L.L. Cook Company:
An Inventory of the L.L. Cook Company Collection at the Texas State Archives, 1940, 1946-1951, 1953, 1955-1957, 1959, bulk 1948, 1951, 1956
The L.L. Cook Company was founded in 1921 and was one of the two largest postcard publishing companies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin up to the 1960s, producing thousands of postcards with scenes from different cities and states across the country. The L.L. Cook Company bought the other large postcard publisher in Wisconsin, the E.C. Kropp Company, in 1956. The company continued to produce postcards into the 1960s. In 1969 the L.L. Cook Company was sold to the General Aniline & Film (GAF) Corporation and shifted focus from producing postcards to maintaining a photofinishing business. It formally dissolved in 1980.
The company was started by Lloyd Lewis Cook (1887-1972), who first co-founded the Cook Montgomery Company (about 1917-1918) in Minneapolis, along with Harris P. Montgomery. It was popularly known as "Co-Mo Photo" (which was also bought by GAF in 1969). Cook left the company in 1921 to start the L.L. Cook Company in Wisconsin, and its postcards subsequently listed Lake Mills and Milwaukee as addresses for the company. The company produced "real photo postcards," which refers to an actual photograph printed from a negative directly onto photographic paper for the purpose of being mailed as a picture postcard. The reverse side of the card was printed mechanically with space for the address, message, etc. Real photo postcards differ from printed postcards, where the photographic image is referenced to create a master postcard image and then printed on a printing press.
Lloyd Lewis Cook studied at the University of Wisconsin and was a member of the Phi Delta fraternity. He died on May 17, 1972 and is buried in Rock Lake Cemetery, Lake Mills, Wisconsin.
(Sources include: The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City website, http://www.metropostcard.com/card07realphoto.html, viewed May 30, 2012; Wilson, Bonnie G. Minnesota in the Mail: A Postcard History. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society, 2004; Twin City Postcard Club Newsletter, May/June 2008, http://www.twincitypostcardclub.com/TCPC%20Newsletter%202008/May%202008D.pdf, viewed June 1, 2012; Watertown History, http://www.watertownhistory.org/Articles/ComoPhoto.htm, viewed May 21, 2012; "Photo Firm Founder, Lloyd Cook, Dies,"Milwaukee Journal, May 17, 1972, http://tinyurl.com/6rf4po9, viewed June 1, 2012; "The Family Cook/Cooke," Burr Cook History and Genealogy website, http://www.burrcook.com/history/cook.htm, viewed June 1, 2012; and "L.L. Cook Company, Inc., The," Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website, http://tinyurl.com/83cd6s8, viewed May 30, 2012.)
The L.L. Cook Company was founded in 1921 and was one of the two largest postcard publishing companies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin up to the 1960s, producing thousands of postcards with scenes from different cities and states across the country. The collection presents images of life, architecture and landscape in 105 towns in Texas. Prominent in the collection are Bandera, Brownsville, Del Rio, Edinburg, El Paso, Henderson, Junction, Kilgore, Kingsville, McAllen, Mission, and southern Texas. Dates covered are 1940, 1946-1951, 1953, 1955-1957, 1959, bulk 1948, 1951, 1956. The collection includes 1864 second generation "modern prints" and some film copy media. Modern prints were made from the original cellulose nitrate print negatives by the State Archives' contract photographer, Bill Malone, in the 1970s. Overall, a wide range of subjects are covered including churches, hospitals, schools, swimming pools, factories, homes, post offices, hotels, businesses, courthouses, downtown and main streets, monuments, bridges, beaches, oil fields, rodeo, steers and bulls, dude ranches, calf roping, highway scenes, aerial views of select towns, fruit groves, fields and harvests, rural scenes and fishing.
Images from the collection will be added to the forthcoming Prints and Photographs database, which will soon be available on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission website. An internal list of the images is available from the State Archives until the images are online.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives research room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
Researchers are required to use gloves provided by the State Archives when reviewing photographic materials.
(Identify the item), L.L. Cook Company collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1968/089
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the L.L. Cook Company in 1968.
Preliminary inventory done by John Anderson, about 1988
Scanning and data entry of images into database by Melanie Saegert, April 2012
EAD finding aid prepared by Aditi Worcester, June 2012
Detailed Description of the Records