Orator F. Cook Papers

Institution: University of Chicago Library - Special Collections Research Center
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1504
Phone: 773-702-8705
Fax: 773-702-3728
Date: 1889-1898
Extent: 2.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Orator F. Cook was an American botanist who specialized in cotton and rubber plants, as well as in the classification of palms. Born in 1867 in Clyde, New York, Cook graduated from Syracuse University in 1890, where he stayed on as an instructor for one year. He traveled extensively in many parts of the world collecting botanical specimens, and from 1891 to 1898 he was employed as a special agent of the New York State Colonization Society. He spent much of his time in Liberia, and in 1896, Cook was elected president of Liberia College, a position, which he held until 1898. From 1898 he served as a plant scientist with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, where he became Principal Botanist. He published almost four hundred books and articles during his life, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by Syracuse University in 1930.

Scope and Content Note:
The collection has been divided into six series. Series I, General Correspondence includes exchanges related to Cook's work in Liberia and with his scientific colleagues. Series II, Personal Correspondence, primarily contains letters between Cook and Alice Carter, who he married in 1892. Series III contains documents related to Liberia, as does Series VI (oversize materials.) Series IV includes photographs of Liberia and the Canary Islands. Series V is a biographical calendar of Cook's life, prepared by his daughter Helen Newman.

Related Material: None