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Guide to the John Esten Cooke papers, 1840-1941 and undated

Abstract

John Esten Cooke (1830-1886) was a novelist, historian, lawyer, and Confederate Army Officer, of Millwood (Clarke Co.), Va.

Professional and personal correspondence and literary notes of John Esten Cooke and of his brother, Philip Pendleton Cook, poet and storyteller. The John E. Cooke papers include letters from boyhood friends, Civil War letters, business letters from publishers, critical letters from literary friends during the 1870s and 1880s, and notebooks of the war period. Includes manuscript copies of Cooke's Surry of Eagle's Nest, A legend of Turkey Buzzard Hollow, and On the road to despotism. The Philip P. Cooke papers include letters to his father, of interest in themselves as literary productions. Correspondents in the collection include W.H. Appleton, George W. Bagby, Alexander R. Boteler, W.H. Browne, O.B. Burie, M.B.T. Clark, W. De Hass, M. Schele De Vere, H.K. Douglas, E.A. Duyckinck, G.C. Eggleston, William Evelyn, Wade Hampton, J.W. Harper, H.B. Hirst, J.B. Jones, J.P. Kennedy, C.C. Lee, W.H. Lee, B.W. Leigh, A.H. Sands, W.G. Simms, David Strother, and Beverly Tucker.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Cooke, John Esten, 1830-1886.
Title
John Esten Cooke papers 1840-1941 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
0.75 Linear Feet, Approx. 296 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Professional and personal correspondence and literary notes of novelist and Civil War Confederate officer John Esten Cooke and of his brother, Philip Pendleton Cook (1816-1850), poet and storyteller. The John E. Cooke papers primarily consist of business letters from publishers and critical letters from literary friends during the 1870s and 1880s, but also include letters from boyhood friends, a few Civil War letters. There are also diaries from the war period, and manuscript copies of Cooke's novel about Stonewall Jackson, Surry of Eagle's Nest, A Legend of Turkey Buzzard Hollow, and article "On the Road to Despotism." The Philip P. Cooke papers include letters to his father, of interest in themselves as literary productions; he was considered to be equally talented if not more so than his father.

Civil War era items include a few letters written to Cooke, indicating his state of illness and discouragement during the war and his lack of communication with family; and Cooke's four manuscript diaries. The diaries contain references throughout to battles around Richmond, Cold Harbour, Chancellorsville, J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Gen. John R. Cooke, Stonewall Jackson (especially his death in 1863), Gen. William N. Pendleton, the re-election of Lincoln, camp life, and the social life of Stuart's staff. They also contain Cooke's literary jottings and references to literary figures such as Victor Hugo. A copy of the 1941 edition of the diaries is included in the collection.

Correspondents in the collection include W.H. Appleton, George W. Bagby, Alexander R. Boteler, W.H. Browne, O.B. Burie, M.B.T. Clark, W. De Hass, M. Schele De Vere, H.K. Douglas, E.A. Duyckinck, G.C. Eggleston, William Evelyn, Wade Hampton, J.W. Harper, H.B. Hirst, J.B. Jones, J.P. Kennedy, C.C. Lee, W.H. Lee, B.W. Leigh, A.H. Sands, W.G. Simms, David Strother, and Beverly Tucker.

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Literary rights information
(1 folder)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1840-1896 and undated
(6 folders)
Box 1
Civil War diaries, 1862-1865, Mar. (four original manuscript volumes)

A detailed list of topics in each volume is available through an in-house digitized card file. Folder also includes print copy of their publication by Jay B. Hubbell, Duke professor of literature, in Journal of Southern History, Vol. 7, No. 4, Nov. 1941

(1 folder)
Box 1
Miscellaneous writings
(1 folder)
Box 1
Photograph alleged to be a portrait of Catharine Burton (Nourse) Cooke, (1759-1833)

Added to the collection in 1970. Death place given as Lexington, Kentucky. She was married to a John Esten Cooke, but it is not clear what relation she might be to the creator of this collection. One of her children may be related to John Esten Cooke's father.

Box 1
Genealogical information
(1 folder)
Box 1
Manuscript of Surry of Eagle's Nest, 1866, Nov. 22 (on Stonewall Jackson)
(2 volumes)
Box 2

Historical Note

John Esten Cooke (1830-1886) was a novelist and farmer born in Winchester Virginia, one of 13 children, to John Rogers Cooke and Maria Pendleton Cooke. His literary career began in the 1840s, and be quickly became a successful and prolific novelist, journalist, poet, and short story writer. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1851, and then served the Confederate Army as a staff officer for J.E.B. Stuart during most of the war (Cooke was first cousin of Gen. Stuart's wife, Flora Cooke Stuart). He also served under Brig. Gen. Pendleton after Stuart's death in 1864, amd was promoted to major by the end of the war. He eventually published more than 30 novels and many articles and poems. He is most well-known for his biographies of J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson, as well as his many historical novels set in Virginia. His Civil War diaries were published in 1941 in the Journal of Southern History by Jay B. Hubbell of Duke University.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Bedinger and Dandridge Family Papers [contains literary correspondence from John Esten Cooke] (Rubenstein Library)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Esten Cooke Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The John Esten Cooke Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from 1935-1974.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, July 2011

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico and Matthew Warren, April 2013

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 35-635, 35-686, 36-744, 48-216, 48-783, 1970, 1974

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.