Dr Francis R. Cook was curator of Herpetology at the Canadian Museum of Nature from 1960 - 1993, and faithfully went into
the Museum on a daily basis as a Research Associate for as long as his health allowed. He also was the longest-serving
editor of the Canadian Field Naturalist, carrying on a busy correspondence with his colleagues as Canada’s senior
Herpetologist until his death in 2019, just a few months after being awarded the Order of Canada for his lifelong service.
Fragile Inheritance has received 130 bins of Francis’s archives from his widow the entomologist Joyce Cook — journals, catalogues, correspondence, reprints, and manuscripts, including that of his magnum opus, “The Amphibians and Reptiles of Canada” for which Aleta Karstad painted almost all the species from life. In the summer of 2022 Fragile Inheritance will be working with the North Grenville Historical Society and interns through Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Canada to sort, catalog and digitize Francis Cook’s archives. We also plan to work with others to analyze the long term monitoring of amphibian populations that Francis conducted in and around their “Maplestone Farm” near Bishops Mills, Ontario, and work towards publishing Francis’s book “Amphibians and Reptiles of Canada”