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Donald Jack Cook papers

Donald Jack Cook papers

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Donald Jack Cook papers MSD.0000.029

Professor of Chemistry

Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism
11 E. Larabee Street
Greencastle, IN


Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2018-01-09T16:05-0500
Language: Description is in English.

Repository: Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism
creatorCook, Donald Jack, 1915-2005
Title: Donald Jack Cook papers
Dates: 1900-2006
Quantity: 2.4 Cubic feet, 2 document cases, 1 item
Identification: MSD.0000.029

Collection Statement

The collection contains papers, records, lectures and letters created and collected by Cook over several decades. Many pertain to the science programs at DePauw University, as well as scholarships and research programs. Much of it was tagged for archiving beforehand.

Biographical Sketch

Donald Jack Cook taught chemistry at DePauw University for 40 years. A native of Rock Island, Illinois, Cook received a bachelor of arts degree from Augustana College in 1937. After earning the master's degree at the University of Illinois in 1938, he spent several years as an industrial chemist and also served for one year as an instructor of chemistry at his alma mater. He was honored in 1967 with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Augustana College.

He earned his doctorate in 1944 from Indiana University. After one year with the Lubrizol Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio, Cook joined the staff of the chemistry department at DePauw University in July 1945. He would stay at DePauw University for the rest of his career, as a full-time staff member for 35 years (including 13 years as department chairman), and a part-time instructor for another five years until 1985.

As professor emeritus of chemistry, Cook continued as an active member of the University and Greencastle community. Cook and his wife founded the Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County, which he served as president for many years. He was also an active member of the Putnam County Historical Society.

In 1958, Cook initiated the National Science Foundation Summer Program for the Improvement of Teaching Science and Mathematics in the Elementary Schools. He also initiated the Summer Research Program for Chemistry Majors, supported by the National Science Foundation during the years 1963-1969 and 1971.

Cook served the American Chemical Society as a visiting associate for its Committee on Professional Training, and from 1959 through 1964 as a member and chairman of the Visiting Scientist Committee for its Division of Chemical Education. During these years he made more than 30 visits to liberal arts colleges as a visiting scientist. In 1961-1962 he was a member of the staff of the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C., as an associate program director in the Course Content Improvement Section.

Among his other professional activities was a summer research appointment at the National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1951; a year of postdoctoral research as a Naval Research Fellow at Purdue University in 1952-1953; and a visiting professorship at Indiana University in the summer of 1963. A member and Fellow of the Indiana Academy of Science since 1945, he served as president of the academy for 1976. During these years he taught courses for students of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and separate chemistry courses for nurses, teachers, and liberal arts majors. His experience in conducting research in organic chemistry with senior majors and graduate students resulted in a number of articles in chemical journals. In 1974 he authored a textbook, "Elements of Chemistry".

Cook also helped the world better understand the contributions of the legendary chemist Percy Lavon Julian, a 1920 DePauw graduate who later worked as a research associate at the University. The Cooks, who maintained a relationship with Dr. Julian's family, were interviewed for a 2006 PBS NOVA documentary on Julian. He also initiated the Percy L. Julian Memorial Lecture Series, and his efforts helped convince the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp honoring Dr. Julian in 1993.

Cook's influence can also be seen on the DePauw campus. He spearheaded the successful effort to have the cornerstone and columns from the old Minshall Laboratory placed near their original site; worked to ensure that artifacts in the original Percy L. Julian Science and Mathematics Center were preserved and placed in the building once its restoration was complete; and wrote an extensive history of the chemistry department at DePauw.

Donald J. Cook had two daughters, Christine Cook Shriner of Bloomington, and Hope Cook of Bayfield, Wis.; and two grandchildren. He died August 15, 2005 at the age of 90.

Cook, Donald Jack, 1915-2005
Manuscripts of Faculty


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to DePauw University.

Related Material

Donald J. Cook's book, Elements of Chemistry, QD11.C67.

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