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Spencer Coxe Papers

Collection ID

Acc. 908

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)


Collection Summary

Spencer Coxe Papers


Collection ID
Acc. 908

Coxe, Spencer

1 linear foot (1 boxes)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.       

Detailed Collection Information

Biographical Note

Spencer Coxe was Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1952-1979 and continued to serve the ACLU as a member of the board, starting in 1983. Born in Philadelphia, Coxe attended the Westtown School and graduated from Yale University in 1940. He received a master's degree in history from Harvard University in 1941. He taught at what is now Richard Stockton College of New Jersey from 1975 to 1977, and at Temple University from 1977 to 1979. He was a full-time faculty member from 1979 to 1982 at Antioch University Philadelphia, and part-time at Antioch from 1982 to 1988 and Drexel University in 1988-89. He died in 2011.

Description of Collection

This collection documents Spencer Coxe in his capacity both as a board member of the ACLU and earlier, as executive director of this agency. Subjects addressed include police review boards in their 1980s-1990s incarnations; ordinances advanced in Philadelphia in the 1970s to mandate detailed procedures for police to follow on receipt of complaints, etc. and in the 1990s to set up a new police review board; and the question of "defective delinquents," or individuals who were incarcerated for indeterminate lengths without having been convicted of a crime. One small folder includes a sampling of writings by Spencer Coxe himself. These range from 1965 to the 1990s. The successful effort to repeal Pennsylvania’s "Defective Delinquent Act" in 1968 led to the release of 800 men from maximum security prison is documented here with photocopies of: correspondence, clippings, memos, forms and publications.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 3 series as follows:

Series 1. Administration, 1965-1995
Series 2. Photocopies, 1966-1968
Series 3. Photographs, 1946

Series 1: Administration. Materials include correspondence, memos, articles, drafts, minutes and agenda. Beyond general administration (minutes and agenda) relating to the Coalition for Police Accountability, there are materials on programs, policies or issues dealt with by the ACLU or its cohorts. These include use of force by police, drugs, police advisory or review boards, and ordinances. Also included are documents supporting the above programs, issues, etc., i.e. reports, ordinances, publications and statements. One folder in this series bears copies of documents produced by Spencer Coxe.

Series 2: Photocopies. Materials include photocopies of correspondence, memos and newspaper clippings, dating primarily from 1966-1968, documenting the successful ACLU push to free 800 "defective delinquents," many of whom had been incarcerated without having been convicted of any crime, all for indeterminate periods, some for over ten years. Some photocopies appear to have originated at the ACLU Archives at Princeton University.

Series 3: Photographs. The one photograph, apparently taken in China in 1946, has been removed to the Miscellaneous Photo Collection (PC-49), folder 7-3.

Patron Information

Research Access

Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site

This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information

The Spencer Coxe Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation

[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Spencer Coxe Papers, Accession 908, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Spencer Coxe, March 12, 1999.

Separated Material

One photograph has been removed to the Miscellaneous Photo Collection (PC-49), folder 7-3.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in June 2015.          

Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Personal/Family Names:
Coxe, Spencer

Corporate Names:
American Civil Liberties Union. Greater Philadelphia Branch (Pa.)
Philadelphia (Pa.). Police Department

Police -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:


Series 1: Administrative, 1965-1995

1          1          Minutes, agenda, etc.          1992-1985, 1995

1          2          Programs          1986

1          3-4          Programs- Police Review Board          1992

1          5          Programs- Affirmative Action          undated

1          6          Programs- Ordinances          1980-1977

1          7          Ordinances (1)          1994-1992, 1986

1          8          Ordinances (2)          1993, 1992

1          9          Ordinances (3)          April-January 1993

1          10          Ordinances (4)          1992, 1986

1          11          Programs          1992, 1986, 1982

1          12          Programs- Drugs and Police (1)          undated

1          13          Drugs and Police (2)          1992-1988

1          14          Drugs and Police (3)          1993-1988

1          15          Programs- Use of force          1988, 1989

1          16          Programs- Inspector General          1990-1984

1          17          Programs          1982

1          18          Programs- Internal Complaint Process          1987-1980

1          19          Documents- Coxe          1965-1990s

1          20          Documents          undated

1          21          Documents- Review Board Surveys- Phila.          1986

1          22          Documents- Review Board Surveys Non-Phladelphia (1)          1986, 1990-1992

1          23          Documents- Review Board Surveys Non- Philadelphia (2)          1993

1          24          Documents          1987                             

Series 2: Photocopies, 1966-1968

1          25          Photocopies (1)          April-October 1966

1          26          Photocopies (2)          October 1966-August 1968

1          27          Photocopies (3)          1966

1          28          Photocopies (4)          1966, 1967         

Series 3: Photographs, 1946

1          29          China          1946