Fannye Cook: Mississippi's Pioneering Conservationist

Fannye Cook: Mississippi's Pioneering Conservationist


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Conservationist Fannye Cook (1889-1964) was the most widely known scientist in Mississippi and was nationally known as the go-to person for biological information or wildlife specimens from the state. This biography celebrates the environmentalist instrumental in the creation of the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission (now called the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks) and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

To accomplish this feat, Cook led an extensive grassroots effort to implement game laws and protect the state's environment. In 1926 she began traveling the state at her own expense, speaking at county fairs, schools, and clubs, and to county boards of supervisors on the status of wildlife populations and the need for management. Eventually she collected a diverse group of supporters from across the state. Due to these efforts, the legislature created the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission in 1932. Thanks to the formation of the Works Progress Administration in 1935, Cook received a WPA grant to conduct a comprehensive plant and animal survey of Mississippi. Under this program, eighteen museums were established within the state, and another one in Jackson, which served as the hub for public education and scientific research.

Fannye Cook served as director of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science until her retirement in 1958. During her tenure, she published many bulletins, pamphlets, scientific papers, and the extensive book Freshwater Fishes of Mississippi.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496814128
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 12/15/2017
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Dorothy Shawhan (1942-2014) was an outstanding educator and writer. She taught at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she chaired the Division of Languages and Literature from 1991 to 2006. She published widely in literary and scholarly journals and authored four books, including the widely popular novel Lizzie, based on the life of a Mississippi governor's daughter, and coauthored a biography, Lucy Somerville Howorth: New Deal Lawyer, Politician, and Feminist from the South.

Marion Barnwell, Jackson, Mississippi, is professor emerita of English at Delta State University.

Libby Hartfield, Bolton, Mississippi, is director emerita of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

A Note on the Author xix

1 Girlhood in Crystal Springs, 1889-1907 3

2 Columbus to College, 1907-11 11

3 School Principal, Teacher, and Student, 1911-18 17

4 The Washington Years, 1918-26 21

5 Bringing the Fight Home, 1926-32 27

6 The Great Depression and the WPA, 1934-41 43

7 Work Continues in the War Years, 1941-45 55

8 War's End, 1945-49 61

9 Directing, Collecting, Organizing, and Publishing in the 1950s 73

10 The Work Goes On, 1959 85

11 The 1960s and the Last Walk 89


1 List of WPA Museums in Mississippi 101

2 The Object of a Biological Survey as Proposed for the State of Mississippi 102

3 Route Travelled and Location of Possible Research Agencies 103

4 Fannye Cook letter to Aldo Leopold, January 28, 1929 104

5 Fannye Cook letter to Aldo Leopold, March 14, 1929 107

6 Aldo Leopold letter to Fannye Cook, March 19, 1929 110

7 Fannye Cook letter to University of Washington, June 20, 1952 111

8 On the Science of Fannye A. Cook 112

Notes 115

Bibliography 125

Index 129

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