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Robert Davis & Henry J. Schalizki papers

 Collection 0367-SCPA

Robert Donald Davis Jr. was born on September 3, 1920 in Battle Creek, MI, and died on February 23, 2011 in Chevy Chase, MD. Henry Joseph Schalizki was born on October 12, 1921 in Baltimore, MD, and he passed away on January 3, 2017. Together Bob and Henry’s work and philanthropy made waves in the theatre scene of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This collection has six series and 18 subseries, the bulk of the material dates from 1940-2011, and includes promotional photos, radio materials (including recordings), personal and professional correspondence, and a great deal of autographed objects.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1940-2011

Conditions Governing Access

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment with the curator: John Davis Tel: 301.405.9220, Email: jrdavis@umd.edu

Extent

18 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Robert Davis and Henry Schalizki Family Collection covers the period from 1914-2017; the bulk of the materials date from 1940-2011. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers including scripts, correspondence, programs, reports, reviews, memorabilia, clippings, articles, photographs, and audio related to their lives in the DC area: Bob Davis’ work as an actor, radio DJ and theatre critic, and Henry Schalizki’s work as a Real Estate Agent, including their philanthropic work in support of the DC theatre scene.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Donald Davis Jr. was born September 3, 1920 in Battle Creek, MI. He was active in his high school theatre and local radio before being drafted by the Navy. Davis was stationed around the country, including Boston and Chelsea, MA. He then went on to work with the USO on a six month tour in Hawaii, and various stock theatre companies along the East Coast, before settling down in DC. Davis’ media career began on-camera at WBAL-TV, where he hosted Television Matinee, then the highest rated show in the Baltimore-Washington area. Next he created the character Dusty, the Connecticut Avenue Hillbilly at WOL Radio, before he started hosting shows on WGMS, where he stayed for 50 years. Davis was a member of AFTRA, a theatre critic, patron, and donor—he received many accolades for his contributions to the DC theatre scene. A realtor by trade, Henry Joseph Schalizki was born on October 12, 1921, and grew up in Baltimore. His parents were Polish immigrants. He attended the University of Baltimore School of Finance and Accounting and the Maryland Institute School of Art and Design. In World War II, Schalizki was drafted into the Navy, and was stationed in Chatham, MA, and Oahu, HI. He was also a lifelong member of the Freemasons. Throughout his illustrious career as a realtor in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, he was a member of several million dollar sales clubs and realtors’ boards. Schalizki also received the Friendship Heights Village Council Community Service award, and gave famous tours of The National Theatre to friends and neighbors alike. Robert Davis and Henry Schalizki were well-known supporters of the theatre and arts scene in the DC area. In 2008, after their decades of supporting the arts, they received the Helen Hayes Governor’s award. They attended around 6,000 productions together, where Davis covered the work on stage while Schalizki connected with audiences. In 1990 Schalizki adopted Davis, and on their 62nd anniversary they married.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into six series and 18 subseries.

  1. Series 1: Programs/Playbills
  2. Series 2: Biographical: Robert Davis
  3. Subseries 2.1: Childhood
  4. Subseries 2.2: Navy
  5. Subseries 2.3: Theatre
  6. Subseries 2.4: WBAL
  7. Subseries 2.5: WGMS
  8. Subseries 2.6: Press Clippings
  9. Series 3: Biographical: Henry Schalizki
  10. Subseries 3.1: Childhood
  11. Subseries 3.2: Navy
  12. Subseries 3.3: Real Estate
  13. Subseries 3.4: Masonic affiliation
  14. Series 4: Milestones: awards, philanthropy, wedding
  15. Subseries 4.1: Family
  16. Subseries 4.2 Chatham Visit
  17. Subseries 4.3: Awards and other
  18. Series 5: Correspondence
  19. Subseries 5.1: Professional
  20. Subseries 5.2: Personal
  21. Series 6: Audio/Visual Material
  22. Subseries 6.1: Card Catalog and Collection of 45s
  23. Subseries 6.2 Cassette Tapes
  24. Subseries 6.3: Reels

Custodial History

Gift of Henry J. Schalizki as stipulated in his will; gift processed June 2017.

Related Materials

Television and Radio Station Files, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Gays and Lesbians in Public Radio (GLIPR) Records, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries

Separated Materials

A number of photographs and a high school diploma belonging to Bob Davis' mother Lulu Mae Davis were deaccessioned and transfered to the Historical Society of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Author
Natalie Salive
Date
January 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States