Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Papers of William T.R. Fox and Annette Baker Fox

William T.R. Fox is best known for coining the term “superpower” as a concept in global politics. While he examined the world’s most potent nations, his wife took an opposite path. Annette Fox’s work on small and medium states – which previous scholars had ignored – generated entire new subfields of research and writing. 

 “William T.R. Fox and Annette Baker Fox were central figures in the development of international politics at Columba and nationally,” said Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University. “Because of the gender norms of the time, Annette did not gain the appointments that her achievements merited, but these were very significant in terms of major publications and mentoring students. Bill was the founding director of the Institute (now Saltzman Institute) of War and Peace Studies and a leader in developing the security studies field nationally.  The university and the field would have been poorer places without them.”

In 1944 William Fox published his seminal work, The Super-Powers: The United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union – Their Responsibility for Peace. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1950, and in 1951 university president Dwight D. Eisenhower named him the inaugural director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies – a post he held for 25 years. 

Annette Fox’s 1959 work, The Power of Small States, which used Sweden and Turkey as case studies, encouraged scholars to reconsider their views of world affairs. A later book, The Politics of Attraction, published in 1977, broadened her scope to such medium states as Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, and established her as a leading expert on Canadian-American relations.  

William and Annette collaborated together on several projects, most notably the 1967 book, NATO and the Range of American Choice, which combined their respective expertise to consider relations between small states and superpowers. William Fox died in 1988. Annette Baker Fox died in 2011.

“William and Annette Fox created scholarship that was on the cutting edge of their time and which continues to be widely cited today,” said Thai Jones, Herbert H. Lehman Curator for U.S. History at Columbia University’s RBML. “They were institution builders, pathbreaking theorists, and creative thinkers about some of the most pressing global questions of the mid-twentieth century. The materials they saved will provide researchers a window into their worldviews and professional concerns.” 

The Fox Papers collection is comprised of 29 linear feet of correspondence, unpublished drafts, memoranda, and clippings. These materials join other significant collections at the Columbia RBML related to political science, international relations, area studies, and global research. Among other collection highlights are the records of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the Institute of Pacific Relations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program. 

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.