Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Cook mss., 1850-1877, consist of letters from David S. Cook in California to his family and friends in Illinois, and letters to James Willson Temple, 1828- , farmer, writer, from his family in Illinois while he was in California.

Cook's letters are addressed to his sister, Betsey P. Cook, to his parents, and to friends in Illinois. Several of them are co-signed or have appended notes by his wife Eliza Ann (Temple) Cook. Topics of discussion include overland journeys to California, impressions of life in California, including prospects for making money, climate, health conditions, etc., conditions in the South following the Civil War, Nicaraguan economic conditions, and Cook's views on universal suffrage.

The letters to James Willson Temple are chiefly from his sister, Amanda (Temple) Hunt, their mother, Sarah Temple, and one from a younger sister, Elvira Temple. These letters refer to things that Temple has written to them about his health and activities in California. They also detail family life and topics of current interest in Peoria and Knox County, Illinois during the early 1850's, including spiritualism, hydrotherapy, vegetarianism, and literature. Temple later married David Cook's sister, Betsey P. Cook, and there is one letter from Betsey to her mother, Abial Cook, describing domestic experiences following her marriage.

Collection size: 28 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.