MSS 104:  Cook Family Papers, 1839-1940 - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Inventory of the Cook Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Judith M. Downey, Leigh Fought; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kermit DeweyInventory of the Cook Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Cook Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Cook Family Papers
Date Span:
Cook family
Mss Number:
Mss 104
10 inches
Personal papers of New Bedford, Massachusetts, family, 1839-1940
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Note

The Cook family of New Bedford had its origins in Newport, Rhode Island. Thomas Cook (1801-1890) made the move to New Bedford in 1824 at an early age and in 1828 engaged in a partnership with Loum Snow that continued for a number of years. They were wholesale and retail dealers in dry goods, merchant tailors, and outfitters. In addition, they served as owners and agents to several whaleships. Thomas’ son, William, was born in New Bedford in 1834. William Cook attended school in Sandwich and joined his father's firm of Cook & Snow, and by 1859, he became a partner in the firm. With the outbreak of the Civil War, William enlisted in the local guard unit and was commissioned into the Massachusetts Militia in June of 1863. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. and was discharged in July 1864. William married Cornelia Augusta Seabury (1836- 1921) of New Bedford in 1855, whose family was formerly from Little Compton, RI. They had five children. William Cook died in 1876.

The youngest son of William and Cornelia Cook, Otis Seabury Cook, was born in 1873 in New Bedford. He attended the local public schools and the Friends Academy. He graduated from Harvard in 1896 and earned a law degree from Boston University in 1897. He entered the law firm of Knowlton & Perry and soon after became a partner in the firm. He was active in many civic agencies and served on the boards of numerous local companies. In 1899, he married Katherine Lee Mathews (1870-1951), formerly of New Bedford but then residing in Ansonia, Connecticut. They had five children. Otis S. Cook continued to practice law until his death in 1939.

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Scope and Content Note

Papers in this collection reflect the activities of several members of the Cook family of New Bedford, Massachusetts, between 1839 and 1940. William Cook's papers consist of correspondence along with his military records for his service during the Civil War, 1863-ca.1873. The records contain certificates and a list of supplies for the regiment, 1863-1864. His correspondence is a letter to his son, Otis, and the verso is an additional letter to Otis from his brother, Clarence Augustus Cook, (1856-1919).

Papers for Otis Seabury Cook contain correspondence, legal documents and travel notes, from the years 1883-1935. The correspondence is written to family members, 1883-1935. The letters dated 1883 are to his sister and brother-in-law while on a trip to Washington, D.C., with the rest of the family. The majority of the letters are written to his mother, Cornelia Augusta Seabury Cook (1836-1921), describing a trip to Europe that he made in the company of his wife in 1902. Stops on that trip included London, Paris, Naples, Belgium, and Switzerland. Letters from 1928 and 1935 are from a relative seeking information for a family genealogy. The legal document is a copy of his birth certificate, dated 1926. The travel notes, ca.1902, detail an itinerary and provide helpful suggestions based on his European trip.

There are also papers for his wife, Katherine Lee Mathews Cook from 1891 to 1940. These papers consist of correspondence, legal documents, a birthday book, and clippings. The correspondence, 1899-1940, includes a series of letters to her mother, Katherine Treadway Macomber Mathews, describing the 1902 European tour. There are also letters from another cruise aboard a Cunard Vessel in 1913.

The Genealogy notes and clippings include material relating to the history of the Cook, Seabury, Gray, and Bailey families. The Cook family items include clippings glued to scrapbook pages. The Seabury family items include handwritten genealogy notes, a typescript of the history of the ship Monogahela, wallpaper scraps, a transcription of a deed to 77 Walnut Street with handwritten notes, and newspaper clippings. The Gray/Bailey family items are handwritten notes and copies of notes on the genealogy of the two families, including genealogical charts.

Arrangement of Collection

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Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 104, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]

Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:

- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution

If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.

Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.

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This collection was donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Barbara Groves in memory of Helen Cook on 18 May 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by: Judith M. Downey, 21 July 1993; Leigh Fought, 15 October 2004

Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 11 May 2012

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Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection

Sub-group 1: Sarah Bailey Rhoades Papers, 1839-1842, 1851-1857 [0.5 inch]
Sub-group 2: William Cook Papers, 1863-1864, ca.1873 [0.5 inch]
Correspondence and military records.
Sub-group 3: Otis Seabury Cook Papers, 1883-1884, 1899, 1902, 1924, 1928, 1935 [45 items]
Correspondence, legal documents and travel notes.
Sub-group 4: Katherine Lee Mathews Cook Papers, 1891, 1899, 1902, 1913-1917, 1926, 1929, 1940 [62 items]
Correspondence, legal documents, and birthday book and clippings.
Sub-group 5: Genealogy notes and clippings, ca.1857, 1876-1947 [2 inches]
Cook family, Seabury family, and Gray/Bailey families.

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Subject Headings

Bailey family
Bailey, Sarah Gray, 1783-1865
Birth certificates
Birthday books
Cook family
Cook, Cornelia Augusta Seabury, 1836-1921
Cook, Katharine Lee Mathews, 1870-1951
Cook, Otis Seabury, 1873-1939
Cook, William, 1833-1876
Gray family
Rhoades, Sarah Bailey, b.1821
Seabury family
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1864
Women Travelers--Arizona

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Vessel Names

Monongahela (Ship)

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