Skip to main content

Ralph Cook Scrapbook

Identifier: RH-A-4256

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of one bound book containing letters from 1942-1945 by Dr. Ralph Cook (1881-1959) from Kalamazoo Michigan.

The letters consist of correspondence between staff at Borgess and Bronson Hospitals and Dr. Clark and updates from Kalamazoo Academy members that were serving overseas during World War Two, local news, workplace chatter.

The contents of letters consisted of correspondence and updates on various procedures and practices between doctors at both hospitals. There are also letters from members of the academy who were serving overseas in World War Two, the letters provided an insight into life as doctors in war; the conditions they faced and the weather they endured. In the letters by Dr. Cook he created a series of bimonthly “newsletters” which was sent to Academy members in service which continued throughout the war.


  • Creation: 1942-1945


Biographical / Historical

Dr. Ralph Cook was born 1881 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Alta and Alice Cook. In 1905 Cook married Haidee Esther Mundwiler (1883-1971). They eventually moved to Kalamazoo Michigan where Dr. Cook worked as a the Kalamazoo County Coroner from 1916-1958. In addition to being the county coroner, Dr. Cook was also the President of the Kalamazoo Academy of Medicine in 1940.

During World War Two, Dr. Cook successfully organized an in-house 24 hour physician call system for emergencies which rotated monthly between Bronson and Borgess Hospital, this was considered to be the first community wide medical preparedness plan in the country. Dr. Cook was also Kalamazoo’s First Public Health Officer and First Medical Superintendent of Fairmount Hospital. He died in Kalamazoo in 1959 at the age of 78.


1 Volumes

Language of Materials


Custodial History

This collection was discovered within the Kalamazoo Academy of Medicine collection A-439. The letters were originally owned and complied by Dr. Don Marshall.

Physical Description

This collection in composed of one bound book containing letters from 1942-1945 both written and addressed to and from Dr. Ralph Cook (1881-1959) who worked as a physician in Kalamazoo. The book is in great condition; there is little to no damage on the front or back cover, there is slight staining on the cover and the pages but nothing too damaging.

The letters are all typewritten and are easily legible, the letters are organized by chronological order, there are a total of 177 pages. The size of the book is 14”x9”x1” the letters were copied and bound.


Ralph Cook papers finding aid
Ian Daly; Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490