National Cowboy Hall of Fame

Oklahoma City, OK

(405) 478-2250


Jack Cooke (left)


Jack Cooke and Edward L. Gaylord Assume New Leadership Roles On National Cowboy Hall of Fame's Board of Directors


Businessman and philanthropist A.J. "Jack' Cooke of San Francisco, California, a longtime member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center's board of directors, was recently (October 1998) named chairman of the board. Edward L. Gaylord of Oklahoma City, who has served in that role since 1986, has been elevated to emeritus status. The national board includes prominent business and cultural leaders from across the United States.

Left: Edward L. Gaylord II

Although Jack Cooke has served since 1964 as Director of The Hearst Corporation, one of the largest diversified communications companies in the world, it was his interest and love of the American West that first drew him to the museum in 1972. More than two decades later, the organization's mission to preserve America's western heritage through an outstanding art and history collection, and to share the significance of our past through exhibitions and educational programming, still reflect his own interests and philosophy.

"We feel that this museum holds an important place in America," Mr. Cooke says."There are similar organizations that have a similar focus. But above all, this is a cultural 'hall of fame' and I think this is one way that our national heritage is grounded," he adds.

The Illinois-born businessman spent his early summers on the family's New Mexico ranch. He later attended Cornell University where he earned an agricultural degree. He was to use this foundation in managing large farm and ranching interests in Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Arizona, and Colorado. By 1960, Jack Cooke had assumed management of the ranching, farming, timber, mining and San Francisco real estate divisions ofThe Hearst Corporation. He became the organization's director four years later.

In 1972, Jack Cooke was apgointed by Governor Ronald Reagan to the Number 1-A District Agricultural Association, known as the Cow Palace Board. He served as the organization's president for 20 years. Mr. Cooke has also served on the Boards of the California Cattlemen's Association, the National Cutting Horse Association, and the California Beef Council. He was a charter member of the National Cattleman's Association and founded the Grand National Foundation which assists junior stockmen across the nation.

As Chairman of the Board For the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, Jack Cooke now leads a growing organization with more than 300,000 visitors annually and an increasingly interested and devoted international audience. The national museum has recently added more than 140,000 square feet of exhibit and gallery space as part of the "Visions of the West" capital campaign. A life-size replica of a turn-of-the century cattle town and two major exhibition spaces -- The American Cowboy Gallery and The American Rodeo Gallery are scheduled for completion in 1999. The new exhibition spaces are devoted to the American cowboy, rodeo, western myths and legends -- complete with historic artifacts.

Founded in 1965, the private, nonprofit national museum houses an incomparable collection of art, artifacts, and historic documents chronicling the history, development, and emerging future of the American West.

"It's a pleasure and it continues to be a pleasure to associate with this museum," says Jack Cooke. "We've heard from people that we're closely associated with on the east coast, trustees and directors of museums in New York and elsewhere. The Hall is now mentioned prominently in these circles, which is gratifying to those of us who have devoted time, energy, and resources to its development."


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (formerly National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center) in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements. Images courtesy of National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center


This page was originally published 10/24/98 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 11/28/11

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