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Dorothy Carpenter Medical Archives: Miss Bowman Gray

History of Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health

Captive Moments


Thomas Simpson

Thomas Simpson, MD Class of 1957, and Katherine share a smile at the Medical Alumni reunion on November 9, 1979.


At Work

Katherine doing her usual ... helping and smiling. Date unknown.


M. Robert Cooper

Dr. M. Robert Cooper, who remembered Katherine when he was a student here, 1958-1962: One of affection. We knew that she ran the medical school and that she was such a quality individual. She was always so professional and yet she was very helpful. If you needed to know something you could go to Katherine and she would make sure that you got the information that you needed.



Not only was Katherine helpful and happy, she was also good at documenting, as seen in this handwritten note explaining what it is she is transferring to the Archives.


1972 Honor

Katherine being honored in 1972 with a plaque at the MD Alumni Banquet.


With Doctors

Showing happiness at the June 25, 1998 Richard Janeway Clinical Sciences Tower dedication with Dr. Eben Alexander, professor of neurosurgery (left) and Dr. Manson Meads, dean of medical school 1963-1971 and professor of internal medicine.


First Memory

Dr. Charles McCreight, anatomy professor, was interviewed in 1979 by Katherine for his oral history. He shares this: First I'd like to say that of all people that I could be interviewed by, Katherine Davis is my favorite. I feel that you are truly Miss Bowman Gray and know more about the school than anyone else. p. 1, April 9, 1979.

And his first memory here includes Katherine, as he states: When I arrived I went, of course, to the main office, and I believe one of the first people I talked to was Katherine Davis, and with the aid of a listing in the Dean's office she and her assistants were able to find me lodging with the Hoots family down on Eden Terrace where I lived for the next three years. It was very fine that I didn't even have to put up at a hotel or motel.p. 6-7, April 9, 1979


Alumni Meeting

Katherine (second from right) in 1948 when she served as secretary to Dr. Coy Carpenter. She is at an alumni meeting with (L-R) Dr. Herbert M. Vann, anatomy professor and registrar; Nell Benton, librarian; Katherine; and Alice Stallings, secretary to Dr. Vann.


Good friends

Katherine with George Jones in July 1990 sitting in the Coy C. Carpenter Library’s director’s office. George started as chief engineer with the school in 1947; he died in 2007.


Martha Plyler

Martha Plyler, director of purchasing, said in her oral history that Katherine did purchasing prior to the school having a department. She recounts Katherine here: Katherine Davis is a legend here. She was the person that you looked up to. There were very few women in any management position at Bowman Gray School of Medicine when I came here. There were no directors of anything. When I became purchasing agent, Katherine was the person that I would go to if there were something that I was uncomfortable with or anything. You’ve got to have somebody at some point in time to talk to. I respect Katherine. She’s a fine lady. She got me involved in the Pilot Club, which is a businesswoman’s club. You had to be invited to join and they limited the number of people that could be in a profession. It was an honor to be asked to join that. The Pilot Club sponsors the Anchor Club in high schools. The Anchor Club at Griffith School started when I was a sophomore and I was a charter member. That was a great tie.

p. 9, December 2, 2004, Martha Plyler Oral History #1 


Sherrill Hudspeth

Dr. Sherrill Hudspeth, cardiothoracic surgery, says in his oral history that Katherine almost knew him before he arrived as a student in 1949: I can tell you the person that I think helped me more than anything else, and probably might well be the reason that I got into medical school, was Katherine Davis. I’ll bet she doesn’t remember that. She was very kind to me when I came here. She knew my background and stuff.

p. 9, September 4, 2002, Sherrill Hudspeth Oral History #1



Katherine and company looking at the model expansion of Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1965. Alumni Council members are (L-R) Drs. Vernon W. Taylor; Manson Meads, dean of the school; Jean Bailey Brooks; Julian Keith, president of the Medical Alumni Association; Joseph B. Alexander, Jr.; H. Kent Bennett; and Katherine, secretary to the dean. 

Katherine Biography

Katherine Davis (1920-2013) started her career at the medical school, formerly Bowman Gray School of Medicine, on Thanksgiving Day 1942. She began as secretary to Dr. Herbert Vann, who was professor of anatomy and registrar for the school at that time. She went on to become an administrative assistant to two former deans: Dr. Coy Carpenter and Dr. Manson Meads. She also worked in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs. And she helped write Miracle on Hawthorne Hill with Dr. Meads. Her quiet, yet helpful and caring, demeanor made her popular with students and faculty.


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Dianne Johnson
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Coy C. Carpenter Library

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