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M. Cubitt Cooke, man of mushrooms and complex family life

Cooke‘s dedication to his mycological work and inner drive probably encouraged the term “eccentric” in the title. He was the proverbial workaholic who wouldn’t let anybody into his study, and everything else in his life was secondary to his mycological, or more generally, his natural history interests. Undoubtedly though, some small part of his eccentricity concerns his complicated personal life. He and his stepdaughter had six children together, all the while both were living with his wife Sophia. (This information rather changed my impression of Victorians.) This led to many confusing situations, at least as far as official records were concerned.

— from Colleen Vachuska’s review (in the March 2005 issue of The Newsletter of the Wisconsin Mycological Society) of Mary English’s book Mordecai Cubitt Cooke: Victorian Naturalist, Mycologist, Teacher Eccentric.

(Thanks to investigator Joan Bennett for bringing this to our attention.)

Improbable Research