Elizabeth Gould Davis (1910 - 1974)

Elizabeth Gould Davis
1910 - 1974
updated May 27, 2020
Elizabeth Gould Davis was born on June 23, 1910 in Fort Riley, Kansas. She died on July 30, 1974 in Sarasota, Florida at 64 years old.

DAVIS, Elizabeth Gould
Born 1910, Kansas; died 30 July 1974, Sarasota, Florida

When Elizabeth Gould Davis' The First Sex appeared in 1971, it was barely reviewed and apparently ignored by the reading public. Yet three years later it was producing enormous sales in its paperback edition. Highly controversial, it was called everything from the "nut book of the year" to the "Bible of the Women's Movement," and has since become one of the essential documents of twentieth-century feminism.

Davis attended Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and the University of Kentucky from which she received a master's in 1951. She went to work as a librarian in Sarasota, Florida, and remained there until the time of her death.

Davis wrote two other major books, The Female Principle and The Founding Mothers, which were never published. Yet at the time of her death—thanks to The First Sex—she had become something of a celebrity, surrounded by fans and devotees. It was the product of years of work and of commitment to an idea that Davis said she felt compelled to put into writing. She, like many modern feminists, was convinced history, as we know it, is grossly distorted because it has been written by men in a way perpetuating a tradition male view.

The book challenges "male history" with the assertion that women, not men, were the deities, educators, architects, artists, and civilizers of the world in our most distant and most peaceful past. She supports her thesis with a monumental amount of evidence (although she said the book was drastically cut by her editors) taken from all sorts of scholarly and literary sources including mythology, psychiatry, linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology.

The First Sex is heavily influenced by the Mother-centered mythological interpretations of history developed in part by Johann Jacob Bachofen, Robert Graves, and Robert Briffault. Davis postulates women developed and dominated the earliest civilizations and that the Celtic races were able to preserve and pass on some of the values and skills of these matriarchies despite the onslaught of barbarian Germanic tribes and the surge of Christianity. She believes the abuse of woman by the succeeding patriarchies validates her theory of former female dominance—"a dominance that man felt compelled to stamp out and forget."

In Part I of the book, Davis establishes the existence and superiority of the peaceful Golden Age of the matriarchies. She speculates males were eventually able to overthrow them because the women, in selecting the largest and strongest males as mates, contributed to superior physical development in men. It is clear Davis believes female society was destroyed and replaced by something infinitely inferior: "When man substituted God for the Great Goddess, he at the same time substituted authoritarian for humanistic values." According to Davis, a war is still being waged between the physical superiority of the patriarchal male and the inherent moral and mental superiority of the female.

Part II deals in some detail with the patriarchal takeover, especially as it is recorded in mythology and reflected in the continuing hostility between men and women. Part III demonstrates the extent to which remnants of female dominance survived in pre-Christian and Celtic societies. The conclusion treats the "Tragedy of Western Woman," who has fallen so far from her rightful place.
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Elizabeth Gould Davis Biography

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Elizabeth Gould Davis
Most commonly known name
Female
Gender
Elizabeth
First name
Gould
Middle name
Unknown
Maiden name
Davis
Last name(s)
Unknown
Nickname(s) or aliases
Unknown. Did Elizabeth move a lot? Where was her last known location?
Last known residence
Elizabeth Davis was born on in Fort Riley, Riley County, Kansas United States
Birth
Elizabeth Davis died on in Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida United States
Death
Elizabeth Davis was born on in Fort Riley, Riley County, Kansas United States
Elizabeth Davis died on in Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida United States
Birth
Death
Suicide
Cause of death
Barrancas National Cemetery Section 36 Site 864, Naval Air Station, 1 Cemetery Road, in Pensacola, Florida 32508
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

What is Elizabeth's ethnicity and where did her parents, grandparents & great-grandparents come from?

Nationality & Locations Lived

Unknown

Religion

Unknown. Was Elizabeth a religious woman?

Education

Davis attended Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and the University of Kentucky from which she received a master's in 1951. She went to work as a librarian in Sarasota, Florida, and remained there until the time of her death.

Professions

Author.
DAVIS, Elizabeth Gould
Born 1910, Kansas; died 31 July 1974, Sarasota, Florida

When Elizabeth Gould Davis' The First Sex appeared in 1971, it was barely reviewed and apparently ignored by the reading public. Yet three years later it was producing enormous sales in its paperback edition. Highly controversial, it was called everything from the "nut book of the year" to the "Bible of the Women's Movement," and has since become one of the essential documents of twentieth-century feminism.

Davis attended Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and the University of Kentucky from which she received a master's in 1951. She went to work as a librarian in Sarasota, Florida, and remained there until the time of her death.

Davis wrote two other major books, The Female Principle and The Founding Mothers, which were never published. Yet at the time of her death—thanks to The First Sex—she had become something of a celebrity, surrounded by fans and devotees. It was the product of years of work and of commitment to an idea that Davis said she felt compelled to put into writing. She, like many modern feminists, was convinced history, as we know it, is grossly distorted because it has been written by men in a way perpetuating a tradition male view.

The book challenges "male history" with the assertion that women, not men, were the deities, educators, architects, artists, and civilizers of the world in our most distant and most peaceful past. She supports her thesis with a monumental amount of evidence (although she said the book was drastically cut by her editors) taken from all sorts of scholarly and literary sources including mythology, psychiatry, linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology.

The First Sex is heavily influenced by the Mother-centered mythological interpretations of history developed in part by Johann Jacob Bachofen, Robert Graves, and Robert Briffault. Davis postulates women developed and dominated the earliest civilizations and that the Celtic races were able to preserve and pass on some of the values and skills of these matriarchies despite the onslaught of barbarian Germanic tribes and the surge of Christianity. She believes the abuse of woman by the succeeding patriarchies validates her theory of former female dominance—"a dominance that man felt compelled to stamp out and forget."

In Part I of the book, Davis establishes the existence and superiority of the peaceful Golden Age of the matriarchies. She speculates males were eventually able to overthrow them because the women, in selecting the largest and strongest males as mates, contributed to superior physical development in men. It is clear Davis believes female society was destroyed and replaced by something infinitely inferior: "When man substituted God for the Great Goddess, he at the same time substituted authoritarian for humanistic values." According to Davis, a war is still being waged between the physical superiority of the patriarchal male and the inherent moral and mental superiority of the female.

Part II deals in some detail with the patriarchal takeover, especially as it is recorded in mythology and reflected in the continuing hostility between men and women. Part III demonstrates the extent to which remnants of female dominance survived in pre-Christian and Celtic societies. The conclusion treats the "Tragedy of Western Woman," who has fallen so far from her rightful place.

Although The First Sex is neither the most sensible nor the most scientific book to come out of the contemporary women's movement, it seems destined to be one of the most influential.

Personal Life & Organizations

Davis, Elizabeth G., Rank: LT, Branch: US NAVY, was born 23 June 1910, died 30 July 1974,
and was buried in Section 36, Site 864 in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida, United States of America.
.

Military Service

Branch of service: Us Navy
Rank attained: LT

Average Age

Life Expectancy

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Amanda S. Stevenson
10.1k+ favorites
I wrote her a fan letter and she sent me her photograph. The one of a very much older white haired old lady IS NOT ELIZABETH GOULD DAVIS! Elizabeth died at the age of 64, so she couldn't be the 80+ year old woman in photographs all over the internet!
May 27 · Reply

Elizabeth Davis Obituary

This obit of Elizabeth Gould Davis is maintained by Elizabeth's followers. Contribute to her obituary and include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

NEW YORK TIMES
problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.
SARASOTA, Fla., Aug. 1 (AP) — Elizabeth G. Davis, author of the popular women's liberation book “The First Sex,” has died of a self‐inflicted gunshot wound, the police said. She was 64 years old.

A neighbor discovered Mrs. Davis's body yesterday in her bedroom with a revolver in her hand, the police said. They added that Mrs. Davis had been in poor health.

“The First Sex,” published in 1971, sought to show that women had made a greater contribution to history than men. Mrs. Davis also wrote “The Female Principle” and “The Founding Mothers.”

She was the sister of Dita Beard, the International Telephone & Telegraph lobbyist who was a key figure in the I.T.T. case involving the 1972 Republican National Convention.

Followers & Sources
Other Records of Elizabeth Gould Davis

1910 - 1974 World Events

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In 1910, in the year that Elizabeth Gould Davis was born, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated. U.S. publisher W.D. Boyce was visiting England when he became lost in the London fog. An unknown Boy Scout helped him find his way out, declining a tip (he said that he was a Boy Scout and was doing his good deed for the day). Boyce was so impressed that he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America when he returned home. Its purpose was "to teach boys patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values."

In 1926, she was 16 years old when on October 31st, Harry Houdini died in Michigan. Houdini was the most famed magician of his time and perhaps of all time, especially for his acts involving escapes - from handcuffs, straitjackets, chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, and more. He was president of the Society of American Magicians and stringently upheld professional ethics. He died of complications from a ruptured appendix. Although he had received a blow to the area a couple of days previously, the connection between the blow and his appendicitis is disputed.

In 1942, Elizabeth was 32 years old when from January 7th through April 9th, the Battle of Bataan was fought in the Philippines. At the end of the battle, the U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered and a three-year occupation of the Philippines by Japan began. Between 60,000 and 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered and were marched around 60 to 69 miles - most were beaten, abused, or killed. Named the Bataan Death March, it was later declared to be a war crime.

In 1952, at the age of 42 years old, Elizabeth was alive when on July 2, Dr. Jonas E. Salk tested the first dead-virus polio vaccine on 43 children. The worst epidemic of polio had broken out that year - in the U.S. there were 58,000 cases reported. Of these, 3,145 people had died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

In 1974, in the year of Elizabeth Gould Davis's passing, on July 30th, the House Judiciary Committee adopted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon. He was charged with obstruction of justice, failure to uphold laws, and the refusal to produce material subpoenaed by the committee. In order to avoid impeachment, Richard M. Nixon announced that he would resign on August 8th, the first President to do so.

Other Biographies

Other Elizabeth Davises

Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Dec 22, 1799 - Mar 19, 1883
Dec 29 - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
1866 - 1960
Unknown - Unknown
around 1885 - Feb 23, 1944
around 1884 - Apr 10, 1941
around 1877 - Nov 10, 1940
around 1882 - Sep 6, 1940
around 1879 - Aug 13, 1944
around 1910 - Unknown
around 1921 - Unknown
around 1913 - Unknown
around 1921 - Unknown
around 1918 - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - 1912

Other Davises

Dec 31, 1969 - Mar 13, 1974
Aug 19, 1931 - Mar 28, 2000
Unknown - May 22, 1943
Apr 2, 1903 - Aug 14, 1983
May 14, 1930 - Jul 15, 1980
Mar 22, 1911 - Sep 18, 1964
Jan 29, 1922 - Dec 7, 1988
Dec 31, 1969 - Aug 1, 1961
Unknown - Jul 3, 1941
Unknown - Jun 1, 1944
Jul 10, 1923 - Dec 6, 1944
Dec 18, 1924 - Mar 23, 2000
Sep 29, 1920 - Nov 1, 1985
Unknown - Dec 31, 1969

Other Bios

May 18, 1908 - May 18, 1981
Unknown - Apr 13, 1942
Jul 13, 1913 - Oct 13, 1971
Apr 17, 1948 - Mar 17, 1970
Unknown - Jan 29, 1939
Sep 1, 1912 - Nov 17, 1959
Feb 9, 1913 - Dec 30, 1964
Oct 23, 1923 - Nov 25, 1968
Dec 31, 1969 - Mar 13, 1974
Dec 31, 1969 - Jun 11, 1961
Aug 4, 1904 - Jul 5, 1964
Jun 27, 1919 - Jan 5, 1988
Jun 5, 1928 - Mar 6, 1986
Oct 16, 1948 - Jan 10, 1989
Jul 26, 1965 - Jul 26, 1965
Unknown - Unknown
Sep 29, 1952 - Aug 31, 1993
Unknown - Jun 24, 1930
Sep 2, 1916 - Nov 7, 1993
Jun 29, 1915 - Aug 12, 1971
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