Dorothy Dudley Seibel Davidson of Hannibal, who served in the WAVES during World War II, has been named a Patriot of the Month by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Dorothy Dudley Seibel Davidson of Hannibal, who served in the WAVES during World War II, has been named a Patriot of the Month by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Davidson was proposed for the honor by the Hannibal Heritage Chapter of the Missouri DAR.

Jean Kramer, regent of the Hannibal Chapter, said the local DAR was honored to have Davidson chosen. Kay Ellis, a local DAR charter member, said Davidson’s honor will be added to the DAR website.

Davidson was born Aug. 14, 1923, in Hannibal and graduated from Hannibal High School in 1940, from Hannibal-LaGrange College in 1942, and from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1943. She taught for  one year at Webster Groves Junior High School in 1943-44.

With two uncles in the U.S. Navy, she decided to enlist in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). She served her two-year enlistment from 1944 to 1946 in New York City, working at the Fleet Post Office at the Battery, from where mail was sent to active naval personnel.

Davidson lived in Manhattan Towers, a residential hotel at E. 48th and Broadway. 

In her spare time she attended musicals on Broadway.

“It was the time when all those musicals were just opening,” Davidson said, citing shows, “Oklahoma” and “Bloomer Girl.” “And I enjoyed going to Radio City Music Hall and seeing the Rockettes, and a lot of celebrities, like Vaughn Monroe and his band.

“They had a very active USO for the service people in New York, and I tried to take advantage of everything I could,” she said. “That was such a treat and they were so kind to service people, with either free tickets or a cut price. It was an interesting time in my life.”

 V-J Day was most

exciting and her

22nd birthday

 Davidson said the most exciting day was V-J Day, Aug. 14, 1945. “I had been on duty for almost two years and had not been home, I finally was going to go home.

“The date was Aug. 14 (her 22nd birthday), and that morning they said no service person is to leave the city,” she said. “So I went on to a ferryboat that went around Manhattan Island past the Statue of Liberty and when we got back to port you could tell the excitement in the air.

“I got off the ferryboat and started walking up Broadway and people were so excited - it was V-J Day. People were just hugging and kissing everybody they could get their hands on. It was just the most exciting time I had ever seen before or since.”

Bob Davidson, her son, reported she was just a block away from where the famous photo of a nurse being kissed was taken at Times Square.

After the war, Davidson said she decided, “I’d better go home and continue with my life. With the GI Bill I went back to college and did my graduate work at the University of Missouri.”

There she met Dennis Davidson, who had served in the U.S. Navy during the war, and was also studying on the GI Bill. He was in law school.

After they were married, they decided to make their home in Hannibal when he was offered a position with the local law firm led by Walter Stillwell.

Davidson’s family includes her children, Robert D. Davidson and Judith Ann Davidson Dryden, and three grandsons, Benjamin Dryden, Stewart Dryden, and Forrest Davidson. 

She returned to teaching as a substitute and then taught vocal music and English in the Hannibal public schools and was also a guidance counselor for the Quincy Public Schools.

Davidson was raised in the Baptist Church but all her married life has been a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Her church responsibilities included singing in the choir, directing the choristers, and starting and directing the handbell choir. 

She has also been active in the Mark Twain Chorale, PEO, UDC, and Women’s Club (GFWC), and has served on the board of the Mark Twain Home & Museum.

Her son, Bob, reported he is a lawyer, like his late father. He is chief counsel for the Mississippi Senate.

“And I play the trumpet,” Bob said. “I kept up the musical tradition of my mother and grandmother (Dorothy Seibel). She gave piano lessons in her parlor and was director of the choir at Fifth Street Baptist Church,” he said. “That’s where my mother got her musical inclination.”

He added that “it was my grandmother who introduced my mother and father.”