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Louis (Doc) Joseph Cooke papers

Identifier: uarc 1207

Scope and Content

Collection contains correspondence, clippings, publications and pamphlets, rules and regulations for various sports at the University of Minnesota, as well as Cooke's medical school notebooks.


  • Creation: 1886-1939


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Louis Joseph Cooke (1868-1943)

Louis Joseph (L.J.) Cooke, M.D. Vermont Medical Department, University of Vermont (1894). Director of the Gymnasium (1897-1913); Head Basketball Coach (1897-1924); Head Gymnastics Coach (1897-1913); Medical Examiner and Director of Physical Education for Men (1913-1922); Assistant Director of Physical Education for Men, Director of Ticket Sales, and Lecturer (1922-1936); Professor Emeritus of Physical Education (1936-1943). YMCA Physical Director: Toledo, Ohio; Duluth, Minnesota; Burlington, Vermont; Minneapolis, Minnesota (1889-1897).

L.J. “Doc” Cooke was born February 15, 1868, in Toledo, Ohio. Following his public school education in Toledo and two summer sessions at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, he enrolled in the University of Vermont, earning an M.D. degree in 1894 from the Vermont Medical Department.

From 1889 to 1897, Dr. Cooke served as a YMCA physical director in various U.S. cities. He worked part-time during 1897 as the Director of the Gymnasium for the University of Minnesota. In the fall of that year, Dr. Cooke became the full-time director, a position he held until 1913 when he was named Director of Physical Education for Men.

He introduced the game of basketball to the University and served as its head coach from 1897 to 1924, leading many championship teams including the undefeated 1919 team. Dr. Cooke also served as the head coach for the University’s gymnastics team from 1897 to 1913.

Dr. Cooke was instrumental in building the physical education and intercollegiate athletics programs for men at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his administrative responsibilities and gymnasium supervision, he also gave a series of well-known personal hygiene lectures to freshman students, highlighted by his advice often expressed in verse form.

Upon his retirement from the University in 1936, Dr. Cooke was named Professor Emeritus of Physical Education. He remained active in University athletics following retirement, traveling with the football team to away games and attending home events for all University athletics teams. At their April 20, 1938 meeting, the Board of Regents voted to name the Indoor Athletics Building for Dr. Cooke. A portrait of Dr. Cooke presented to him by the University’s M Club (athletics lettermen club) in 1937 was installed in the foyer of Cooke Hall following its naming.

L.J. Cooke died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 19, 1943.


1 box (1.0 cubic foot)


Collection contains the personal and professional papers of L.J. "Doc" Cooke, professor of physical education, athletic director, and men's basketball coach at the University of Minnesota.

Source of acquisition

Collection was created by removing materials from the Athletics Records.

Related Materials in University Archives

Athletics Records

Louis (Doc) Joseph Cooke Papers, 1886-1939
Archives and Special Collections Staff
August 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area