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COOK, Anna Blanche

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Family History: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=63bsmith1&id=I375

Anna Blanche Cook

COOK, Anna Blanche. (Warsaw, IN, Feb. 24, 1874--Dubuque, IA, Feb. 11,1923). The parish deaconess of ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, Cook was also superintendent of the junior department of the St. Luke's Sunday School, director of Bible study of the Epworth League, and president of the Mother's Club. She was also among the managers of the Girls Branch of the YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.W.C.A.). In 1913 she was involved with the DUBUQUE INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION organizing an effort in Iowa to combat "loan sharks." (1) She is best remembered in Dubuque as one of the organizers and prominent workers at the DUBUQUE VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION.

Cook was a driving force behind the organization and development of the Hillcrest Deaconess Home and Baby Fold, a predecessor of HILLCREST FAMILY SERVICES. Dr. Nancy HILL, concerned for the unwed mothers in Dubuque and their children, had established the Women's Rescue Society on February 26, 1896. Together they secured four acres with a 12-room house along Asbury Road and established the Industrial School. This provided childcare and training for unwed mothers until 1909 when it was forced to close for lack of funding. (2)

Cook organized and conducted the first public fund-raising effort for the facility. (3) With a group of concerned church women, she established the Hillcrest Deaconess Home and Baby Fold in 1914 after the Women's Rescue Society deeded their fourteen room house and barn on Asbury Road, 4.6 acres of land, and transferred a mortgage of $1700 and $276 cash to the Upper Iowa Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. (4)

St. Luke's accepted financial responsibility for the Home with other churches in the community making contributions. In 1924, accepting a proposal made by Cook, the Home was officially renamed the HILLCREST BABY FOLD to commemorate Dr. Hill's contributions.

An Anna Blanche Cook Circle was in existence at St. Luke's Church by 1943. (5) In 1993 officials of Hillcrest Family Services announced the establishment of the Anna Blanche Cook Society. This honored people who continued the tradition of Anna Cook through their annual gifts. Charter memberships in the society were open to those contributing $500 to the agency. (6)

(Photo Credit: Hillcrest Family Services)



1. "Corporation Will Fight Loan "Sharks," Telegraph Herald, January 9, 1913, p. 1

2. Hogstrom, Erik. "Hillcrest Celebrates 100 Years of Service," Telegraph Herald, October 26, 2014 p. 15

3. "Hill Crest Baby Fold is Opened," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 12, 1914, p. 7

4. "Society to Honor Hillcrest Donors," Telegraph Herald, March 23, 1993, p. 5

5. "Daily Calendar," Telegraph Herald, October 3, 1943, p. 9

6. "Society to Honor..."