Primary Sources:
Family letters, almost exclusively from Nelson Cook to his brother Ransom, provided most of the biographical detail on the artist and on some of the portraits, although Nelson wrote more about business, family and personal matters than about his artwork. These letters are in the possession of the Historical Society of Saratoga Springs, NY; NY State Archives, Albany; and the Thomas Davenport Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

In addition, family photographs and some documents were provided by descendants of Nelson Cook. The Brookside Museum, Ballston Spa, NY, now holds a small collection of Cook family volumes: Bible (1845), Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1850), An American Dictionary (1855), and a Cook Family [Photographic] Album (some of these photos are included in the Biography section).

Secondary Sources: The great number of individuals painted by Cook and featured here required countless secondary sources to develop their brief biographies. These include standard history and art reference works, monographs, periodicals, and innumerable websites. We are also indebted to individuals holding Cook portraits in private collections who have shared information on those sitters. Works of particular help include the following:

Research assistance from institutions
(* indicates institutional owner of at least one Nelson Cook portrait)
We appreciate assistance received from the directors, curators, librarians and other staff of these historic and art institutions, many of whom went out of their way to help with research and portrait image placement.