Camille Cook Collection
Extent of Collection
33 reels of 16mm totaling approximately 4490 feet; 21 reels of 8mm totaling approximately 3960 feet; 1 reel of Super 8mm totaling approximately 150 feet
Language Of Materials
The films in the Camille Cook Collection had previously been stored at the Gene Siskel Film Center, before being transported to CFA in May 2016.
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Since the mid-1960s, Camille J. Cook has founded and maintained multiple arts advocacy organizations in film exhibition, fiber arts, and culinary arts in the city of Chicago as well as where she currently lives in Western Springs, Il. During her time at Northwestern University (1950-1954), she was a Mortar Board member and President of Women Off Campus, graduating with a BS in Art History, Painting, & Design. In 1966, she founded the Magick Lantern Society, one of the first presenters of experimental films in Chicago, screening underrepresented and noncommercial art films at the Tribune Tower and the Museum of Contemporary Art. By 1973, Cook’s program evolved into the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, known today as the Gene Siskel Film Center. As founder & co-director w/ film scholar and critic B. Ruby Rich, Cook encouraged the idea of film as a serious art form and provided a unique venue in Chicago that offered a range of carefully curated film art in technically accurate facilities. In 1982, Cook created the Culinary and Fine Arts Club publication, an international group and newsletter celebrating gastronomy and fine art. By 1991, she founded the non-profit arts advocacy organization Friends of Fiber Art International, whose mission it is to promote art made of flexible materials or constructed using textile techniques. Since its inception, Friends has awarded more than a quarter million dollars in support of fiber art projects that educate the public about the medium. She presided as President until its dissolution in 2017. Since the genesis of Friends, Cook has lived in Western Springs, Il with her husband Alex W. Cook until his passing in 2017, with whom she made many films and developed an extensive Fiber art collection with. She continues on the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Advisory Board.