Dr Catherine Cooke (1942–2004) was a renowned scholar of Soviet architecture and design. Over decades, she amassed not only academic books and journals but also a staggering array of ephemeral material—examples of the very subjects she studied and taught. Her extraordinary collection was bequeathed to the Library and has been kept together as a fine example of how books and other objects draw meaning from each other in context.
There are hundreds of postcards in the collection on a wide range of themes. Reaching us from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, they show architectural views, real-life scenes, artistic reproductions, and political statements. Cooke also assembled a great variety of objects from daily life—celebratory badges, food packaging, cigarettes, money, and bookmarks. The diversity of these items is brought together by the pleasing quality of design seen by Cooke, their common collector.