A few days ago, on 4 May 2018, Canadian children’s author Lyn Cook turned 100, the second of our authors to do so during the course of our project’s development.
I spoke to Lyn a few years ago—I believe she was 96 at the time—and she was a sharp, engaging woman, whose acumen belied her advancing age. It pleases me greatly that she is still with us, especially as her daughter, Deborah, with whom I was in contact, died recently of cancer. At the time, Lyn promised to send me copies of her poetry chapbooks—she self-published three in the 1940s under the pseudonym Margaret Culverhouse, a combination of her second name with her maternal grandmother’s maiden name—but sadly Deborah was unable to find them (“I know I have extra copies somewhere…”).
Lyn Cook was an extremely popular children’s author in the 1950s and 60s. Her first book, The Bells on Finland Street (1950) was based on her experiences as a young mother in Sudbury, Ontario, where the population included a mixture of various Scandinavian and other European cultures. The Bells on Finland Street was followed by 20 other books for children, as well as a Girl Guide Brownie handbook and a study guide for her most successful novel, Samantha’s Secret Room (1963).
Here is an announcement of Lyn’s 100th birthday, published yesterday (5 May 2018) in the Toronto Globe & Mail. A more complete biography is posted in the Canada’s Early Women Writers project at the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory.