After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Charles Davidson earned a B.S. from Ohio State University in 1947 and a J.D. from Ohio State University Law School in 1949. In 1950, he joined the University of Iowa School of Law faculty, where his work focused on property law.
In 1952, he helped found the Iowa Law School Foundation. From 1950 to 1954, Professor Davidson was the faculty advisor to the Iowa Law Review. He served as a professor at Iowa for his entire teaching career, taking emeritus status in 1989. He was an active community member in Iowa City until his death in 2011.