Fonds - Personal Papers of Davidson Sommers

Identity area

Reference code



Personal Papers of Davidson Sommers


  • 1948 - 1987 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.47 linear feet of textual records; 25 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Davidson Sommers was born on February 15, 1905, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1926 and later graduated from Harvard Law School in 1930. After his graduation, Sommers practiced law for the firm of Parker and Garrison in New York City from 1930 to 1937 and later served as the Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York from 1937 to 1939. Sommers also worked for the firm Parker and Duryee in New York City between 1939 to 1942, before enlisting in the US Army Air Corps in the Spring/Summer of 1942.

During the Second World War, Sommers served as a US Air Corps officer in the Office of Assistant Secretary of War for Air from 1942 to 1944. After becoming a civilian, Sommers joined the Office of US Assistant Secretary of War as John Jay McCloy's Special Assistant to the Secretary of War from 1944 to 1946.

On November 7, 1946, recruited by the World Bank's first General Counsel Chester McClain, Sommers's appointment in the Office of the General Counsel, IBRD, was confirmed. On November 18, 1947, he joined the Bank's Legal department as an attorney. He also served as Assistant General Counsel from 1948 to 1951 and then as the General Counsel from 1951 to 1956, during the presidencies of John Jay McCloy and Robert Eugene Black. Additionally, he served as General Counsel for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) from 1956 to 1958 and as Vice President and General Counsel for the World Bank's Office of the President from 1956 to 1960. On January29, 1960, Sommers retired from the World Bank.

Three years later, on November 14, 1963, arrangements to appoint him as a consultant for the Bank was confirmed. He continued to serve as a consultant for the Office of the President, and later for the Office of the Vice President, the Administration Organization and Personnel Management (VPAOP), and the Pension Finance Committee, between 1963 and the 1980s during Robert McNamara's presidency.

After retiring from the World Bank in 1960, Sommers served as Chairman, Senior Vice President, and General Counsel for the Equitable Life Assurance Society from 1960 to 1982.

He died in Washington, D.C. on December 17, 2000.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated to the World Bank Group Archives by the estate of Davidson Sommers after Sommers's death.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds contains correspondence and personnel files, as well as speeches, articles, memorabilia, and photographs related to Davidson Sommers's employment in the World Bank's Legal Department and his work as a World Bank consultant.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Records are arranged in one series.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Physical file unit list is available.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

Disclosure status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

August 17, 2020




Accession area