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Prof. emeritus Anthony Davids ’49 dies

Former faculty member leaves a vast legacy of mentorship in clinical psychology

Anthony Davids ’49, professor emeritus of psychology, died Tuesday morning, according to an email sent out to the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences listserv by department chair William Heindel.

Davids first came to Brown as an undergraduate in the fall of 1946, according to a biographical note written by Adjunct Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences Brian Hayden and included in Heindel’s email. Davids arrived in Providence right after serving in World War II as an ensign flying a Corsair fighter bomber.

Davids completed his degree in psychology in just three years under the tutelage of Carl Pfaffmann, Ogden Lindsley and Walter Hunter, graduating magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, Hayden wrote. Davids went on to attend graduate school at Harvard, where he worked at the institution’s Psychological Clinic until Harold Schlosberg, chairman of what was then the Department of Psychology at Brown, offered him a job.

Davids taught at Brown for only nine years before he became a full professor of psychology, teaching staples of the department such as Abnormal Psychology, Child Psychology and Childhood Psychopathology, Hayden wrote. He taught at Brown for a total of 33 years.

Not only a prolific researcher and writer — with books, textbooks and over 100 published articles to his name  — Davids also inspired future psychologists in the classroom with his “ready laugh, rigorous work ethic and contagious humor,” Hayden wrote. Agustus White, Davids’ first honors student, would become a professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard and serve on Brown’s Corporation as both a trustee and a fellow, Hayden wrote.

“While he had no children of his own, he was the paternalist force behind innumerable students who became in their own way his children for a change,” Hayden wrote.

After retiring in the late 1980s, Davids developed one of the first internship programs at the American Psychological Assocation, focusing in child psychology. The internship is recognized today as one of the nation’s finest for clinical psychology, Hayden wrote.

A service will be held either Thursday or Friday, according to Heindel.


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