William R. Cox papers , 1914-1980

Overview of the Collection

Cox, William R. (William Robert), 1901-1988
William R. Cox papers
1914-1980 (inclusive)
19 linear feet, (39 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 032
William Cox (1901-1988) was a prolific writer for the pulp fiction magazine industry during the 1930s, 1940s and into the early 1950s. He later wrote for the television industry and continued to publish in a wide variety of genres including sports, Westerns, and juvenile fiction. This Collection consists of three main series: correspondence with business associates and other contemporary writers (Red Barber, Ray Bradbury, John Ford, David Frost, Lillian Hellman, Elmore Leonard and Allen Rivkin), manuscripts of his published works and screenplays, and tear sheets from the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Author William Robert Cox was born on April 14, 1901 in Peapack, New Jersey. He was the eldest son of William and Marion Grace (Wenz) Cox. He grew up working for his father delivering ice and coal in Jersey City and Newark. In high school he turned to athletics and boxed, and played baseball, tennis and basketball. Later, he played football in New Jersey and Pennsylvania leagues, earning five dollars per game. According to a 1988 article in the Los Angeles Times, he wrote 80 novels, 1,000 short stories, 100 television scripts and screenplays.

His writing career began with feature writing for Sunday Call, a newspaper in Newark. Later, at age 21, he edited La Tribuna, a weekly Italian-American paper. Cox's first fiction story (on football) was published in 1934, in American Boy. He went on to write stories for detective, Western and sport pulp magazines, such as: Argosy, Blue Book, Dime Sports, Sports Novels, Detective Tales, Black Mask, and Dime Western. He wrote under at least seven pseudonyms: Willard d'Arcy, Mike Frederic, John Parkhill, Joel Reeve, Wayne Robbins, Roger G. Spellman and Jonas Ward. Sometime during the 1930s he moved to Florida and wrote for the pulp magazine industry for at least 14 years.

When these magazines slumped in the late 1940s, Mr. Cox took up writing television plays and some screenplays, including two motion picture films produced by Universal Studios in the 1950s: "The Veils of Baghdad" and "Tanganyika." In 1948 he moved to Sherman Oaks, California, in the San Fernando Valley to be closer to Hollywood. Mr. Cox lived there until his death. He wrote television scripts for shows such as "G.E. Theater," "Bonanza," "Outer Limits," "The Virginian" and many others. Mr. Cox began writing novels in 1954, most of which were Western fiction and juvenile sports fiction.

Mr. Cox was a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Western Writers of America (past committeeman, director, vice-president; and president, 1965-1966, 1971-1972). According to his widow, Casey Collins Cox, he was writing his 81st novel, Cemetery Jones and the Tombstone Wars on the day of his death, Sunday, August 7, 1988. He was 87. He was survived by his wife, Casey, and his stepson, Douglas Campbell. He was the "beloved husband of Midge, Lamar, Lee, Pat and Casey," according to an article in the Armchair Detective (Winter, 1989).

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Friday, August 12,1988; New York Times, Friday, August 12, 1988; Armchair Detective, winter 1989, Vol. 22, No. 1; and Gale Literary Data Bases: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The William R. Cox Papers largely consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and pulp magazine tear sheets, and photographs. This inventory represents the incorporation of nine addenda previously cataloged as collection Ax 496, plus new material received in 1980.

The correspondence, arranged alphabetically, is largely of a business nature. One box (Box 5) is devoted to Cox's dealing with his agent, the Lenniger Literary Agency. Business with publishers, including Bantam Books, Dodd, Mead and Co., Doubleday, Fiction House, and Harper and Row, can also be found. Much of the other correspondence is with members of the Western Writers of America. Many writers, whose papers are also in Special Collections, corresponded with Mr. Cox. These include: Hal Evarts, Brian Garfield, William Gault, Noel Loomis, Leo Margulies, and Malcolm Reiss (Paul Reynolds, Inc.).

The manuscripts are of juvenile sports fiction, Western fiction, and crime stories. Those of books and screenplays (mostly for television) appear together in one alphabetical listing by title (Boxes 9-27). The various drafts and states of each manuscript have been denoted. The story length manuscripts, according to previous sorting, are arranged two ways. One box (Box 28) contains an alphabetical by title arrangement, while Box 29 has the stories arranged by subject. All of the manuscripts are typed. Also included in the manuscript series are outlines of sports stories (29/7) and one box of notebooks. The notebooks are arranged chronologically, 1914-1946, and contain notes from Mr. Cox's high school days as well as the period he wrote for pulp magazines.

The pulp magazine tear sheets in the collection from the 1930s and 1940s are largely unorganized within a subject breakdown. The mystery/crime and Western stories list the title and where published. The sports stories are first divided by type of sport (baseball, basketball, boxing, etc.) and then are grouped by magazine title. There are very few whole issues of magazines in the collection.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Buchanan, Tom (Fictitious character : Ward)
  • Detective and mystery stories, American--Authorship
  • Publishers and publishing--Correspondence
  • Pulp literature--Authorship
  • Sports stories--Juvenile fiction--Authorship
  • Television authorship
  • Western stories--Authorship

Personal Names

  • Cox, William R. (William Robert), 1901-1988
  • Garfield, Brian, 1939-
  • Gault, William Campbell
  • Loomis, Noel M., 1905-1969

Form or Genre Terms

  • Juvenile literature
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Mystery fiction
  • Photographs
  • Tear sheets
  • Television scripts
  • Western stories