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Barbara Cook papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 467

Scope and Contents

The Barbara Cook papers documents the life and work of Barbara Cook, predominately concerning her work as a student personnel administrator and instructor at Purdue University. Cooks collection of research files and essays on women’s issues, especially in regards to education, could be useful for any researcher interested in feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The two “student unrest” binders of Series 8 provide thorough documentation of the various clashes between students and administration during the turbulent years of 1968 – 1969. Researchers interested in the profession of student administration will find much of value in the Barbara Cook papers, including documentation on the Syracuse University Student Dean program she attended in 1952, the Education courses she taught in the 1980s on student administration, and speeches she gave to various student groups in her role as an administrator. Types of materials include: correspondence, speech notes, dissertations, photographs, research files, scrapbooks, artifacts, and ephemera.


  • 1932 - 2012
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/04/2009


Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Purdue University per deed of gift. The copyright of some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. Consult an archivist for details.

Biographical Information

Born in 1929, Barbara Cook came to Purdue in 1956 as a counselor in the Office of the Dean of Women. She received her BA in Sociology from the University of Arkansas in 1951, a M.A. in Student Personnel Administration from Syracuse University in 1954, a Ph.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services from Purdue University in 1967 as well as an honorary doctorate from Purdue University in 1996.

One of her early responsibilities as councilor in the Dean’s office involved serving as an advisor to Mortar Board, a senior-student honor society over which she presided for nearly thirty years. Cook also served as director of the Placement Service for Women, assistant and associate Dean of Women, associate Dean of Students, and, from 1980 to 1987, Dean of Students. She was a lecturer in the School of Education starting in 1970, and a professor of education from 1987 to 1989.

Nationally recognized for her efforts in promoting career opportunities for women, Cook served in several positions within the National Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Councilors (NAWDAC) including serving as President from 1975–1976. She is also the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion for Distinguished Contributions to Purdue University, the Dean Beverley Stone Award for Personal Counseling Contributions, and the Distinguished Lifetime Mortar Board Member Award.

Following her retirement in 1989, Barbara Cook was an active member of the Lafayette community and involved with many organizations, including the Salvation Army, Greater Lafayette YWCA, West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission, and the Indiana Governor's Commission for Women. In 2004, a sculpture entitled "When Dreams Dance" was dedicated to Cook and her late colleague and friend, Beverley Stone. It is located in between Schleman and Hovde Halls. Today, the current chapter of the Purdue Mortar Board is named in Cook's honor, who advised the group from 1956 to 1986.


9.00 Cubic Feet (15 manuscript boxes, 1 cubic foot box, 4 large flat artifact boxes)

Language of Materials



The Barbara Cook papers predominantly document Barbara Cook's career in the Dean of Women and Dean of Students office and as professor of education at Purdue University (1956 - 1989), including her leadership roles in Mortar Board and NAWDAC -- National Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors. Types of material include correspondence, speeches, teaching material, articles and essays, and biographical information.


The Barbara Cook papers are organized into nine series.
  1. Personal and Professional Documents
  2. Research Files and Essays
  3. Correspondence
  4. Professional Organizations
  5. Education Courses
  6. Speech Files
  7. Books
  8. Student Unrest Binders
  9. Artifacts, Bound Manuscripts, Diplomas, and Scrapbooks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Betty Nelson and Sally Watlington, April 23, 2008.

Accruals and Additions

20121203.4, transfer from Office of the VIce President for Ethics and Compiance via Alysa Rollock 20121003, Donation by Jane Hamblin of the Mortar Board Alumni Association
Barbara Cook papers
In Progress
Jonathan McConnell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 09099999: Archon record revised by Virginia Pleasant on May 24, 2016

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States