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Josef William Fox Papers

Record Series: 

Josef William Fox (1914 -1980). Papers, 1947-1981.

Archives Record Series 14/06/12.  1.67 linear feet.


Josef William Fox was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1914. He obtained his B. A. degree in 1937 from Pennsylvania State University, and his M .A. in 1938 from Louisiana State University. He was awarded the Ph. D. degree in English from the University of Chicago in 1953, and did post-doctoral study at Harvard University.

During World War II, Fox served in both the Army and the Navy. He was married to Priscilla Kakis in New York City in 1944.

Fox received the "Favorite Teacher" award several times during his career at UNI, a reflection of his dedication to his students and their respect for him. He retired from the Department of Philosophy and Religion in December 1979, and moved to Vermont with his wife. He died of a heart attack August 7, 1980, at his Peacham, Vermont, home.

He was survived by his wife; two brothers, Paul, in California, and Carl, in Pennsylvania; and a sister, Kathryn Bemesderfer, in Ohio.

Memorial services were held at 4 P.M. Wednesday, August 27, 1980, in the Education Center. Speaking at the ceremony were Thomas Thompson, professor of philosophy and religion, H. W. Reninger, former head of the Department of English, and J. W. Maucker, former UNI president, all long-time friends of Fox.

Josef Fox

Dr. Josef Fox


Portions of these papers relating to the collection of essays, A Faith in Reason, were acquired from Professor Scott Cawelti after the book was published. The collection of photocopied Obiter Scripta columns, assembled for the production of the book, is probably very close to being complete. Professor Fox used these columns to express frequently controversial views on wide variety of both college and public issues.

Professor Evelyn Wood gave the Humanities lecture notes to Rod Library Special Collections in June 2001. Professor Fox had given those notes to her when he retired.

The correspondence is a rich source of information about significant issues relating to the teaching of Humanities at UNI from 1950 through 1970. Professor Fox exchanged lengthy correspondence with many administrators and colleagues including J. W. Maucker, William Lang, H. W. Reninger, and Thomas Thompson. Frequently both sides of the correspondence are present.

Container Inventory

Box 1

Biographical information; memorial service and memorial plans, including addresses by J. W. Maucker, H. W. Reninger, and Thomas Thompson; Professor Fox's Ph. D. dissertation, Probability in the Plays of Eugene O'Neill, University of Chicago, 1953; correspondence between Professor Fox and UNI administrators and colleagues concerning Humanities and other campus issues; administrative evaluation of Professor Fox's performance; John Stuart tenure decision, 1956; Marjorie Campbell grievance, 1961; faculty committee work; plans for showing tapes of Fox Humanities lectures; plans for an essay contest honoring Professor Fox.

Box 2

Addresses and essays

  • Academic tenure
  • Are we obligated to future others?
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Business ethics
  • Civil disobedience
  • Clapp essay and Fox response
  • Defense of the university
  • Dr. Zhivago
  • Education--troubles, troubles, troubles
  • Faculty activity survey
  • Focus on the future, #1-24
  • Four articles of a simple faith
  • Freedom is
  • Future of the individual
  • General Education in the university curriculum
  • Hallberg letter on campus unrest
  • Hegel
  • In memoriam--Stanley G. Wood
  • Non-theistic stance
  • Obiter Scripta--several typescripts
  • Observations on the mind
  • Of moral sanctions
  • Phi Delta Kappa address on unions
  • Philosophy and Religion Department memo
  • Police Science Institute address on law and authority
  • Politics of doom
  • Present predicament of mankind
  • Present predicament of mankind--second report
  • Professional ethics and faculty responsibility
  • Rebuttal to criticism of Hoffmans dismissal
  • Role of general education in the college curriculum
  • Role of the university with regard to the present predicament of mankind
  • Science and patriotism
  • Secularization of politics
  • Sidney Hook and academic freedom
  • So God is dead--now what?
  • These troubled times
  • Time of troubles
  • Two dreams
  • Unions for professionals
  • University-community conflicts
  • Wartburg conference--human values
  • What commences at commencement?
  • Who's in command?

Box 3

Material relating to the production of A Faith in Reason, including some correspondence with J. W. Maucker and copies of Obiter Scripta columns.

Box 4

Photocopies of Obiter Scripta columns; Humanities lecture notes.

Material re-processed and finding aid prepared by Gerald L. Peterson in June 2001.

Last modified: April 2017 (dh). Linear feet updated on September 14, 2017.

Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives 
University of Northern Iowa 
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675 
Telephone: (319)-273-7295
Fax: (319)-273-2913 


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