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Christopher Cox papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 264
Scope and Contents

The Christopher Cox Papers consists of the writings, correspondence files, and personal papers of the writer, director, and producer Christopher Cox, and of his partner, the art historian William Olander. A typed list titled "File Cabinets (Drawers Needed)," now in the Series III folder Miscellaneous notes (Box 23, Folder 402) suggests Cox's home office filing arrangement and takes into account a large part of the material now present in the collection: Cox's correspondence files; personal and family papers spanning his lifetime; his writings and theatrical work; and documentation of the positions he held with Virgil Thomson and the Joseph Jefferson Theatre Company. The list also reveals that what is not present in the collection are the accomplishments for which he is most noted: there are no files for his book A Key West Companion (1983); there only two examples of his published articles; and there is little evidence of his career as a photographer beyond a folder of photo orders (Box 10, Folder 205) and the credited images that appear in publications of authors such as Edmund White. However, with its highly descriptive homoerotic writings and visual material, the collection is a rich primary source for chronicling gay culture, lifestyles, and literature in New York during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as Off Off-Broadway theatre in the 1970s.

Perhaps as a holdover from his time as a secretary to Virgil Thomson, Cox kept most of his papers neatly filed in manila folders, many with typed paper labels. This is particularly true for the pre-1983 material; for years afterward, most of the papers and correspondence were not in any discernable order, and were not received in file folders. For the most part, Cox's file titles have been retained, though the current series arrangement was instituted when the collection was processed in 2007.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 47 (audiocassettes): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 47 (computer disk): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Christopher Cox Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Nancy Cox, 1993 and 1994.


The collection is organized into eight series: Series I. Correspondence (1963-1990, undated); Series II. Creative Work (1969-1989, undated); Series III. Personal Papers (1935-1990, undated); Series IV. Virgil Thomson Files (1947-1984, undated); Series V. Joseph Jefferson Theatre Company Files (1965-1978, undated); Series VI. Subject Files (1927-1989, undated); Series VII. Writings of Others (circa 1949-1987, undated); and Series VIII. William Olander Papers (1968-1989, undated).

1927 - 1990
Majority of material found within 1966 - 1990
20.73 Linear Feet (47 boxes)
Related Names
Cox, Christopher, 1949-1990
Olander, William
Language of Materials