Martha Cook Building

100th Anniversary Books Available

The Martha Cook Building’s First 100 Years by Kathy Graneggen Moberg and Catherine Walsh Davis and With Portia O’er the Door, edited by Pamela Sameck Wiedenbeck, published to commemorate Martha Cook’s 100th anniversary, are available on with the “look inside” feature to give you a feel for what they are like.

Each book costs $15. If you prefer not to order online, you may mail a check payable to Kathy Moberg, to 1256 Harwood Cir., Saline, MI 48176. Please add $4 shipping for each book. Profits for both volumes benefit MCB.

photo 100th anniversary books

President Ford at MCB

The Michigan Heritage Project, an online production of the Office of the U-M Vice President for Communications, is described as “a collection of multimedia stories about the people who have shaped, and been shaped by, one of the world’s great public universities.” This April, an article about President Gerald R. Ford’s 1977 visit to campus, titled "Professor Ford," was added to the archives and it includes an account of the sit-down dinner he attended at MCB.

photo President Ford at MCB

The Adventure of Cleaning Out the 4th Floor Store Rooms

Deb Day Jansen BS ’75, MS ’77

Shannon Meeks, Facilities Manager for the Martha Cook Building, mentioned to me that she wanted to clear out old, broken furniture from the storerooms on the 4th floor. Coincidentally, the House Board recently said that they would like to reopen the Sewing Room on the 4th floor and turn it into a student lounge, but it was overflowing with old furniture. I knew these two conversations were going to set me off on a real adventure, and we were going to find some treasures in those old storerooms.

photo of Martha memories

Portia’s Centennial

Kathy Graneggen Moberg BA ’79

MCB’s elaborate Gothic portal was designed well before construction commenced in 1914 and applied as a logo to interior wood and stonework as well as on letterhead, dishes and silverware, the central niche remained empty for nearly three years. William W. Cook and his architects, York and Sawyer, began seriously discussing an appropriate fi gure to fi ll the space in the spring of 1917. Cook fi rst suggested a bust of Minerva. That idea was diplomatically discouraged in favor of a full-length fi gure, preferably medieval to match the architectural style. By the end of June, Cook made his choice: Portia, the educated female character who masquerades as a lawyer in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.


The Friendship Circle

Marion Law

I am happy to share that with the close cooperation of the Hall Director, Hiba Baghdadi, and our Graduate Community Coordinator, Caitlin Corker, all of us in Martha Cook have had an excellent school year. On the events side, not only have we enjoyed our own traditional events, but we joined with the University community in several instances to celebrate the Bicentennial.

A Bit of History: House Rules in U-M’s Centennial Era

By Catherine Walsh Davis BA’70, MM’76

In 1917, U-M celebrated its centennial, but the residence hall movement was in its nascence, with only Martha Cook, Helen Newberry, a few sororities, and League Houses (approved boarding houses) available to women. University-wide rules for women’s housing were still being developed, but those that existed were stringent by today’s standards and were meant to protect the reputations of the campus women.

Photo from 1917 MCB Annual

Our Venus at 100

By Kathy Graneggen Moberg BA ‘79

The statue of Venus knows no age, no nationality and no locality. I thought it was cosmopolitan, belonging to all ages, all nations and localities. Venus, you know, according to the Greeks, was born of the foam of the wave, and hence was a child of nature. Her statue a finished product of nature, touched by the hand of man, is, like the hills, al-ways new, however old. You would not dare to say that she is not as young now as she was in the days of Troy. You dare not.”

Venus photo