Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Smiles Generosity Can Bring

On February 5, 1997, the Claire Cook and Helen (York) Cook Endowment was established.  This $1.7 million fund has provided (and continues to provide) MPL with youth services programming and resources.  It was exactly what the Library needed during the late 1990s, when children's programming was rapidly expanding, and the Library was continuing to broaden the scope of its collections.  During the past 15 years, if you knew any smiling children coming to and from the Library, those happy faces were a direct result of the Cooks' generosity.

Click Images to Enlarge

Helen York and Claire Cook married on August 7, 1927.  Both were Mooresville natives. Helen taught art in the local schools and was herself an accomplished painter.  Claire sold insurance for many years--the firm of Hadley, Cook & Quillen continues its insurance business in Mooresville at 32 East High Street--and the couple donated several of Helen's original paintings to the Library, which are on display there.

Wedding Party of Claire Cook & Helen (York) Cook
(August 7, 1927)
Helen & Claire are standing in the center

Watch the Library's two promo trailers below to see several of Mrs. Cook's paintings on display at MPL, along with other prominent local and state artists.

Click Play Arrow Buttons in Images Above to Start Videos

The Cooks lived at 30 West Harrison Street, in a house that Samuel Moore Rooker built in 1877.  Rooker was Mrs. Cook's grandfather, and he was the first child born in Mooresville after the town was founded.  Accordingly, he was named after the town's founder, Samuel Moore.

 Newspaper Article About the Cook/Rooker Home
by Becky Hardin, Morgan County Historian
[From Morgan County Scrapbook (1985), p. 285]
(Click Image to Enlarge)

Cook/Rooker House (2009)

The MPL Youth Services Department in the 21st century delivers a staggering array of programs, collections, and resources to our young patrons and their families.  The Cooks made this possible through their philanthropy.  But the Cooks were community-minded folks, so it's not surprising that they wanted to give back to the town that had nurtured them. Mooresville had always been their home, and they wanted to ensure that future residents would benefit from a well-equipped and financed public library.  Mrs. Cook taught painting classes at MPL, so she knew first-hand how the Library could reach, inform, teach, and entertain its users.  That was the RITE formula for MPL to serve residents of Mooresville and Brown Township.  Today, MPL serves patrons statewide through the Evergreen Indiana library consortium.  That's many more smiles on the faces of Hoosier children and their families.  The Cooks would be pleased that their kindness brought such happiness to so many people across the state.

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