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 May Elizabeth Cook  (1863 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: sculptor-figure, bas-relief portrait

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Mary Elizabeth Cook is primarily known as May Elizabeth Cook

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May Elizabeth Cook
An example of work by Mary Elizabeth Cook
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted November 2004, is from William M. Cook, great-nephew of the artist.

"Our family has her actual birth-date as 12/31/1863. Some published material shows 1864. She was born in Chillicothe, OH with the name of Mary Elizabeth Cook, but later (date unknown) began using May instead of Mary.

She is probably most known for her creation of the "Peter Pan" figure atop the fountain in front of the Columbus Public Library. She also created bronze bas-relief sculptures of Rutherford B. Hayes, Warren G. Harding, James Garfield, and others, on display in the main corridor of the Ohio Supreme Court Building, Columbus, OH.

In 1918, she enlisted in the Army's Women Volunteers and became involved with the rehabilitation of soldiers with facial injuries from WWI. She developed a method of creating a ceramic mask of the injured face and then developed models for the surgeons to work by to do the reconstructive surgery.

Her involvement went far beyond the mere technical aspects of the work. For example, she devised ways to get the patients involved in making pottery and other ceramics to assist them in their rehabilitation. Much of the work was done at her own expense and she was never repaid by the US Government.

In 1943, she was injured in a fall from a scaffold and spent much of the remaining years hospitalized until she died in 1951 at age 87."
A sculptor, lithographer and designer for Roseville Pottery in Zanesville, Ohio, May Cook studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academy Colarossi. She was a member of the National Sculpture Society, the American Ceramic Society and the National Art Club. Exhibition venues included the Paris Salon where she was recognized for the 600 life masks she did during World War II for facial reconstruction of injured soldiers.

She created Art Deco sculptural reliefs in the 1930s for public buildings.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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