Norman Fox (1919-2016)

NOrman fox: Early life

Norman Fox was born in Brooklyn in 1919. He attended City College until he was drafted to serve his country in WW II, where he served in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Japan. After the war, Norman met Eva Rudin whom he later married in 1947. The couple moved to Saratoga Springs to begin their life together.

normanw-ith-wife

(Above) Norman Fox with his wife Eva

norman-as-child

(Above) Family portrait showing Norman as a child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norman M. Fox was a lover of rare books and illustrations. In 1990, when his good friend Hannah Adler passed away, Norman took charge of her extensive rare book and illustrations collection and initiated a yearly lecture to discuss 19th-century literature and art.

the norman fox and hannah adler lecture series

The lecture series was originally named the Adler lecture series. It has since been renamed the Fox-Adler lecture series and has since featured prominent scholars, authors, illustrators, and journalists since 1991. The annual tradition continues to the present day. In 2005, with the rest of the Fox family, Norman gave what is now known as the Fox Collection to Skidmore College along with a generous gift to endow the lecture series in perpetuity.

norman fox: career highlights

Norman Fox was also an avid and successful businessman. With Charles Adler, Hannah Adler’s husband, Norman founded Spa Records in 1952. Spa Records won a 1953 Paris Gold Medal for a recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony.

The late David Porter, former President of Skidmore College and close friendy, notes that Spa Records “at the very dawn of the LP era produced a remarkable list of recordings – more than 75 discs -including an astonishing array of composers and performers, many in premiere performances: George Antheil playing his own piano works; Alfred Brendel, one of the century’s greatest pianists, performing works by Strauss, Busoni, and Beethoven at the very start of his career; the first recording ever made of Beethoven’s piano version of his violin concerto; pioneering recordings of Schoenberg, Cowell, and Ives.”

(Above) David Porter and Norman Fox, respectively

Norman Fox also opened the Saratoga Appliance Shop and then N. Fox Jewelers.

(Above) n.Fox Jewelers in downtown Saratoga Springs

In 1961, Norman Fox became Founding President of the Saratoga Merchants Association, currently known as the Downtown Business Association. He fought construction of the arterial highway that was going to bypass the downtown business district and upon selling his store to his son, Harvey, in 1977, served as Chair of the Special Assessment District for nineteen years. His twelve-year service as Vice-Chair of the City Planning Board and as President of the Historical Society was instrumental in the revitalization of Saratoga Springs. For all his efforts to enhance the city he loved, Norman received many honors—the Kathryn H. Starbuck Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), the Rotary Club Community Service Award (2004), and the Saratoga Springs Preservation Society Award (2005).

The Fox Collection became an invaluable resource for Skidmore faculty and students.  Under the guidance of Catherine Golden, Professor of English, and Wendy Anthony, Special Collections Curator, students have created countless library exhibitions and catalogs based on this rich collection.

Dr. Catherine J. Golden, Chair of the Fox-Adler committee, Professor of English at Skidmore College, and close friend of the Fox family, also published a collection of early Fox-Adler lectures in Norman’s name entitled Book Illustrated: Text, Image, and Culture (1770-1930) (2000). Her latest book Serials to Graphic Novels: The Evolution of the Victorian Illustrated Book (2017) and college classes about Victorian literature and culture also utilize the collection extensively and encourage students and scholars alike to fall in love with rare books.