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Coralee "Coco" Burson Davis Collection

Identifier: WV 0222

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of photographs, a scrapbook showing Davis's involvement in the Tars and Spars musical, video and audiotapes, identification bracelet, and a 2011 oral history interview.


  • 1942-1946


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement

Biographical Note

Coralee "Coco" Burson Davis was born in 1921 in Eagle Rock, California, and was raised in Pasadena, California. She graduated high school in 1939 and went to work at Lockheed Aircraft while also performing in shows at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Davis joined the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, or SPARS [from "Semper Paratus - Always Ready"] in fall 1942 and was sent to Hunter College, New York, in February 1943 for basic training. She was then sent to U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C., where she did clerical work for its transportation department. She began giving recruitment speeches to local women's groups and doing interviews on a radio show. Davis was then cast in the Coast Guard revue Tars and Spars and was sent to Palm Beach, Florida for rehearsal. She toured the country with the show until 1945. She was then cast in the movie of the same name, and spent the summer of 1945 filming in Hollywood.

In November 1945 she participated in another version of the revue, organized to sell victory bonds in Pennsylvania. Davis was discharged from the SPARS in March 1946, following the completion of her publicity activities for the movie's release in New York.

Following her discharge, Davis traveled between New York City and Pasadena, primarily acting and modeling. She married Walter Rathburn in spring of 1948, and the two worked in a summer theatre group in California. When her husband died of Hodgkin's disease in 1952, Davis moved back to New York. In 1954, she moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she met and married Horace Davis in 1956. He was later reassigned to Washington, DC, where they lived for four years until settling in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1963, and opening a travel agency. She passed away on 24 November, 2016.


0.48 Linear Feet (Document Box, Scrapbook Box)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


Coralee "Coco" Burson Davis (1921-2016), of Pasadena, California, served in the Coast Guard SPARS from 1942-1946 and was a member of the Tars and Spars musical revue and movie cast.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Brandi Mauldin, August 2017.

Coralee "Coco" Burson Davis
Brandi Mauldin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US