Secrets of the David Davis Mansion

Apr. 9, 2022    2:30pm - 4:30pm
Bloomington Public Library, 205 East Olive Street, Bloomington, IL 61701

The year 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the construction of the David Davis Mansion, which is now a state historic site in Bloomington, Illinois. To commemorate this special milestone, the site’s foundation board has published a new, limited-edition book entitled The David Davis Mansion 1872-2022: 150 Years at Clover Lawn.


Written by Dr. Marcia Young, the book presents a wealth of stories about the mansion, using hundreds of artifacts, archival documents, and vintage photographs, many of which have not been shown before. The author is a published historian, former site manager of the David Davis Mansion, and recipient of the Illinois State Historical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


What was actually happening behind the stately walls of the David Davis Mansion? Many of the home’s surprising stories are told in the book’s fascinating pictorial narrative. Dr. Young will be sharing some of these discoveries in a series of presentations throughout Bloomington-Normal entitled “Secrets of the David Davis Mansion.”


At the Bloomington Public Library, she will reveal the significant role that books have played in the mansion’s unique history.


The David Davis Mansion 1872-2022: 150 Years at Clover Lawn will be available for purchase at the event, and a signing by the author will take place immediately following.


More About the Book


In its 150-year history, the David Davis Mansion has been home to several notable inhabitants, among them Judge David Davis (Abraham Lincoln’s friend, presidential campaign manager, and appointee to the US Supreme Court) and Davis’s wife, Sarah, who played a role in the mansion’s story. It was also home to the judge’s descendants - his son, George Perrin Davis, who left an important legacy to historians, and his grandson David Davis III who preserved the home’s heirloom garden dating back to the 1870s. Like so many nineteenth-century houses in the United States, the mansion became a publicly owned historic site in the 1960s, as a means of preserving this significant building and providing access to its fascinating architectural and cultural history.


The last official “biography” of the house was printed in a 1986 “Historic Structures Report” that was used to revise the “Volunteer Manual” in 1992. Over the last 30 years, a great deal of new evidence has become available, revealing surprising discoveries and obscure stories about the mansion’s past.