Summary Information
Title: James R. Cox Papers
Collection Number: AIS.1969.05
Creator: Cox, James R., 1886-1951

Collection Dates: 1904-1950
Extent: 4.38 linear feet

Language: English

James R. Cox, a son of a Pittsburgh millworker, was a Pittsburgh Catholic priest and a political and social activist. The collection contains Father Cox's diary (1904), scrapbooks of newspaper clippings (1923-1951), 426 photographs, and 28 audio cassettes of radio broadcasts, sermons, and hymns (1944-50). Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:


Finding aid prepared by Archives Service Center Staff. Revisions occurred to the finding aid as a part of the encoding process on September 29, 1999 and May 20, 2004.
Revision Description:
July 1, 2006:
Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002


James R. Cox was born in 1886. He was a Pittsburgh Catholic priest, political and social activist, and the son of a millworker. During the Depression he organized a food-relief program and helped the homeless and unemployed find shelter. In January 1932 Cox led a march of 15,000-20,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians to Washington, D.C. He hoped that a demonstration of the unemployed in Washington would stir Congress to start a public works program. This did not happen at the time, but the march sparked the formation of the Jobless Party in Pittsburgh. The Jobless Party supported government public works and labor unions, and spread to other major cities. James Cox became the Jobless Party's first presidential candidate but in September 1932 Cox pulled out of the election giving his support to the Democratic ticket and Franklin Roosevelt. This effectively led to the demise of the Jobless Party.

After the presidential election of 1932 Cox continued his relief work and was a member of the Pennsylvania Commission for the Unemployed. In the mid-thirties Roosevelt appointed him to the state recovery board of the National Recovery Administration. James Cox became known as Pittsburgh's "Pastor of the Poor."

For information on Cox's presidential campaign see Andrew I. Krupnick's "Father Cox's Campaign for the Presidency of the United States [in 1932; a diary]." (ais MS 5)

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The James R. Cox Papers include a diary (1904), scrapbooks of newspaper clippings (1923-1951), 426 photographs, and 28 audiocassettes of radio broadcasts, sermons, and hymns (1944-50).

Subject Terms

  • Depressions -- 1929 -- United States
  • Priests -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Unemployed -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Unemployed -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Jobless Party (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Personal Names
  • Cox, James R., 1886-1951

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Economic conditions
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1929-1933

  • Labor
  • Personal papers
  • Social action

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Mrs. Earl J. Cox, sister-in-law of Father James Cox, February 21, 1969.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions from this collection are available at

Preferred Citation:

James R. Cox Papers, 1923-1950, AIS.1969.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Archives Service Center Staff in 1969.

Processing Information:

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Kate Colligan on September 29, 1999 and Dan Horvath on May 20, 2004. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1403450


Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Collection Inventory

Series I. Diary and Manuscripts, 1904-1936

Scope and Content Notes:

Series I contains a diary, transcript of an interview, manuscript, and certificates.

Box 1
Folder 1 Diary, 1904
Folder 2 Interview with Father Cox, 1936
Folder 3 The Holy Land Pictures - Manuscript to accompany travel film, no date
Folder 4 Certificates

Series II. Newspaper Clipping Scrapbooks, 1923-1973

Scope and Content Notes:

Series II includes photocopies of clippings pertaining to Father Cox, the Jobless Party, Marches, Pilgrimages, and other events. Also included are articles written about Father Cox and his various causes.

Folder 5 1923-1926
Folder 6 October 7, 1924-December 31, 1925
Folder 7 1927-1936

Box 2
Folder 1 1951-1973
Folder 2 The Odyssey of Pittsburgh's Father Cox, 1973
Folder 3 Father Cox's Own Story of Jobless March to Capital, c. 1920's
Folder 4 Original Scrapbooks

Series III. St. Patrick's Church, 1925-1934

Scope and Content Notes:

Series III includes a journal and a bulletin from St. Patrick's Church, Pittsburgh, PA.

Folder 5 Clothes Room Journal, 1932-1934
Folder 6 Bulletin, 1925-1926

Series IV. Photographs 1923-1950

Scope and Content Notes:

Series IV consists of 426 photographs of Father Cox, his family, groups of people, pilgrimages, and other scenes. They are arranged by subject.

Box 3
Folder 1 Father Cox
Folder 2 Cox Family
Folder 3 Group Photos
Folder 4 John Flaherty
Folder 5 Great Depression
Folder 6 Funeral Procession (not Father Cox's)
Folder 7-8 Jobless Party
Folder 9 Old St. Patrick's
Folder 10 Passion Play
Folder 11 Pilgrimages
Folder 12 Sports
Folder 13 Miscellaneous Group Photos
Folder 14 Negatives

Series V. Oversized Items

Scope and Content Notes:

Series V consists of oversized items including large photographic prints, newspaper clippings, pastel drawings, and sketches of Father Cox, church services, baseball teams, and various groups of people.

Map-case 7-1 Oversized Items

Series VI. Audiocassettes, 1944-1950

Scope and Content Notes:

Series VI consists of 28 audiocassettes, copied from phonodiscs, of radio broadcasts, sermons, and hymns given by Father Cox. Some of the cassettes do not have titles and are listed only by date.

Cassette 1-2 no date
Cassette 3 October 16, 1944
Cassette 4 October 16, 1944; October 23, 1944
Cassette 5 October 23, 1944
Cassette 6 Sermon for November 21, November 15, 1944
Cassette 7 December 11, 1944
Cassette 8 January 8, 1945
Cassette 9 "Do Not Play on Air", no date
Cassette 10 June 13, 1950
Cassette 11-13 no date
Cassette 14 May 7, 1945
Cassette 15 July 17, 1945
Cassette 16 State Guard, June 11, 1945
Cassette 16 Gossiptown, June 11, 1945
Cassette 17 Sermon for July 12 and Sermon for July 14, no date
Cassette 18 Why Pilgrimages and Friends on Pilgrimages, no date
Cassette 19 Announcements, no date
Cassette 20-21 January 23, 1947
Cassette 22 no date
Cassette 23 Indiantown Gap, May 28, 1945
Cassette 24 no date
Cassette 25 August 5, 1948
Cassette 25 Interviewing Hildegarde, no date
Cassette 26 August 5, 1948; July 15, 1948
Cassette 27 July 15, 1948
Cassette 28 25th Anniversary Broadcast, WJAS, November 22, 1950