Charles Davis was born in Tell City, Indiana, and had degrees in Chemistry, Library Science and Information Science. Charles was Professor Emeritus snd Dean of Faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, retiring in 1993. He then became a Senior Fellow, Adjunct Professor and finally Dean Emeritus at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science (subsequently the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering).

Charles was an accomplished amateur clarinetist who performed professionally in his younger years. He played both clarinet and baritone saxophone with the Barton Rogers Dance Band in Indianapolis and was a charter member of the Indianapolis Symphonic Band. He also played with the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and the Community Chamber Music Association of Bloomington. Most recently he enjoyed being Concertmaster and solo clarinetist with the Bloomington Community Band and its Heritage Hall Ramblers Dixieland band and Hungry Five German band. Charles was a most generous supporter of local music organizations.