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Archives & Special Collections: President Dixon Ryan Fox/ WWII


Dixon Ryan Fox arrived at Union College in 1934 from Columbia University and was a well-known scholar of American History who taught at Columbia University and published many books and articles. He continued to write and publish during his eleven-year tenure at Union, which saw the College and Schenectady through the Depression era and World War II.

As the president of Union, Fox was highly respected by the College and the Schenectady community.  He often tried to involve the College in the city's affairs, which included organizing a weekly radio broadcast with a local station that gave Union professors a forum to speak to the public about a wide range of academic topics.

Fox was very good as well for Union College and had many accomplishments. During World War II, he organized the Navy V-12 program to keep the College afloat during turbulent war time.  He also partnered with General Electric engineers to promote relations between the Corporation and the College. It was during a visit to Schenectady's General Electric plant on January 30, 1945 that Fox suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 57.

For those interested in the presidency of Dr. Fox, Special Collections holds his correspondences, papers, books, and articles. Other materials include newspaper clippings about President Fox's inauguration, presidency, and death.  Research topics on this important figure in Union history could include the role of the College during WWII or how Fox managed the college during the Depression and WWII compared to President Richmond's management during WWI.

Primary Sources

Fox, Dixon Ryan. "General Correspondences, Engagements, and Address Books." Coll #49, MSS UR F791l, Location: Special Collections.

Fox, Dixon Ryan. "Materials Pertaining to Inauguration, Death, Newspaper Clippings, etc." Coll# 306, Location: Special Collections.

Fox, Dixon Ryan. "Papers" Coll #53, Mss UR F791p1, Location: Special Collection; Coll #50, Mss UR F791p2, Location: Special Collections; Coll #52, Mss URF791p3, Location: Special Collections.

Fox, Dixon Ryan. Union College: An Unfinished HistorySchenectady, NY: Graduate Council, Union College, 1945. (LD 5481. U72F580) Located in Reference, the Stacks, and at [q]UR F791u (Special Collections).

"Fox, Dixon Ryan, Faculty (President) 1934-45" Vertical File (Special Collections).

"Fox, Dixon Ryan - misc. Letters on Union College" Vertical File, 2 folders (Special Collections).

Fox, Dixon Ryan. Yankees and Yorkers. New York: University Press, 1940. UR F791y (Special Collections).

Russell, John Dale. Higher Education Under War ConditionsChicago: University of Chicago, 1940.1943. (378.73 R964h) Located in the Stacks.

Secondary Sources

Birnbaum, Robert. How Academic Leadership Works: Understanding Success and Failure in the College PresidencySan Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.

Kandel, Isaac Leon. The Impact of the War upon American EducationChapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1948. Located in the Stacks.

Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Search the catalog for an electronic resource, also located in the Stacks.

Levine, David O. The American College and the Culture of Aspiration, 1915-1940Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986. 

Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. 

Stoke, Harold Walter.  The American College PresidentNew York: Harper, 1959.