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One of my hobbies is genealogical research. On Thanksgiving Day this past year I came into possession of 3 boxes of my maternal Grandfathers papers. One box of old photos. One box of writings, notes, newspaper clippings and other sundries. One box of letters. I’ve spent the last couple months reading, scanning and re-reading these. It has been fascinating. I’ve also written to various libraries and archives to gather more information referenced or hinted at in the material I already have. This process is on-going.

My grandfather died just before my 9th birthday so while I have fond memories of him they are those of a child whose old and frail grandpa bounced him on his knee.

Garfield Cox, Eliza & Andrew White 6-66

What I never had the chance to discuss or learn from him was the story of his life:

Garfield Vestal Cox was born May 4, 1893 in Fairmount, Indiana. He lived in a log cabin on his father Milton’s small 18-acre farm.
Milton Cox family in front of home 1898

Milton primarily tended fruit trees.

Milton Cox in pear orchard

The family was an old Quaker family that had been part of the great Quaker migration out of the south (North Carolina) prior to the Civil War. Milton’s parents were married outside of the Quaker Meeting and joined with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Garfield however, attended Fairmount Academy, a Quaker School, where he found his heritage and joined the Religious Society of Friends and became an ardent Quaker. He attended Earlham College, a Quaker school in Richmond, Indiana where he was a prize student.

Garfield Vestal Cox 1914

He was a gifted public speaker winning the Indiana state prize and Midwest states contests two years running. He transferred to Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, which then had the top public speaking department in the Midwest and perhaps the nation. He graduated Beloit class of 1917 along with my grandmother who he met there. They were married the following year.

Garfield and Jeannette Cox 8-30-17

He began his teaching career at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he was given the task of starting the schools department of public speaking. His time at Wabash was broken by service overseas. He was a conscientious objector and served with the newly formed (1917) American Friends Service Committee in relief and reconstruction work in France in lieu of military service.

Garfield with a mustache (France, 1919) - 2

He served in France just shy of a year from 1918-1919 before returning to Wabash. In 1920 he joined the faculty of what was then the School of Commerce and Administration at the University of Chicago.

He received his Ph.D. from the University in 1929 and was named Professor of Finance in 1930. When the Robert Law Professorship was established in 1936 he was named to it. In 1942 he became acting Dean of the School of Business and was formally named Dean in 1945. He resigned that position in 1952 after ten years and returned full time to teaching and research. He retired in 1958...

Garfield Cox, his life and works (part 1) - 2

... subsequently moving to Claremont, California where he lectured at the Claremont Graduate School and the Southern California School of Theology (now the Claremont School of Theology).

In addition to his duties at the University he was a founder in 1935 of South East National Bank in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. The area had been served by 12 banks prior to the bank failures of the early 30’s. There were no banks in the area when South East National was opened. He served as Chairman of the Board of the bank from its founding until his retirement in 1959.

He was a highly requested public speaker...

Garfield Cox, Rotary Club speech, Richmond IN 11-46

... and author contributing regularly to various business and finance journals. He was a speaker or moderator of  several radio broadcasts on economic issues throughout the thirties and forties. He published a Business Forecast yearly and a review and re-forecast every half year. His dissertation was an analysis of then available business forecast services. This resulted in two publications for which he received national attention and praise, Forecasting Business Conditions (1927) with Charles O. Hardy, and An Appraisal of American Business Forecasts (1930).

He was a founding member and Clerk of the 57th Street Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. He served with the American Friends Service Committee since World War I. He was Chairman of the committee’s Midwest branch from 1946 to 1959 and served on the national committees executive board for many years.

He was a member of various fraternities and professional organizations serving as President of the American Finance Association and the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association. He was also elected Spokesman of the Council of the Senate, the highest elective office at the University of Chicago. He was named a Trustee of Earlham College. He received honorary LLD’s from Beloit in 1946 and Earlham in 1963.

In March 1938 he contracted tuberculosis. He was literally bedridden for an entire year not sitting up in a chair again until March 1939.

Garfield   V   Cox

He spent another half year or so recovering in Trudeau Sanitarium in upstate New York. He experienced recurrences of TB and related respiratory problems the rest of his very full life.

During his time at the University of Chicago he was a colleague of and friends with people such as Paul H. Douglas, Lloyd W. Mints, Jacob Viner, Frank H. Knight, Oscar Lange, Henry Simons, Samuel H. Nerlove, Albert G. Hart, Henry Schultz, Theodore Schultz, Aaron Director, Milton Friedman, and Edward H. Levi amongst many others.

I write this brief biography as an introductory to a handful of future posts regarding some of his very interesting writings on free market economics, peace from the Quaker perspective, and perhaps a few of the letters he wrote home from France during World War I and its aftermath.

Oh yeah... and I get to brag just a little bit about how cool my grandpa was. Did I mention that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947?

Originally posted to Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 12:26 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The Nobel Peace Prize? (8+ / 0-)

      Holy crap. I'd say that deserves a little bragging.

      They're like the Inspector Clouseaus' of the blogging world.

      by Pager on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 12:28:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As shown at the link it was AFSC (12+ / 0-)

        that won the prize on behalf of all Quakers engaged in peace work. I am not aware that my grandfather ever made a big deal of it. My mother never mentioned it. But I feel no shame in claiming his share of the prize. Not only was he one of early members to serve in France after the organization was created but he was actively involved with them the rest of his life in a leadership role most of that time. I also came across a book on-line that talked about Henry Cadbury who was chair of the AFSC for many years.

        It says...

        The first of the Winona Lake Peace Conferences, arranged by the Five Years Meeting, was held in 1910 and was explicitly planned to consider Friends' peace principles. Henry Cadbury, who attended in 1912, was appointed in 1913 as the first Young Friends' delegate from his yearly meeting, Philadelphia (Arch Street) to the Friends National Peace Conference. He also attended the sixth annual conference at Winona Lake in 1915, remaining for a Young Friends gathering which followed.

        "In 1915," wrote Horace Mather Lippincott, "Henry Cadbury, Vincent Nicholson and Garfield Cox were foremost among a few young Friends who called a Peace Conference in Indiana. This led to a National Peace Committee on which Friends of all groups worked side by side." The groups referred to were the Five Years Meeting, the Friends General Conference and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Arch Street).

        Shortly before the United States entered the World War on April 6, 1917, this National Peace Committee of which Henry Cadbury was chairman, issued a "Message from the Society of Friends concerning the condition of affairs." While the peace testimony of Friends had been a deep concern of Henry Cadbury, prior to August 1914, it had been more of an intellectual and theoretical problem to be dealt with academically. By April 1917 it was an all-consuming issue. "I did not know I cared so much for peace," he wrote to a Friend early in the war.

        It was this National Peace Committee which called the first meeting to consider the establishment of an emergency Quaker organization, inviting five persons from each of its three constituent groups to attend. On April 30, 1917 thirteen Friends met together in the Young Friends Association building, known in recent years as The Whittier, at the corner of 15th and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia. Henry Cadbury served as chairman for the day. In May the name American Friends Service Committee, familiarly known as the AFSC, was given to this emergency organization and on June 11th Rufus M. Jones was appointed its chairman.

        In some of the letters I have he writes of "my friend Henry Cadbury" and in another written home from France to my grandmother he talks familiarly have coming across Vincent Nicholson at some location or other and being able to sit and talk with him for awhile.

        So, no, he didn't win the peace prize. But, yes, he did win the peace prize.




        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 01:10:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Andrew, this was a marvelous homage to (7+ / 0-)

          your granddad - who appears to have lived about enough for five people!

          What a story, and told so eloquently.

          Write on!

          "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
          Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

          by Angie in WA State on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 03:30:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (8+ / 0-)

            that is very kind. I had known a little of this before but reading through his papers the last couple months has been a real eye opener. I've left out various things in this like the fact that somehow in there he managed to be Dad to the world's greatest Momma (mine). Though I suspect in their traditional family structure, and given all of the things he involved himself in, that a lot of the parenting fell on my equally wonderful Grandmother. Particularly during the times he was sick with and recovering from TB. There are a couple letters she wrote to his sister when he was in the hospital '38-'39 that show just how hard it all was on her. Her husband is on death's door; it's the depression years; she's got 3 kids the oldest of whom is not yet 13; and she is doing everything she can to cope. Oh, and his father had some sort of accident that required hospitalization that she was paying for. Those must have been hard times for her. But she did it.

            But he positively makes me feel like a slacker even when at my most productive!



            "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

            by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 04:01:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  very cool. gonna have to shoot this to (6+ / 0-)

    my daughter. she is a beloit grad too.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 12:53:58 PM PST

    •  1946 was Beloit's centennial (6+ / 0-)

      my grandfather was given the LLD at the celebration. He was also invited to be one of the primary speakers. Beloit is supposed to be sending me a copy of the speech (I have page 6 of his draft only) along with a lot of other material they have on him, including his peace speech for the 1916 Midwest oratory contest. I have a copy of 2 of his other peace speeches from that period. One of his two winning speeches while at Earlham and one he wrote around 1916 that he apparently gave to his future brother-in-law to give at his high school commencement.

      My family is full of Beloit alums. My grandfather and grandmother obviously but also my mother, both my sisters, my nephew and various cousins and other assorted relatives. It is highly likely your daughter attended with one of my family members (it's hard to have attended Beloit and NOT have been a classmate of a family member!)



      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 01:00:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very nice, Andrew. (6+ / 0-)

    I've been doing a bit of reading on my Mother's heritage. After they landed in the 1600's, they spread out a bit and many of them ended up in Washington Co. (NY), from whence they moved over here to Warren Co.

    Odd thing. I was born in PA, grew up in NC, and moved to this town in 1987 with my wife to raise our kids. Shortly afterward, I learned that my great, great, great, great Grandfather was buried about one quarter of a mile from where I now live. I had no idea. Kind of weird, eh?

    Turns out I'm related to about half the town. And some of them aren't all too pleased to learn that when I see fit to tell them!

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 01:00:09 PM PST

  •  Awesome. (5+ / 0-)

    I recently became a genealogical nut.  I posted some recently acquired pictures here.

  •  i look forward to your future diaries too (5+ / 0-)

    i will subscribe to you now so i can find them in dkos 4.  

    this is a lovely tribute.  it will be interesting to learn more about a quaker's free market thinking . . .

    •  He was very much a free market economist (6+ / 0-)

      and some of the names (not all) I linked above are the progenitors of the infamous Chicago School of Economics.

      I have a little correspondence between him and Milton Friedman who studied at Chicago in the 30's and came there to teach in 1946. The last of which are a pair of letters in which my grandfather sent him a speech he had given (unfortunately now lost). In the accompanying letter he says

      I am quite aware that to you it is all old stuff & that some of it you would not agree with. But I enclose a copy to let you know I am alive and kicking.

      Friedman responds:

      I did find it interesting, though as you say, there is some of it that I do not agree with. But this is a question of a difference between members of the same family, not of a family feud.

      In several of his writings my grandfather rails against socialism and government interference in business but at the same time, unlike today's free marketers, he says that there is a place for government; that it is governments legitimate role to set the rules and regulations of the market place; that government's role is to affect the markets through its taxation and spending; and to step in when there are things for the common good that are not taken care of by the market because they are not profitable enough. He even wrote one piece in the '50's advocating "stiff taxation" to stave off inflation. And more.

      His idea of a free market makes a lot more sense to me then this twaddle they are peddling these days.

      I'll be posting a diary tomorrow "Is Socialism the Wave of the Future?" based on a speech he gave in 1946 that will show a lot of his views in what a free market looks like.



      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 04:12:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're a Cox too? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, Andrew C White, ladybug53

    Dr. Aras Bishop Cox.pdf

    I won't claim a relationship, but a kinship, maybe.


    Very well done.

    "Success was individual achievement; failure was a social problem." Michael Lewis in The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    by hoolia on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 06:01:42 PM PST

    •  Cox is one of the most common (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbird, hoolia, ladybug53, marykk

      names in America. But the Quaker Cox's that came through North Carolina appear to make up most of them. We could definitely be related. It is what the C stands for.

      A quick google search on the name Aras Bishop Cox came up with a Dr that published a book called Footprints on the Sands of Time in 1900 and appears to have lived in the Virginia/North Carolina area. This alone would seem like a good chance for a connection. Is this who you are referring to in your comment?

      Although another web genealogy makes it look like maybe this is a different family of Coxes originally from Ireland perhaps?



      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 06:14:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, he's my ancestor. He (0+ / 0-)

        founded not a dynasty but a big, big family in the Nebraska sandhills.

        Here's the link. Way down in the middle of the page, under Cox, Albert Lee, there is Beal, J.L. That's me.

        Life was rough for them. In the drought years his descendants all moved to the west coast and left my mother behind with her new husband. She was 17.

        Hmmm. Irish. I'm doubting that. There was nothing Irish in our upbringing. There would have been a hint. We were bland, but Democrats mostly, and so I'm guessing a blend.

        "Success was individual achievement; failure was a social problem." Michael Lewis in The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

        by hoolia on Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 01:21:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is a great pleasure (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, Andrew C White, ybruti, marykk

    to meet your grandfather.  He is certainly an impressive and remarkable person.

  •  Great diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, Andrew C White

    I look forward to learning more about your family.

  •  all our grampies are cool. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White, marykk

    some are historic. some things about 1947 were cooler than others. i was laid that year. (i'm a bird, ya galoot.)

    heck. i can't wait to read more. i find strange things in my searches. genealogy has had a profound effect on my feelings for the state of human beings, the history of the country i live in, the world.

    i even listen to opera now, but only to please my neighbor in the next cage who doesn't have a CD player. Joan Sutherland knocks me out.

    did you know you were going to go all the places you've gone in your searches, when you started? me, neither. in fact, i've gone in a national circle, ending up back where those turkey-chaser colonists started.

    glad you had some really handsome visual rememberances to pass on. any/every library will accept donations for researchers.

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [ know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 12:08:27 AM PST

    •  Genealogocial research is (0+ / 0-)

      a fascinating trip indeed. You learn a lot about what I call "small history." Not the Kings, Queens, Presidents and Generals of the usual history books but who built the first mill in a particular small town in some county somewhere. Who was the first Doctor and who laid out the road from that town to the next. Which "town fathers" were assigned to provide for the school and who was elected to be the local militia captain.

      Along the way you learn that General Washington wasn't the only one to winter at Valley Forge. There were a bunch of privates there too. Some of them massachusetts farm boys like my great-great-great-great-grandfather and his various brothers and cousins.



      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 09:02:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fairmont history (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White

    At or about the same time your Grandfather went to France with the Quakers my grandfather also a Quaker from Fairmont,IN went and joined the Army.
    My Grandfather was James "Ben" Riley. I would almost say they possibly knew of each other. Fairmont is not that big of town and my family's history there is quite strong. Be it the Riley's or Easte's.
    Thank you for sharing so much.

    •  Oh my! Isn't that interesting (0+ / 0-)

      Fairmount isn't now and wasn't then all that big. They probably did know each other. Did your grandfather attend Fairmount Academy? I have a photo taken late 50's, early 60's of a high school class reunion. It lists names of the classmates though it is only for that one year. I'll check for the name this evening when I get home and see if his name is listed among the classmates.

      James Dean being the "famous son" I have a letter from my grandfather to his sister at the time of Dean's death that showed Dean as in-law of cousins in-laws or something like that. :)



      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 08:34:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •   Fairmount Academy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew C White

        Sorry for the delay in replying. I have not been well..
        My grandmother did attend Fairmount Academy in 1917 , as far as my grand father attending my father has no idea if he ever did.I'm not sure if my Grandfather ever went to any class reunions there. I know as a child in the 60's we had family reunions in fairmount for the Eastes's. I do know that one of my fathers cousins did date James Dean when they were in school. You know one of those claim's to fame the family says I do know that just about everyone in our family sent flowers and even took food up when James Dean died to the meeting house in Fairmount.


        •  claim's to fame the family says happened. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Andrew C White

          Could never have happened seeing James Dean was 4 when they moved to California...Guess I'll have to break the news to my father

          •  That's funny (0+ / 0-)

            But that IS how family stories go. The letter I have from my grandfather to his sister after the funeral says that after Dean's mother died he went to live with the family of one of my grandfathers (2nd or 3rd) cousins. The relation there was through one of the cousins in-laws so not a direct relation to my family but apparently cousins were pall bearers.

            Sounds like our families probably knew each other given how small Fairmount was.


            p.s. hope you are feeling better

            "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

            by Andrew C White on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 06:22:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I didn't get to read this in time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White, mayim

    To tip and recommend. Fascinating read. You certainly inherited his brains, activism and quest for peace.

    Because you can't spell Reinse Priebus without RNC PR BS.

    by LuLu on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 08:56:42 AM PST

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