Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: F. N. David papers
Date (inclusive): 1921-1989
Collection Number: BANC MSS 95/23 c
David, F. N. (Florence Nightingale)
Number of containers: 10 cartons and 1 oversize folder.
Linear feet: 12.5
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: Documents mainly the professional life of F.N. David, although a
scattering of personal items is included. Personal papers include notes and drawings from
university course work, a high school autograph book, and some correspondence. Professional
papers include curriculum vitae, writings, speeches, correspondence, photographs, research
notes and calculations, lecture notes and background materials, and information regarding
her work with the British armed forces during World War II and the United States on security
issues after the war.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite
and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17,
U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of
University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and
publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials
protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of
the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:
[Identification of item], F. N. David Papers, BANC MSS 95/23 c, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Additional Notes on Collection:
Some materials that were labeled "SECRET" based on National Security have been removed
Jerzy Neyman papers: BANC MSS 84/30 c
Papers belonging to Jerzy Neyman were removed to be added to his papers.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
History of science and technology collection
David, F. N. (Florence
University of California,
Berkeley. Dept. of Statistics
The F.N. David papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Charles Stein on March 21,
No additions are expected.
System of Arrangement
Arranged to the folder level.
Processed by Bancroft Library staff in 2008
F.N. (Florence Nightingale) David was born on August 23, 1909 in Ivington, England. She
graduated from Bedford College for Women in 1931 with a degree in Mathematics. Her intention
was to become an actuary in the insurance business, but she found she could not be hired
because she was a woman. Frustrated, she sought out Karl Pearson at University College in
London and began graduate studies and work as his research assistant. While working on her
PhD she became an assistant lecturer in the Statistics Department at University College and
worked closely with Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson. Together they launched a new statistical
Statistical Research Memoirs. Encouraged by
Neyman after Karl Pearson died, she completed her PhD in 1938.
During WW II, David took advantage of new opportunities that opened up for women by working
as an experimental officer for the Ordinance Board at the Ministry of Supply and a senior
statistician for the Research and Experiments Department of the Ministry of Home Security.
She also served on the Land Mines Committee of the Scientific Advisory Council and as a
scientific advisor for the Military Experimental Establishment. After the war, she continued
to work on these projects for the British government as well as conducting similar research
in the United States and Canada.
She continued as a lecturer and reader in the Statistics Department of University College
until she was promoted to professor in 1962. From 1958 to 1967 she was a visiting professor
and research statistician in the Department of Statistics and Applied Climatology and
Forestry Division at the University of California, Berkeley. She later replaced Jerzy Neyman
as chair of that department. In 1967, she came permanently to the United States, joining the
Department of Biostatistics at UC Riverside and becoming the chair of the Department of
Statistics in 1970. After her retirement in 1977, she returned to Berkeley as professor
emeritus and research associate in biostatistics.
David became a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1954. She authored nine
books between 1938 and 1968 and wrote or co-wrote more than one hundred papers in scientific
journals. She was the first recipient of the Elizabeth L. Scott award in 1992 for her
"efforts in opening the door to women in statistics," which, considering her early setbacks
in the London insurance industry, must have been very gratifying. In 2001, the Committee of
Presidents of Statistical Societies and the Caucus for Women in Statistics established the
F. N. David Award to reward women statisticians for acting as role models to other women
through outstanding research and service.
F. N. David died on July 23, 1993.
Scope and Content of Collection
Documents mainly the professional life of F.N. David, although a scattering of personal
items is included. Personal papers include notes and drawings from university course work, a
high school autograph book, and some correspondence. Professional papers include curriculum
vitae, writings, speeches, correspondence, photographs, research notes and calculations,
lecture notes and background materials, and information regarding her work with the British
armed forces during World War II and the United States on security issues after the war.