Reportage, Photography, Video

Mystery photo found in donated book

In News on March 4, 2011 at 7:22 am


The mystery started with a photograph falling out of a donated book at the Algonquin Read’s book sale on Oct 6.

“A student buying a book said, ‘Look at this photo,’” manager of career and student activities at student support services Joanne McDonald said.

The black and white image shows an older man and woman standing to the side of a wood porch. The only text on it reads, “George and Elizabeth Cooke”.

“It was worth trying [to find the owner] because it’s such a nice old photo and it’s probably a memory for someone,” McDonald said.

She passed the photo on to Helena Merriam, the founder of Algonquin Reads. Merriam began sending out e-mails, hoping to locate the owner.

“What I think is kind of neat is it’s just the joy of books in a way. People tuck notes and pictures into books and you can’t do that on the screen. I heard this and thought, ‘Cool! Another reason why I love books,’” Merriam said.

Meanwhile, over on Perth campus, Dean Linda Cooke was getting some strange messages.

“I just started getting e-mails from many people going, ‘Hey, is this you?’” Cooke said, referring to the text on the picture.

Cooke, who had donated books to the book sale, claimed the photo.

“It’s a photo of my great-grandparents,” Cooke said. “They were farmers who lived on Mississippi Lake near Carleton Place.”

Cooke has dated the photo to 1935 and it appears to depict the couple standing in front of their Mississippi Lake home. She speculates they were testing out a new camera when it was taken.

“My father always told us stories about going to visit his grandparents. It was special because [the photo] was the first time I’d seen them,” Cooke said.


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