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Paul Ernest Cox

Biography to Display: 

1879 Born Crawfordsville, Indiana 

 1968 Died  

EDUCATION 

1905 BS Ceramic Engineering and Technology, New York College of Ceramics (now Alfred University), Alfred, New York 

1935 Honorary Doctor of Science, Alfred University, Alfred, New York 

 

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE 

1898 Volunteer Infantry, Spanish-American War 

1898-1901 Superintendent stoneware plant, Gas City, Indiana 

1905-1906 Stoneware plant, White Hall, Illinois 

1906-1907 Small promotional plant in art pottery 

1907 Built plant for stoneware and art pottery, Carbon, Indiana 

1907-1908 Mold maker, stoneware plant, Veedersburg, Indiana 

1908-1909 Mold maker, stoneware plant, Bloomingdale, Indiana 

1909-1910 Mold maker, Uhl Pottery Co., Huntingburg, Indiana 

1910-1918 Head Ceramist, Newcomb School of Art, H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, Tulane University, New Orleans, Lousiana 

1918-1920 Maxf Grinding Wheel Co., Chester Massachusetts & La Compagnie Generale des Meules, France  

1920 Pittsburg Grinding Wheel Co., Rochester, Pennsylvania 

1920-1926 Associate Professor, Head of Department of Ceramic Engineering, Iowa State College (now Iowa State University), Ames, Iowa 

1926-1938 Head of Department of Ceramic Engineering, Iowa State College (now Iowa State University), Ames, Iowa 

1939-1942 Studio Potter, Harahan, Louisiana 

1942-1946 Ceramic engineer, Simonds Abrasive Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

 

BIOGRAPHY 

Paul Ernest Cox is known for high fired functional pottery. Cox’s pottery went through several distinct phases, shaped by his time working at the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in Louisiana, now Newcomb-Tulane College, and at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University.  

Cox was introduced to ceramics by his father who was a stoneware manufacturer in Gas City, Indiana.1 He went on to be known as a ceramics engineer, glaze and kiln expert. Cox was the second graduate of New York College of Ceramics, now Alfred University, where he studied under Charles Fergus Binns. In 1910 he became the first professionally trained ceramicist to work at Newcomb College. At the time, Newcomb Pottery was a professional pottery connected to Newcomb College. Cox perfected matte and semi-matte glazes for Newcomb’s work, most notable the “moon over moss,” green and blue matte glazes and “moss over moon,” blue over green matte glazes.  

At Iowa State in 1920, Cox started developing tin glazes, similar to the Sevrès (France) drip glazes he saw while traveling in Europe. In 1926, Cox became Head of Department of Ceramic Engineering at Iowa State and began to promotceramics engineering department across Iowa, demonstrating on the potter’s wheel and speaking on ceramics history. 

In 1924, Mary Yancey, a graduate from Newcomb College, joined the Iowa State College ceramics faculty. From 1924 until 1930, Cox and Yancey collaborated on pottery, with Cox throwing and glazing, and Yancey decoratingThis collaboration developed into an art pottery production within the department and supported, among other things, the purchase of new equipment. Yancey left Iowa State College in 1930. In 1938 Danish-American campus artist-in-residence (1934-1955), Christian Petersen and Cox collaborated on producing two terracotta relief murals,History of Dairying and Veterinary Medicine Mural. Both mural installations can be seen on the campus of the University of Iowa, Ames, Iowa. This work is considered to be an example of the Midwestern Regionalist movement of the time.2 

In 1939, Cox left Iowa State College to found a pottery in Harahan, Louisiana where he produced functional pottery. Cox returned to working as a ceramic engineer in 1942 to help the war effort during WWII.  

Cox received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Alfred University in 1935 and the Alfred University Charles Fergus Binns Medal for Excellence in Ceramic Art in 1952.

 

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Brunnier Art Museum, Ames, Iowa 

Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane, New Orleans, Louisiana 

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Blasberg W. “College Archives MC9: Paul E. Cox.” Alfred University Archives, 1984, accessed Aug. 8, 2022. https://isubios.pubpub.org/pub/jgcraxkj/release/1?readingCollection=a4fcf46e  Last accessed January 30, 2023. 

Dahlquist, David B. “Cox, Paul Ernest.” Iowa State University Biographical Dictionary, June 30, 2021, Last accessed January 30, 2023https://isubios.pubpub.org/pub/jgcraxkj/release/1 

“The History of Niloak Pottery.” Arkansas Pottery, Last accessed January 30, 2023.http://www.arkansaspottery.com/history4.html 

“College Archives, MC9 Paul E. Cox” https://people.alfred.edu/~collegearchives/COX.pdf  Last accessed January 30. 2023. 

“The History of Niloak Pottery.” Arkansas Pottery, Last accessed January 30, 2023http://www.arkansaspottery.com/history4.html  

“Newcomb Pottery: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Louisiana.” Louisiana State Museum accessed Aug. 8, 2022.Last accessed January 30, 2023. https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-museum/online-exhibits/newcomb-pottery/section-3/index 

“Newcomb College.” Artist Database: The Historic New Orleans Collections, Last accessed January 30, 2023. https://www.hnoc.org/database/artist/record.php?id_artist=10531&search=advanced_search 

“Paul E. Cox.” Iowa State University: Special Collections and University Archives, Last accessed January 30, 2023.https://findingaids.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/rgrp/11-12-15.html 

Richard, Linda H. “Paul E. Cox: Newcomb Pottery Glaze Master—Unpublished Letter.” Cajun Collectables, 2007,Last accessed January 30, 2023. https://www.cajunc.com/downloadables/Coxdraft02.pdf 

“Selected Newcomb Artisan Bios.” Newcomb: Art Museum of Tulane, Last accessed January 30, 2023.https://newcombartmuseum.tulane.edu/portfolio-item/artisans/ 

Torres, Francesca. “What is Newcomb Pottery & How to Identify.” Crafts Hero, January 30, 2023.https://craftshero.com/newcomb-college-pottery/ 

 

 

 

Artist's Studio: Newcomb College, Iowa State College Pottery

 

Typical Marks

“COX” inscribed 

Also, C-O-X written on top of each other, inscribed 

Sometimes, ISU AMES circular stamp (from 1920-1939) 

1924-1930
Bowl
Date: 1924 to 1930
Materials: Earthenware
Dimensions: 1.75" x 4.25"
Surface Technique: Glaze
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014, 220,09,2022
Photo: ISU
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014, 220,09,2022
Photo: ISU
1924 to 1930
Bowl
Date: 1924 to 1930
Materials: Earthenware
Surface Technique: Glaze
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014.214.09.2022
Photo: ISU
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014.214.09.2022
Photo: ISU
Bowl
Date: 1924 to 1930
Materials: Earthenware
Dimensions: 3" x 7.25"
Surface Technique: Glaze
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014.221.09.2022
Photo: ISU
Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, um2014.221.09.2022
Photo: ISU
1924 to 1930

Citation: Beul, Jasmine. "The Marks Project." Last modified January 22, 2024. http://www.themarksproject.org/marks/cox