Skip to main content

Sidney Cobb papers

Identifier: COU:357

Scope and Contents

The Sidney Cobb Collection contains professional and personal papers including military records, awards, calendars, school records, photographs, correspondence, publications he authored and other scholarly materials to which he contributed; also documents retirement activities that helped inspire a national study of cancer rates near nuclear reactors.

A suggested arrangement for processing is I. Personal Files containing documents pertaining to Cobb’s military service, personal date books, and professional documents. II. Books and Publications – Editor containing published material in which Cobb is the sole or one of the primary contributors to the publication as a whole. III. Books and Publications – Contributor/Referenced containing published material in which Cobb either contributes a chapter or essay or in which he is cited and indexed within an essay by another author.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical Note

Dr. Sidney Cobb, 1916-1998, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Science (1938), M.D. from Harvard Medical School (1942), and M.P.H. from the Harvard Medical School of Public Health (1951). He served as a captain in the Army in World War II before receiving his degree in public health. After working at University of Pittsburg (1952-1961) and University of Michigan (1961-1973) he joined Brown University in 1973 as professor of Psychiatry and Community Health. While at Brown University from 1973-1980 his research focused on epidemiology and the effects of social environment and mental health on chronic disease.

Dr. Cobb was an epidemiologist who studied the effects of job stress. His research helped explain a higher rate of coronary incidents and ulcers among air traffic controllers and gout among businessmen.

After retiring in 1980 from Brown, he began studying the effects of living in a four-mile-wide corridor, north of the Pilgrim I nuclear reactor in Plymouth. He found a rate for leukemia that was substantially higher than the statewide rate.

In 1987, prompted in part by Dr. Cobb’s findings, a study of cancer rates near nuclear plants began. Although the National Cancer Institute reported finding no signs of elevated cancer or leukemia rates around nuclear installations in 1990, Dr. Cobb maintained the statistics taken by county, might be washing out some small, local clusters.

Dr. Sidney Cobb died at the age of 81 on April 7, 1998, in Medford NJ.


3.75 linear feet (3 Boxes)

Language of Materials



University of Colorado Professor Emeritus of Psychology. His fields were community health and psychiatry. His collection includes research into human ecology and epidemiology, publications, correspondence, news articles, various organization materials and photographs.


This collection is arranged in original order in which we attained it from the doner, with box level inventory list.

In Progress
Surveyed by: Joseph G Heinen, June 6, 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States