1886. He was then commandant of the Morgan Park Academy in Chicago from 1886 to 1887.[1] He became their superintendent to the summer of 1888. He was also for many years president of the Sheridan Road Publishing Company and became its owner.[3]

Davidson was an ardent Republican from 1860 until the fall of 1872. He became dissatisfied with the way of the Republican party was legalizing the liquor traffic by the license system. From 1872 until 1878, he was not allied with any particular political party. During those years he worked vigorously against liquor interests and in favor of political reforms. He switched in 1878 from being Republican to the viewpoints of a Prohibitionist. Davidson was commissioned a Colonel in the Illinois National guard in 1890.[1]

Northwestern Military Academy[edit]

In the fall of 1888, he purchased Highland Hall at Highland Park on the north shore of Chicago.[3] Here he renovated the hotel and founded Northwestern Military Academy[2] and became its president.[5] Soon after the opening of the Academy it burned to the ground.[2] Davidson rebuilt it and managed the Academy successfully where it became prosperous. In the early part of the 20th century, it became known as one of the best military institutions in the country.[1]

In 1892, Davidson, then a Colonel, became president of Northwestern Military Academy when it was incorporated that year. In 1915, Northwestern Military Academy that he founded changed its name to Northwestern Military and Naval Academy.[4] He was president of the Northwestern Summer Naval School since its beginning in 1902.[1]

Degrees and honors[edit]

In 1871, the Lafayette College in Pennsylvania conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree.[4] In 1892, in recognition of his work as an educator, Norwich University conferred upon him the same degree. Davidson taught school for over fifty years.[5]


Davidson has held several political positions and was elected an alderman of Highland Park for three successive terms.[4] He was a candidate for Congress from the Seventh Illinois District in the year 1900.[5] In 1904 Davidson was Prohibition candidate for Presidential elector.[1]

Societies and clubs[edit]

Davidson was a member or associated with the following societies and clubs:


His parents were Samuel Davidson and Lydia (Jackman) Davidson. He married Adelaide Sherman Lord on May 16, 1866. They had two children: Alice Sherman, who was born August 30, 1867, and Royal Page, who was born October 8, 1870.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dodge, p. 97-99
  2. ^ a b c d "Alumni - Important Facts, Northwestern". Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d Herringshaw, p. 188
  4. ^ a b c d Who's was who in America 1897-1942
  5. ^ a b c Leonard, p. 363


  • Dodge, Grenville M. et al., Norwich University, 1819-1911; Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, The Capital Press (1911)
  • Herringshaw, Thomas William, Herringshaw's American Statesman and Public Official Year-book 1907-1908, American Publishers’ Association 1907
  • St. John's Military Academy, A History of Excellence: St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, Delafield, Wis., self-published (2002)
  • Leonard, John William, Who's who in America 1903-1905, Marquis, 1903
  • Marquis Who's Who, Who's was who in America 1897-1942, Vol 1