Dwight Davis is best known as the donor of the international team tennis trophy that bears his name, the Davis Cup. A top tennis player in his youth in the United States, Davis was runner-up at the US Championships in 1898 and teamed with Holcombe Ward to win the US Doubles for three consecutive years, 1899-1901. They were also runners-up at Wimbledon in doubles in 1901. Davis won the Intercollegiate Tennis Championships in 1899 while at Harvard, before there was an NCAA. In 1900 Davis developed the structure for the Davis Cup and donated the trophy that survives to this day.
After Harvard, Davis earned a law degree at Washington University in St. Louis. He never practiced law, but instead entered politics, initially in St. Louis. He was city public parks commissioner from 1911-15, expanding sports facilities and creating the first municipal tennis courts in the United States. Under President Calvin Coolidge, Davis served as Assistant Secretary of War (1923-25) and then Secretary of War (1925-29). From 1929-32, under President Herbert Hoover, he was Governor-General of the Philippines.