Clarice Winn Davis, 74, a retired official of the D.C. Public Library, died of cancer Tuesday at Doctors Hospital in Washington.

Mrs. Davis, the wife to Dr. Arthur P. Davis, a professor of English at Howard University, had lived in Washington since 1944. She worked briefly in the Howard Library and in the Prince George's County public library system before joining the D.C. Public Library in 1950.

In the D.C. system, she was an adult adviser, the chief of the literature division, and at that time of her retirement in 1970, assistant coordinator for adult service.

Mrs. Davis was born in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up there and in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Columbia University and then took a course from the New York Public Library. Having earned a certificate in library work, she worked for the New York Public Library from 1926 to 1929.

In that year, she moved to Richmond. She and Dr. Davis lived there until he was appointed to the Howard faculty in 1944.

In 1932, Mrs. Davis returned to New York for a year to help start an adult education program at the Harlem branch of the New York Public Library. In 1937, she earned a bachelor's degree at Virginia Union University, where she also was a reference library. In 1950, she earned a master of science degree in library science from Catholic University.

Mrs. Davis was a member of the D.C. and American library associations. She also was a member of the Bridge Builders and the Faculty Wives of Howard University.

In addition to her husband, of the home in Washington, survivors include a son, Arthur P. Jr., also of Washington, and a granddaughter.