Hallowell Davis

31st APS President (1958-1959)
Hallowell Davis

Hallowell Davis became president of APS in July 1958 after having served on Council for two years, the second as president elect. He had previously served on Council from 1942-46.

Born in New York City, Davis was educated at Harvard (A.B., 1918; M.D., 1922). This was followed by a year with E. D. Adrian at Cambridge University. He held progressive academic appointments at Harvard Medical School from 1923 to 1946 (associate professor of physiology, 1927-46). In 1946 he joined the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri, as director, a position he retained throughout his subsequent career, and became emeritus director of research in 1965 until his retirement in 1985. He also held appointments at Washington University as research professor of otolaryngology and professor of physiology.

A pioneer in the development of electroencephalography, he attained recognition in this field, but his principal scientific activity was in the fundamental physiology of the sense of hearing and its practical application.

Davis became a member of APS in 1925. He served the Society as treasurer during World War II for four years (1942-46), as APS representative to the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Research Council in the 1950s, as a member of the Board of Publication Trustees (1954-55), and as chairman of the Membership Advisory Committee (1956-57 and 1960-61). As a member of the Board of Publication Trustees, he was a strong advocate for the establishment of The Physiologist as the Society house organ. After his term as president, Davis was a member of the first Finance Committee (1961-63), which he chaired in his second year, and was a long-time member of the Senior Physiologists Committee (1966-81).

Davis received the Ray G. Daggs Award in 1991 for major contributions to physiology and the Society. Other honors included the National Medal of Science (1975) and many other awards related to his research and service to the various societies and organizations related to hearing disorders. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophic Society.

Davis died at the age of ninety-six in August 1992.

Selected Publications

1. Fenn, W. O. History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 44-46.