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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 643: T-374

Papers of Anne Kirk Cooke, 1860-2004 (inclusive), 1970-1997 (bulk)


Correspondence, diaries, writings, family histories, photographs, etc., of Anne Kirk Cooke (1901-2000) and her daughter, Elizabeth Rogers.


  • Creation: 1860-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1997

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Researchers must sign a special permission form to use the collection. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Anne Kirk Cooke is held by Elizabeth Rogers. Upon her death, the copyright will be transferred to Meyric Kirk Rogers and upon the death or incompetency of Elizabeth Rogers or Meyric Kirk Rogers, the copyright will transfer to Nancy Bult Rogers. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures with the following exceptions: #1.2, 1.12-2.9, 2.13, 5.4-7.2, and 10.10-10.15 may not be copied until January 1, 2031. In addition, documents and images may not be reproduced on the internet without written permission of the donor or her heirs.


4.6 linear feet ((11 file boxes) plus 5 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 16 photograph folders, 7 folio photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 5 audiotapes, 1 object)

The papers of Anne Kirk Cooke and her daughter, Elizabeth Rogers, contain correspondence, diaries, writings, drawings and artwork, photographs, and scrapbooks. Throughout the collection Elizabeth Rogers has made detailed annotations about the materials on file folders and on backs of documents. These notes were retained wherever possible.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, ca.1880-2000 (#1.1-3.7, F+D.1, PD.1-PD. 2, T-374.1 - T-374.5), includes address books, materials relating to Cooke's involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous, education, family histories, diary (1966-1971), and materials relating to piano teaching. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1919, 1931-2001 (#3.8-7.2, OD.1, PD.3-PD.4), contains correspondence with family, friends, students, and general correspondence.

Subseries A, Family, 1919, 1931-2001 (#3.8-5.3, OD.1, PD.3-PD.4), contains family correspondence with Cooke's mother, sisters, children, and grandchildren. Correspondence with Anne's mother is followed by that with her sisters and their families, and with Anne's children and grandchildren.

Subseries B, General, 1960-2000 (#5.4-7.2), includes correspondence with childhood friends, Cooperstown neighbors, Alcoholics Anonymous associates, and piano students. Folders are arranged alphabetically by author's last name followed by general correspondence.

Series III, PUBLICATIONS AND WRITINGS, ca.1955-1997 (#7.3-8.12), contains Anne Kirk Cooke's writings and related papers.

Subseries A, The Other Mrs. Simpson: Postscript to the Love Story of the Century, 1969-1997 (#7.3-7.12), contains correspondence, draft fragments, images, dealings with Vantage Press, and other related materials. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Other writings, ca.1955-1982 (#7.13-8.12), includes short stories, book proposals, rejection letters, and personal essays, including "A Special Kind of Horror," an unpublished typewritten memoir in which the names have been changed. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series IV, ELIZABETH ROGERS, 1943-2004 (#8.13-11.13, FD.1-FD.5, PD.5-PD.6), contains artwork, biographical and personal materials, correspondence, and writings of Anne Kirk Cooke's daughter Beth. For correspondence between Rogers and Cooke, see Series II, Subseries A (#4.1-4.7). Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series V, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1860-1994 (#PD.7-PD.24f), includes family photographs, photograph albums from both of Elizabeth Roger's relationships, and paper house scrapbooks.

Many of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Born August 29, 1901, in Baltimore, Maryland, Anne Strother Kirk was the youngest of three daughters of Henry Child Jr. (1868-1932) and Edith Huntemuller Kirk. Her father ran their family business, Samuel Kirk & Son, a prominent silver manufacturing company. Anne spent her formative years attending exclusive all-girls schools (Bryn Mawr School and Oldsfield School), graduating from Oldsfield in 1920. She also attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she earned a teacher's certificate in piano in 1924. Her eldest sister, Edith Buckner "Buckie" (1892-1979), married artist Will Hollingsworth and wrote three books on gardening. Her second sister, Mary (1896-1941), was a childhood confidante of Wallis Warfield. In 1936, six months after Wallis divorced her second husband, Ernest A. Simpson, to marry King Edward VIII (who abdicated the throne and became the Duke of Windsor), Mary became Simpson's third wife. In 1977 Anne co-authored The Other Mrs. Simpson: Postscript to the Love Story of the Century, an account of Mary's life with Simpson based on Mary's letters to her family.

In 1928 Anne married Meyric Reynold Rogers, a well-known art museum curator. They had two children, Edith Elizabeth "Beth" and Meyric Kirk "Myke." The family lived in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1930 to 1940 while Rogers was director of the St. Louis Art Museum. Later they moved to Chicago when he accepted the position of decorative arts curator at the Chicago Art Institute. Anne's problems with alcohol manifested early in their marriage and eventually led to their divorce in 1947. She later joined Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), becoming completely sober on June 9, 1950. Over the next thirty years she was married and widowed three times, all to recovering alcoholics. Her final marriage, in 1956, was to pianist, author, and journalist Charles Cooke (1904-1977). Cooke was well-known for numerous "Talk of the Town" articles in The New Yorker and for his piano primer, Playing the Piano for Pleasure. The couple moved to Cooperstown, New York, in 1970.

Anne was an active member with A.A. her entire life. She regularly attended group sessions and often strove to mentor recovering alcoholics. In 1989 she founded the Cooperstown A.A. Group for Women, serving as treasurer until the group disbanded in 1993.

Anne's daughter, Elizabeth "Beth" Rogers, was born in 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland. She married Eugene Maier in 1956. They divorced in 1962, severing all ties, including giving their two children up for adoption. In 1970 Beth became involved with Jay Tonia Lightfoot, a Native American man from Canada. Although it is not certain whether the two were legally married, she took the name Elizabeth Lightfoot. The two separated in 1979 and Beth relocated to Cooperstown to be closer to her mother. A prolific writer, Beth often worked with her mother on several projects, including co-authoring The Other Mrs. Simpson and editing her mother's fictionalized memoir, "A Special Kind of Horror."

Anne Kirk Cooke died in Oneonta, New York, on October 25, 2000, and soon after, Beth moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to be closer to her brother.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, ca.1880-2000 (#1.1-3.7, F+D.1, PD.1-PD. 2, T-374.1 - T-374.5)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1919, 1931-2001 (#3.8-7.2, OD.1, PD.3-PD.4)
  3. ___Subseries A. Family, 1919, 1931-2001 (#3.8-5.3, OD.1, PD.3-PD.4)
  4. ___Subseries B. General, 1960-2000 (#5.4-7.2)
  5. Series III. Publications and writings, ca.1955-1997 (#7.3-8.12)
  6. ___Subseries A. The Other Mrs. Simpson: Postscript to the Love Story of the Century, 1969-1997 (#7.3-7.12)
  7. ___Subseries B. Other writings, ca.1955-1982 (#7.13-8.12)
  8. Series IV. Elizabeth Rogers, 1943-2004 (#8.13-11.3, PD.5-PD.6)
  9. Series V. Photographs, 1860-1994 (#PD.7-PD.24f)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2001-M39, 2001-M56, 2006-M206

The papers of Anne Kirk Cooke were given to the Schlesinger Library by her daughter, Elizabeth Rogers between 2001 and 2006.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Buckner Hollingsworth, 1911-1964 (A-149).

Processing Information

Processed: August 2010

By: Jessica Tanny

Cooke, Anne Kirk. Papers of Anne Kirk Cooke, 1860-2004 (inclusive), 1970-1997 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from Elizabeth Rogers and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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