Cooke, Edmund Vance

Cooke, Edmund Vance (1866 - 1932)


Edmund Vance Cooke, popularly known as "the poet laureate of childhood," was born on June 5, 1866, in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. He began working at 13-14 years old for the White Sewing Machine Co. factory and stayed there for 14 years until he became a self-employed poet and lecturer in 1893. His first book of poems, A Patch of Pansies, came out the next year. Four years later, he married Lilith Castleberry; and they had five children. He published at least 16 books of verse, as well as other books, but he is best known for his poem "How Did You Die?" Once the Detroit News launched its radio station, WWJ, in 1920, Cooke broadcast his own poems. In this he pioneered a path that Edgar Guest was to take nationwide in the 1930s. Cooke died in Cleveland on December 18, 1932.

Cooke's main books of verse appear to be:

  • A Patch of Pansies (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894). Microtext Reading Room CIHM no. 29307. Robarts Library (from PS 3505 O56 1894 Library of Congress)
  • Impertinent Poems (Boston: Forbes, 1903). Also (New York: Dodge, 1907). LE C7727imp Robarts Library
  • Rimes to be Read (Chicago: W. B. Conkey, 1897). PS 3505 O62 R5 York University Library. Revised edition 1905.
  • Chronicles of the Little Tot (New York: Dodge, 1905).
  • Told to the Little Tot (New York: Dodge, 1906).
  • A Morning's Mail (Philadelphia: Pearson, 1907).
  • Little Songs for Two (New York: Dodge, 1909).
  • I Rule the House (New York: Dodge, 1910).
  • Basebology (Chicago: Forbes, 1912).
  • The Story Club (New York: Dodge, 1912).
  • The Uncommon Commoner (New York: Dodge, 1913).
  • Just Then Something Happened (New York: Dodge, 1914).
  • Cheerful Children (Chicago: Beckley-Cardy, 1923).
  • Brass Tacks Ballads (Chicago: Bookfellows, 1924).
  • Companionable Poems (Chicago: A. C. McClurg, 1924).
  • From the Book of Extenuations (New York: George H. Doran, 1926).

For a brief life, see The National Cyclopædia of American Biography 23 (New York: James T. White, 1933): 101-02.

Given Name
Edmund Vance
Family Name
Birth Date
June 5, 1866
Death Date
December 18, 1932
Literary Period
Literary Movement