The branch is unique in that it was the first library to be named in honor of a living person. Julia Davis was an educator and researcher of African-American history. Davis lived to 102 and dedicated her life to teaching and awareness of African-American cultural contributions. She taught for 48 years in the St. Louis Public Schools, 35 of those years at Simmons Elementary in the Ville Neighborhood...one of her students was Chuck Berry. Then, on the day she retired in 1961 she established the Julia Davis Fund at the St Louis Public Library, designed for the purchase of books, manuscripts, etc. related to the African-American contribution to world culture.