Remembering Our Friend Kathryn W. Davis: 1907 - 2013

Ploughshares Fund has lost a friend, and the world has lost a champion for peace. Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a globetrotting philanthropist and intellect, passed away on April 23, at the age of 106.

The generosity of Mrs. Davis and the impact her long and productive life has had on others will remain for many years to come in the advancement of peace, the arts and higher education.

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Mrs. Davis turned her philanthropic mission toward world peace, and not long after she joined Ploughshares Fund’s efforts to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons. At age 99, she created “100 Projects for Peace,” a program for college students at Middlebury that funds their summer projects aimed at conflict prevention, resolution or reconciliation anywhere in the world.

We remember Mrs. Davis right by our side during the campaign to ratify New START. Mrs. Davis was also a supporter of our Mother’s Day for Peace campaign. Having taken up landscape painting in her 90’s, she donated the image of her beautiful painting “Cherry Blossoms” for our Mother’s Day for Peace card.

Cherry Blossoms by Kathryn W. Davis

Born in Philadelphia on February 25, 1907, Mrs. Davis was educated at Miss Madeira’s School in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.A. in International Relations from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Her adventurous spirit followed her everywhere and inspired all she met. Mrs. Davis first visited Russia in 1929, traveling through the Caucasus Mountains on horseback with famed anthropologist Leslie White. She worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City before her and her husband, the late Shelby Cullom Davis, former ambassador to Switzerland, began raising a family in Tarrytown, New York.

We thank Mrs. Davis for all that she gave to our work and to our world. Her passion and her legacy will continue to inspire us as we work for a more peaceful, nuclear weapon-free world.