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The Robert S. Cox Special Collections Fund will allow the Research Center to channel additional resources into projects and collections that advance both the mission of the research center and Cox’s legacy. The university’s goal is to create a one-million-dollar endowment, ensuring SCUA can continue to innovate and champion the histories of those activists and groundbreakers whose stories have been overlooked or marginalized.
Serving as Head of the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) from 2004 until the time of his death in May 2020, Rob Cox’s vision for the department focused on building collections centered around the the papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, one of the department’s most distinguished collections. Guided by Du Bois’s ability to see the interconnections that underlie social change movements, and inspired by Du Bois’s long life and evolving philosophy represented in the collection, Cox put into practice two approaches to collecting: acknowledging and documenting the overlap of social change movements and collecting “whole lives, whole communities.”
The department, renamed the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center in October 2021, is home to distinguished manuscript collections documenting the Horace Mann Bond Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, Ken Feinberg, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Mark McCormack the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. The Robert S. Cox Research Center inspires discovery through the collection and curation of cultural heritage materials for the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond, contributing to the vital conversation between past and future. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity and positive social change, the Robert S. Cox Research Center acts through its collections, services, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry; the production, exchange and preservation of knowledge; and joy in learning.