About James M. Cox, Governor
James Middleton Cox (March 31, 1870 – July 15, 1957) was the 46th and 48th Governor of Ohio, U.S. Representative from Ohio and Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the election of 1920.
Cox was born in the tiny Butler County, Ohio, village of Jacksonburg. Cox practiced a variety of trades throughout his life: high school teacher, reporter, owner and editor of several newspapers, and secretary to Congressman Paul J. Sorg.
Cox represented Ohio in the United States House of Representatives (1909–1913), resigning after winning election as Governor of Ohio (1913–1915, and 1917–1921). A capable and well-liked reformer, he was nominated for the presidency by the Democratic party while serving as Governor. Cox supported the internationalist policies of Woodrow Wilson and favored U.S. entry into the League of Nations. However, Cox was defeated in the 1920 presidential election by a fellow Ohioan and newspaperman, U.S. Senator Warren G. Harding of Marion. The public had grown weary of the turmoil of the Wilson years, and eagerly accepted Harding's call for a "return to normalcy." Cox's running mate was future president, then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of the better known analyses of the 1920 election is in author Irving Stone's book about defeated Presidential candidates, They Also Ran. Stone rated Cox as superior in every way over Warren Harding, claiming the former would have made a much better president; the author argued that there was never a stronger case in the history of American presidential elections for the proposition that the better man lost. Of the four men on both tickets, all but Cox would ultimately become president: Harding won, and was succeeded by his running mate Calvin Coolidge after dying in offce, while Roosevelt would be elected president in 1932. Cox would outlive all three men by several years, however.
Cox recorded for The Nation's Forum several times. The campaign speech featured here accuses the Republicans of failing to acknowledge that President Wilson's successful prosecution of the war had, according to Cox, "saved civilization."
Cox was publisher of the Dayton Daily News in Dayton, Ohio, where the newspaper's editorial meeting room is still referred to as the "Governor's Library." The "James M. Cox Dayton International Airport", more commonly referenced simply as Dayton International Airport, was named for Cox as well.
He built a large newspaper enterprise, Cox Enterprises, including the December 1939 purchase of the Atlanta Georgian and Journal just a week before that city hosted the premiere of Gone with the Wind. This deal included radio station WSB, which joined his previous holdings, WHIO in Dayton and WIOD in Miami, to give him "'air' from the Great Lakes on the north to Latin America on the south."
In 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944, Cox supported and campaigned for the presidential candidacies of his former running mate Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Cox was appointed by Roosevelt to the U.S. delegation to the failed London Economic Conference in 1933.
Cox died at his home, Trail's End, in Kettering, Ohio, in 1957, and was interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.
Cox was married twice. He married Mayme Simpson Harding in 1898. They divorced in 1911. He married Margaretta Parker Blair in 1917 and she survived him. Cox had four children, two sons by Mayme Harding and two daughters by Margaretta Blair. One of his daughters, Anne Cox Chambers, is still a major shareholder in the company. The company's headquarters is in Atlanta.
Cox was a member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.