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William Howe Davis
William Howe Davis
|Mayor of Orange, New Jersey|
July 1942 – March 1954
|Preceded by||Ovid C. Bianchi|
|Succeeded by||Russell A. Riley|
|Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control|
February 1954 – January 1963
|Preceded by||Dominic A. Cavicchia|
|Succeeded by||Joseph P. Lordi|
William Howe Davis
March 8, 1904
Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||August 18, 1982 (aged 81)|
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Relations||Judge Thomas A. Davis (Father) |
Bernard M. Shanley (Brother-in-Law)
|Alma mater||New Jersey Law School|
William Howe Davis (March 8, 1904 - August 18, 1982) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as Mayor of Orange, New Jersey for 12 years, as the Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control beginning in 1954 during the Administration of Governor Robert B. Meyner and as the first head of the state's Amusement Games Commission, starting in 1960.
Davis was born in Orange on March 8, 1904. He was the son of Thomas A. Davis, who served as an Orange City Councilman, as South Orange Village Attorney, and as a Judge of the Essex County Court. His grandfather, Michael Davis (1833–1908) served as an Alderman in Orange and on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Davis was a graduate of Carteret Academy, Seton Hall College (now known as Seton Hall University) and New Jersey Law School (now Rutgers School of Law – Newark) in 1928, the same year that he was admitted to the state bar.
Davis was elected Mayor of Orange in 1942, and was re-elected in 1946 and 1950. He resigned in 1953 after Governor Robert B. Meyner appointed him to serve as the Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In response to a request from a bar owner in Atlantic City, New Jersey who was asking to be able to open a "self-service tavern", Davis issued an opinion in 1954 forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages using a vending machine, arguing that "I have not yet heard of a machine that can say 'no' to a minor or a drunk or any other who should not be served."
In December 1959, Davis made clear that he was looking to take on the role of regulating the state's amusement game, after being nominated for the position by Governor of New Jersey Robert B. Meyner, even though he would see no additional compensation beyond the $18,000 he already earned; David emphasized that the Alcoholic Beverage Control division had field offices in Asbury Park and Atlantic City, two of New Jersey's major seaside resorts, where most of the gaming machines were located, and that handling both jobs would result in a significant savings to the state. Confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in February 1960 to become the first head of the state's Amusement Games Commission, Howe was given what Billboard magazine described as a "powerful" role to "lay down any rulings he sees fit" in a market that was at the time one of the nation's largest for coin-operated amusement games as the country's major summertime seashore resort area. He held the post heading the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control until 1963; Davis had announced in December 1962 that he was resigning from both positions, which had been combined into one by the state, due to financial concerns and would be joining the law firm of Shanley & Fisher, which would absorb his former firm and make it into the new firm's Orange office.
He was married in June 1937 to the former Ruth Bayley Shanley (1913–2004), the brother of Bernard M. Shanley, the Deputy White House Chief of Staff under President Dwight Eisenhower. They had five sons.
- Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey. NJ: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. 1910. p. 1454.
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- Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, 1960, p. 351. Accessed December 27, 2017. "William Howe Davis, Orange - Mr. Davis was born on March 8, 1904, has served three terms as Mayor of Orange, having been first elected to that office in 1942. He was educated at Carteret Academy, Seton Hall Prep and College and was graduated from the New Jersey Law School in 1928."
- "Orange Gets New Mayor; W.H. Davis Chosen For Post At Commission Organization". The New York Times. 20 May 1942. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Staff. "Patten Named State Secretary, Califon Man Will Direct OMI; Orange Mayor To Head ABC", The Plainfield Courier-News, January 4, 1954. Accessed December 27, 2017. "Edward J. Patten, right, Perth Amboy attorney, and Mayor William Howe Davis, left, of Orange, have been appointed by Gov.-elect Robert B. Meyner to state posts. Patten was named secretary of state and Davis director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Department of Law and Public Safety."
- "Mayor Davis of Orange Quits". The New York Times. 6 March 1954.
- Staff. "Coin-Slot Drinks Barred In Jersey; A.B.C. Head Informs Atlantic City Applicant That Machine Cannot Say 'No' to Minor", The New York Times, July 11, 1954. Accessed December 27, 2017. "William Howe Davis, director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, laid down a ruling today that forbade the sale of alcoholic drinks from coin slot machines.... 'I have not yet heard of a machine that can say "no" to a minor or a drunk or any other who should not be served.'"
- Segrave, Kerry. Vending Machines: An American Social History, p. 149. McFarland & Company, 2002. ISBN 9780786413690 Search this book on .. Accessed December 27, 2017. "William Howe Davis, director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, delivered a ruling that forbade the sale of alcoholic drinks from coin machines. It was an emphatic 'No.' He said 'I have not yet heard of a machine that can say "no" to a minor or a drunk or any other who should not be served.'"
- Staff. "Liquor Chief Bids for Job as Games Boss", Billboard (magazine), December 21, 1959. Accessed December 27, 2017. "State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner William Howe Davis has made it known that he would like to have the job of State Amusement Games Commissioner as well."
- Staff. "N. J. Game Czar Named; Seeks Funds for Duties", Billboard (magazine), February 22, 1960. Accessed December 27, 2017. "William Howe Davis is New Jersey's first amusement games commissioner. He was confirmed by the State Senate here Monday (15) after being proposed by Governor Robert B. Meyner in December.... It is expected that the approval of funds for the Amusement Games Commission will be one of the first orders of business, since New Jersey has some of the top summertime vacation resorts and it is hoped that the plan will be under way in time for this summer's influx."
- Legislative Manual of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: Joseph J. Gribbons. 1959.
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- Staff. "Beverage Control Chief To Quit Post in Jersey", The New York Times, December 8, 1962. Accessed December 27, 2017. "William Howe Davis of Orange, director of the division of Alcohol Beverage Control since 1954, has notified Gov. Richard J. Hughes that he plans to resign.... He told the Governor that he was leaving for financial reasons. He will become a full partner in the Newark law firm of Shanley & Fisher."
- "Miss Ruth Shanley New Jersey Bride; Her Wedding to W. H. Davis Is Held in Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange", The New York Times, June 4, 1937. Accessed December 27, 2017. "Miss Ruth Bayley Shanley, daughter of Mrs. Bernard M. Shanley Jr. of this place, was married this morning to William Howe Davis, son of Mrs. Thomas A. Davis of Orange and the late Judge Davis, in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows here."
- "Ruth B. Shanley Becomes Engaged; Betrothal to William H. Davis Is Announced by Mother in South Orange.", The New York Times, October 11, 1936. Accessed December 27, 2017.
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