The New York Botanical Garden International Plant Science Center
Mertz Library
Science Home ... Mertz Library ... Archives and Manuscripts

Charles Finney Cox (1846-1912)

Library Collections & Resources

Finding Guide

Archives and Manuscripts

Books and Journals

NonBook Collection

Circulating Collection

Searchable Databases and Electronic Resources

Archives and Manuscript Collections

Personal Papers
20 linear feet (7 boxes)


Charles Finney Cox (1846-1912) was one of the incorporators of the NYBG as named in its 1891 charter granted by the New York State Legislature. Subscription to the guarantee fund required by this charter was successfully accomplished largely through his efforts. An active advocate for the establishment of the NYBG, he was appointed one of the original members of the Board of Managers, and served as Treasurer of the Board from 1899 through his death.

Born on Staten Island, he attended the College of the City of New York and received an A.B. degree from Oberlin College. He would later receive honorary degrees from both Oberlin and Lafayette Colleges. Having no scientific background, he had a keen interest in all areas of the natural sciences. He was an active member of many scientific associations and societies. He served as President of the New York Microscopical Society in 1888, the Council of the Scientific Alliance of New York from 1891-1906 and of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1908 and 1909. Greatly interested in microscopy and microbiology, he served as Chairman of the Charity Organization Society's Committee on the Prevention of Tuberculosis. He donated his collection of microscopes and books to the NYBG.

Cox was also greatly interested in the life and work of Charles Darwin. He formed one of the most complete collections of Darwiniana. Cox's brother Jacob Dolson Cox served as Secretary of War under the Grant Administration and later as Governor of Ohio.


The collection consists of books, pamphlets, photographs, research notes, correspondence, transcriptions, journal articles, clippings, sketches, microfilm, prints, commemorative memorabilia and a statue.


Series 1: Darwin Published Articles
Series 2: Cox Collection Guides
Series 3: Darwin Centennial
Series 4: Cox Correspondence
Series 5: Articles about Darwin
Series 6: Cox Publications
Series 7: Research Notes
Series 8: Miscellaneous Cox Personal Papers
Series 9: Portraits
Series 10: Diatom Photomicrographs
Series 11: Books
Series 12: Extra Illustrated Editions
Series 13: Artworks
Series 14: Darwin Correspondence
Series 15: Miscellaneous Uncollected Darwin Writings

Series 1     Darwin published articles
                   2.5 linear inches

These clippings are from a variety of journals and they are all published articles or letters by Darwin.

Series 2     Cox Collection guides
                   1 folder

Two published guides to the Cox Collection of Darwiniana.

Series 3     Darwin Centennial
                   3 linear inches

Commemorative materials from the Oxford University 1909 Darwin Centennial Celebration which was attended by Cox.

Series 4     Cox correspondence
                   1 linear inch

Small eclectic collection of personal correspondence from 1873 to 1909.

Series 5     Articles about Darwin
                   2 linear inches

This collection of clippings concerns commentary on Darwin and his works taken from a variety of journals.

Series 6     Cox publications
                   1 linear inch

Reprints of articles written by Cox as well as the 37 page manuscript of an essay entitled Moral Influence of Charles Darwin.

Series 7     Research notes
                   1 linear inch

This series is divided between notes on botanical subjects and notes on the writings of Darwin.

Series 8     Misc. Personal papers
                   1 folder

Included are a newspaper clipping about Cox's father (a Manhattan contractor), desiderata lists, a Darwiniana sale catalog and travel souvineers.

Series 9     Portraits
                  4 linear inches

Two albums of 19th century notables found with a note "Numerous plates have been removed for insertion in C. F. Cox's extra-illustrated copy of Darwin's Life and Letters."

Series 10     Diatom photomicrographs
                    10 linear inches

These leather bound notebooks were donated to the NYBG in July of 1979 by the New York Microscopical Society. The 8 volumes of over 1700 images are all labelled with scientific names, place of origin, date and dimensions. One of them is the work of Jacob Dolson Cox.

Series 11     Books
                    16 lin. ft.

This series, numbering 111 titles, is part of the Cox Memorial Collection which was purchased in 1912 by the Garden's Board of Managers from the Cox estate. The collection was housed in a case in the library reading room for a number of years and is now housed in the rare book room of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library. The series is concerned with the published works of Charles Darwin, his son Francis, and his grandfather Erasmus, as well as related commentary written by others. There are foreign language editions of many works as well multiple editions of the more important ones. One of the volumes is autographed by Charles Darwin as a presentation copy. One volume by Erasmus Darwin is extensively annotated in the margins. Most have been rebound by Cox.

Series 12     Extra Illustrated Editions
                    1.65 lin. ft.

This series, consisting of three titles, is also part of the Cox Memorial Collection purchased from the Cox estate in 1912. The first two titles, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin and More Letters of Charles Darwin, are both edited by Francis Darwin (son of Charles). Cox has tipped in numerous illustrations to these volumes himself. Many of the portrait photographs used are from the studios of Maull & Fox and have identifications and numbers written on the back of each. Additionally, the first title has 23 original letters inserted by Cox. For transcripts of these letters, see Series 14. The third title, Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World, was owned by Robert Taylor Pritchett and was studied by him for illustrating a new edition. It is filled with notes, letters, annotations, and original pencil sketches. This series is kept in the rare book room of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library along with Series 11.

Series 13     Artwork
                    Two framed prints and one bronze statue

This series consists of two Darwin portrait prints, one of which is autographed, and a bronze statue of Darwin seated.

Series 14     Darwin Correspondence
                    10 lin. in.

This series consists of original Darwin correspondence, including 23 letters which have been tipped into the Cox extra illustrated editions (Series 12). There are several major correspondents, including William Bernhard Tegetmeier (136 letters from Darwin to Tegetmeier concerning the breeding of fowl and pigeons with corresponding microfilm and copies of Tegetmeier's correspondence with Darwin xeroxed from the collections of Cambridge University); Professor J. S. Newberry (21 letters from various correspondents); and Albany Hancock (11 letters concerning Cirripedia). Also included is one letter from Erasmus Darwin to Sir Joseph Banks. Excepting those addresessed to Newberry, each original letter has a corresponding abstract, xerox copy and transcript.

Series 15     Miscellaneous Uncollected Darwin Writings
                    5 lin. in. Arranged numerically.

This unpaginated manuscript consists of 118 published articles and pamphlets written by Charles Darwin. They are unbound and pasted onto acid free sheets where size permits. Included is a numbered list of each item with pencilled numbers corresponding to the item number described in the printed catalog of The Charles Finney Cox Collection of Darwiniana written by J. H. Barnhart and published in the Journal of the New York Botanical Garden, Volume XIV, pp. 1-29, January 1913. Items 34, 57, 98 and 107 are not included in Barnhart's catalog. Two items (numbers 130 and 158) listed in the Barnhart catalog are not in the manuscript but are unmounted in envelopes accompanying the manuscript.



RBR Darwiniana Collection

Processed September 2000 by Stephen Sinon under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-23141-98 and a grant from the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation.

For more information and a complete description contact
Susan Fraser, NYBG Archivist
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8879

  Back to Top

NYBG Home  |  Science Home  |  About Us  |  Site Map  |  Participate  |  Contact Us
© 2003 The New York Botanical Garden  |  Photo Credits
Terms of Use  |  We welcome your feedback and suggestions.