Harold Davis became the second Kenneth Robeson when he wrote The Fantastic Island. Davis met Lester Dent when they both worked as telegraph operators in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Davis worked directly for Lester Dent as a subcontractor rather than as an employee of Street & Smith. Davis eventually wrote a total of thirteen Doc Savage stories.
Davis was born in Colorado in 1903. The 1910 US Census reports his residence is in Montrose, Colorado. His parents were Herman C. Davis (1871-1945) and Lena Wheeler Davis (1871-1950). Herman Davis was a manager at a manufacturing company in 1910. In 1920, Herman Davis was working as a high school band director in Lamar, Colorado.
The 1920 Census shows 17-year old Harold Davis living in Lamar, Colorado and working as a bookkeeper for a garage.
1921 finds 18-year old Harold Davis attending the University of California at Berkeley (Register – University of California, 1921-1922, Volume II). The UC Bulletin for 1921-1922 lists Davis as an undergraduate student from Lamar, Colorado. His address is 2214 Channing Way which is about two blocks from the campus.
The 1924 edition of the school yearbook, Blue and Gold, lists him as a member of Alpha Beta Phi fraternity in the junior class.
In 1925, Davis was working for the Tulsa World in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The 1926 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Davis’ address as 1408 South Cheyenne Avenue where he has a room. He is working as a reporter for the World Publishing Company.
The 1927 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Davis’ address as 702 South Cheyenne Avenue, Apartment 6D. His occupation is Night City Editor. The 1926 directory listed Adele Delaplaine at this same address. Her occupation was listed as Clerk.
The 1928 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Davis’ address as 132 North Wheeling Avenue. His occupation is News Editor.
The 1929 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Davis’ address as 1401 S Cincinnati Avenue, Apt E. His occupation is Telegraph Editor for World Publishing Company.
December 1, 1929 – Harold Davis appears in a photograph published in the paper. Source: The Tulsa World, December 1, 1929
The 1930 US Census dated April 5, 1930 places Davis in Tulsa, Oklahoma working as a newspaper proof reader. His address is listed as 66 South Main Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma. His wife’s name is Adele F. Ratliff. Lejoy Frances Delaplane is listed as his step-daughter.
The 1930 Tulsa City Directory lists Davis as a telegraph operator for the World Publication Company. His home address is shown as 1245 South Frankfort Avenue.
The 1931 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Harold Davis’ address as 820 South Main where he has a room. His occupation is Telegraph Editor for World Publishing Company. Adele Davis’ address is listed as 1335 South Peoria Avenue, Apartment 167.
The 1933 City Directory for Tulsa, Oklahoma lists Davis’ address as 410 East Admiral Blvd where he has room. His occupation is Night City Editor.
The May 25, 1935 issue of The St. Louis Star and Times carried a short story by Harold A. Davis titled Weak Heart.
In 1935, Davis was living in New York and working as a newspaper pressman. His residence is listed as 3937 48 Street, New York, Queens, New York (1940 US Census).
In October of 1937, Davis and his wife Francis took a trip to Europe, returning to New York from Southhampton, England on the RMS Aquitania (New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957).
The December 10, 1937 of the New York Daily News has a full page article, Murders by the Hundreds, by Harold A. Davis describing the murders committed by Eugene George Weidmann in Paris, France.
The 1940 US Census shows Davis living at 3937 48 Street, New York. His occupation is newspaper pressman. His wife, Adele, and step-daughter, Lejoy, are shown living at the same address.
The August 9, 1940 issue of The Sea Cliff News mentions Davis in an article about Alicia Patterson and her new newspaper. Davis is listed Managing Editor for the new paper and as Assistant Cable Editor for his prior employer, the New York Daily News.
A new phase in Davis’ life began on September 3, 1940 with the first issue of Newsday. Davis was hired as managing editor. Prior to this he was the assistant cable editor for the New York Daily News.
Newsday has a double connection concerning Doc Savage. Alan Hathway who also worked for The New York Daily News came to work for Newsday where he remained for several years.
Harold Davis left Newsday and returned to the New York Daily news in 1944 where he worked on foreign assignments from 1945 through 1950.
In 1944, Davis married Mariane Gerard in Wilmington, Delaware. The marriage license lists his occupation as Assistant News Editor. The certificated is dated August 25, 1944. Davis’ status is listed as divorced and is age 42. His wife’s age is listed as 24 and it is her first marriage.
Travel records show Davis returning to New York from Paris, France in 1947 by airliner on May 26, 1947. The manifest lists his occupation as News Correspondent. His address is 220 E. 42nd Street, New York, New York. The May 24 edition of the Monroe Evening Times has an article about several reporters whom the Soviet Union accused of working against Russian interests and socialism. Harold Davis is named as one of the reporters and is listed as being with the New York Daily News. Davis was in Moscow to cover the fourth meeting of The Council of Foreign Ministers.
In 1954, Davis relocated to California to work at the Los Angeles Daily News in November 1954. His tenure there was short-lived as the paper closed down on December 18, 1954.
Three weeks later, in Los Angeles, Davis died from a liver ailment on January 8, 1955. His obituary stated he had worked for the Tulsa World before coming to New York and 17 years at the New York Daily News.