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Coote Lake Medal (1984), Katharine Briggs Prize (1988)
Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson (born Hilda Roderick Ellis, 1 October 1914 - January 2006) was an Englishantiquarian and academic, writing in particular on Germanic paganism and Celtic paganism. Davidson used literary, historical and archaeological evidence to discuss the stories and customs of Northern Europe. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (Penguin Books, 1964) is considered one of the most thorough and reputable sources on Germanic mythology. Like many of her publications, it was credited under the name H. R. Ellis Davidson. Davidson was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was president of the Council of the Folklore Society from 1974 to 1976, and served on the council from 1956 to 1986. Davidson has been cited as having "contributed greatly" to the study of Norse mythology.
Davidson joined the Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge in 1969 as a Calouste GulbenkianResearch Fellow, was appointed a College Lecturer in 1971, was an elected a Fellow in 1974, and was made the Vice-President between 1975 and 1980. In 1980, Davidson also began working on a biography of Katharine Mary Briggs, which she published in 1986. Davidson received the Folklore Society's Coote Lake Medal in 1984, and her 1988 work Myths and Symbols of Pagan Europe won the Katharine Briggs Prize that year. Davidson was an honorary member of the Folklore Society beginning in 1985 and she founded the Katharine Briggs Club in January 1987. The first three publications of the club were edited by Davidson and the third was dedicated to her.
Another interest Davidson held was in the history of folklore scholarship itself, which led to her editing with Carmen Blacker a collection of essays on Women and Tradition: A Neglected Group of Folklorists (2000). In Davidson's later work, she focused on cultural and religious links between Germanic and Celtic cultures, showcased at her presence at the Nordic-Celtic-Baltic Legend Symposiums in Ireland and Copenhagen throughout the 1990s. She was unable to attend the 2005 meeting due to poor health.
In her later years she ran the Cambridge Folklore Group. Davidson was a bellringer and churchwarden at her local church. Davidson died in Kent in January 2006, aged 91, leaving 2 children and 10 grandchildren.
(1940) Eschatology and Manticism in Old Norse Literature. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Cambridge.
(1941) "Fostering by Giants in Old Norse Sagas", Med. Aev. 10: 70-85.
(1942) "Sigurd in the Art of the Viking Age", Antiquity 16: 216-36.