Cooke, Morris

Cooke, Morris (Llewellyn)

(1872–1960) mechanical engineer; born in Carlisle, Pa. After graduating from Lehigh University (1895) he worked as a machinist in a shipyard and foundry in Philadelphia. There he became interested in scientific management and, with reservations, accepted Frederick Taylor's theories. From 1911–16 he was director of the Department of Public Works of Philadelphia. His pamphlet, "Snapping Cords," helped force a reduction in electricity rates charged by Philadelphia Electric to rural users, a landmark in the movement for cheap power. In 1923 he became head of the Giant Power Survey to study ways to get cheap electricity in Pennsylvania. In 1932, President Roosevelt appointed him chairman of the Mississippi Valley Committee and from 1935–37 he administered the Rural Electrification Administration. During 1940–41, he was technical consultant to the government, and he initiated a program to subcontract military orders to small companies, which helped revive local economies. In 1950, Truman appointed him chairman of the Water Resources Policy Commission.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.