Cox, Isaac Joslin, 1873-1956
- Existence: 1873-1956
Isaac Joslin Cox was born on November 19, 1873, in West Creek, Ocean County, New Jersey, son of Walter Scott Cox and Almeda Joslin Cox. Cox joined Northwestern's faculty as a member of the History Department in 1919, where he remained until his retirement in 1941.
In 1892, Cox entered Dartmouth College after graduating from Kimball Union Academy at Meriden, New Hampshire. He obtained the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1896 from Dartmouth. For the next six years he taught (and was vice principal) at the San Antonio Academy in Texas. Cox then resumed his formal education in 1902 with a Harrison Fellowship in American History at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1904 he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree. Cox did additional research at the Universities of Texas, Chicago, and Wisconsin, and spent his summers from 1898 to 1911 at the Archivo General in Mexico City.
After receiving his doctoral degree Cox joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati as an instructor in history. In 1906 he was promoted to Assistant Professor and in 1912 to Associate Professor. Cox came to Northwestern University in 1919 as Professor of History. In 1927 he was appointed chairman of the department, a position he held until his retirement in 1941 when he was named professor emeritus. Despite his retirement Cox continued to teach and write. He was a visiting professor at the University of Chile in 1943, at Louisiana State University, 1941-1946, and at Trinity University, San Antonio, in 1947-1948.
Cox received a number of honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was invited to give The Albert Shad Lectures on Diplomatic History at Johns Hopkins University in 1912. In 1918 he was given a Doheny Research Foundation which he spent in Mexico. The Newberry Library awarded him a Fellowship in 1946-1947.
Writing vied with teaching in Cox's career. His papers appeared in the American Historical Review and in several regional journals. He contributed articles and did editorial work for the Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and Dictionary of American Biography. Among his books were: The Journeys of La Salle and His Companions, two volumes (1905); The Early Exploration of Louisiana (1906); The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813 (1918), The Shaw Lectures; Nicaragua and the United States (1927); Desarrollo de la Democracia Norte Americana (1943), published by the University of Chile; and William Belcher Seeley, Founder and First Principal of the San Antonio Academy (1948). In 1941 the University of North Carolina published Cox's translation of Luis Galdames' A History of Chile with copious supplemental material.
Cox was a member and officer of several societies. He was President of the Ohio Valley Historical Association (1909-1910) and of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (1914-1915). He served on the Executive Council of the American Historical Association twice.
On July 11, 1899, Cox married Grace Elizabeth Yost. Their son, Walter Y., married and had a son, Richard. Walter died before his father. Their daughter married (Louise Cox Graham) and had a daughter who became Mrs. Wesley Perkins. Cox died in San Antonio on October 31, 1956.
Cox achieved considerable fame as a scholar in Latin American history. His books and articles, thoroughly documented and yet still readable, did much to make the history of South and Central American nations, especially Chile, known in the United States and other English-speaking countries. His writings on the southern borders of the U. S., the Mississippi Valley, and San Antonio, as well as on Aaron Burr and James P. Wilkinson, were widely known and respected.