NOEL P. FOX PAPERS, 1924-1982 Biographical Note/Scope and Content

Case files, correspondence, clippings, and reports documenting the political and judicial career of Noel P. Fox.

Noel P. Fox Papers are also held by the National Archives at Chicago.

Gift of Noel P. Fox, 1983.

Biographical Note

Noel P. Fox (1910-1987), a graduate of Marquette University, served as U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Michigan, 1962-1979. His most significant case, U.S. v. Michigan, dealt with the rights of Native Americans. He ruled that the State of Michigan could not restrict commercial fishing rights that the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians had obtained through treaties negotiated with the federal government during the nineteenth century. Fox also judged cases relating to the desegregation of schools in Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, Michigan; the creation of Sleeping Bear Lake Dunes National Lakeshore; Gerald R. Ford's pardon of Richard M. Nixon; the distribution of contraceptives to minors; various civil liberties cases involving personal appearance and employment; and product liability of tobacco companies. Previously, he was a circuit court judge in Muskegon, Michigan (1951-1962). Outside the courtroom, Fox conducted surveys of Michigan's corrections system (1949) and justice courts (1959-1961), chaired the Citizen's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary Department for the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961, and arbitrated and mediated labor-management disputes. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress (1938 and 1950) and Secretary of State of Michigan (1948).


Scope and Content

Series 1, Federal Court Case Files, 1959-1982, undated, contains copies of court documents, correspondence, and clippings pertaining to 39 cases judged by Fox. The series is arranged chronologically. The letters G, K, or M preceding a case number indicates that the case was heard in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, or Marquette, respectively. "CA" stands for civil action.

Series 2, Civic and Professional Activities, 1948-1962, includes correspondence, reports, and news clippings. It is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 3, Mediation and Arbitration Records, 1941-1956, relates to labor-management conflicts arbitrated or mediated by Fox. It is arranged alphabetically by case or agency and chronologically thereunder.

Series 4, Political Records, 1938-1958, contains correspondence and news clippings documenting Fox's campaigns for public office and contacts with political figures, including Joseph McCarthy. It is arranged in chronological order.

Series 5, Personal Records, 1924-1979, contains clippings, correspondence, photographs, and two speeches.