The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Davidson, James Wheeler
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The Encyclopedia Americana 1920 /Davidson, James Wheeler

DAVIDSON, James Wheeler, American capitalist: b. Austin, Minn., 14 June 1872. He was graduated from the Northwestern Military Academy, Highland Park, Ill., in 1891. He was a member of the Peary Artic Expedition to the North Polar regions, 1893-94; war correspondent with Chinese army, 1895; and with the Japanese army, 1895-96. In June 1897, he was appointed by President Cleveland consular agent for the island of Formosa, where he remained nine years, during which time he wrote numerous monographs on Formosan affairs, as well as a large volume entitled ‘Formosa Past and Present’ (1890), which is considered as a standard book of reference on this subject. In 1903 he obtained leave of absence, and under the auspices of the Russian Communications Department made a careful survey of the territory adjacent to the Asian section of the Trans-Siberian Railway, collecting material for a complete report of this territory, extracts from which appeared in the Century Magazine (April-June 1903). In 1904 he was appointed to Dalny, Manchuria, one of the political consulates, where he was expected to promote Secretary Hay's “open door” policy. Later be became consul at Antung, Manchuria, and commercial attaché to the American legation, Pekin, and special agent of the Department of State. He was appointed by President Roosevelt in 1905 consul-general at Shanghai. He was decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1895 with Order of Rising Sun for services rendered Japanese army in capturing the capital of Formosa. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of the Asiatic Society, the Explorers' Club and the Authors' Club. He has large lumbering interests and in 1915 was president of eight banks in North Dakota. His publications include ‘Formosa Camphor and Its Future’ (1895); ‘A Review of the History of Formosa’ (1896); ‘Formosa Under Japanese Rule’ (1903), and contributions to the publications of scientific societies and magazines.


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