Fonds - Personal Papers of Davidson Sommers

Identity area

Reference code



Personal Papers of Davidson Sommers


  • 1948 - 1987 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.50 linear feet of textual records; 25 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Davidson Sommers was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1905. He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1926, and later graduated from the 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. He additionally practiced law with the firm of Parker and Duryee in New York City from 1939 to 1942.

During World War II, Sommers served in the United States Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1945, and later as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of War from 1945 to 1946.

Sommers joined the World Bank legal department as a lawyer in 1946. He later served as Assistant General Counsel for the World Bank from 1946 to 1949, and then as the General Counsel from 1949 to 1956. He additionally served as General Counsel for the International Finance Corporation from 1956 to 1958, and as the Vice President and General Counsel for the World Bank from 1956 to 1960. In 1960, Sommers retired from the World Bank, but continued to serve as consultant for the World Bank in the 1970s and 1980s.

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

Sommers died in Washington, D.C. on December 17, 2001.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

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

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The files consist of correspondence, speeches, articles, and photographs related to Davidson Sommers' years of employment in the World Bank's Legal Department and his subsequent service as a consultant to the Bank.

Topics covered in the correspondence files include reorganization of the World Bank, procurement review, communications, loan documentation, Bank studies, World Bank president's succession, and improving efficiency in the Bank. Also included are Sommers' copies of the transcripts of two oral history interviews he gave and a copy of the transcript of an oral history interview with John J. McCloy which Sommers and Richard Demuth conducted in 1984. Some speeches and articles presented by Sommers are part of the series, including a description of the Bank and its operations given in Mexico City in 1950, an address entitled Early Days of the Bank given to Bank staff in 1960, and an article commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Bretton Woods institutions written in 1984 for the Bank/IMF periodical Finance and Development. Photographs included in the series are of a Bank building remodeling in the late 1950s, an Egyptian negotiation in 1959, the World Bank's twentieth anniversary luncheon in 1966, and the Pension Finance Committee in 1985.

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

Copyright in the papers is donated to the World Bank and the papers are subject to the World Bank Policy on Copyright.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Physical file unit list is available.

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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

13 October 2004




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