The Fox Collection and Norman M. Fox
In 2005, with his family – Harvey Fox, Cassie Fox (Skidmore ’80), and Cindy Fox Aisen – the Fox family gave what is now known as the Fox Collection to the College along with a $100,000 gift to endow the lecture series in perpetuity. Over the years the family has supported a number of important initiatives, including support for a richly illustrated catalogue of the entire Fox collection and several handsome brochures based on exhibitions from the collection. Yearly lectures have featured prominent scholars, journalists, and bibliophiles.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, Norman, along with his wife Eva, moved to Saratoga Springs in 1947 after serving overseas in the US Army. With Charles Adler he founded Spa Records in 1952, winning a 1953 Paris Gold Medal for a recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony. David Porter, President Emeritus of Skidmore College and close friend of the Fox family, notes that, “He [Norman] had worked with the great conductor Charles Adler to develop a company, Spa Records, which at the very dawn of the LP era produced a remarkable list of recordings – more than 75 discks -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.”†
Remaining committed to the arts, Norman became involved in business and civic planning. Opening the Saratoga Appliance Shop and then N. Fox Jewelers, Norman became an active participant in downtown business for thirty years. In 1961 he 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 were instrumental in the revitilization of Saratoga Springs. For his many contributions to the city, he has received the Kathryn H. Starbuck Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), the Rotary Club Community Service Award (2004), and the Saratoga Springs Preservation Society Award (2005). In addition to his commitment to the welfare of Saratoga Springs, Norman is a connoisseur of rare books and an avid collector of first day covers.
-Catherine Golden, Professor of English, Skidmore College
† For further information, I interested readers to “The Fox Knows Many Tricks” by David H. Porter, printed as a tribute in Dressed to Express: Costume in Victorian Illustration.