Queer Women History Forgot: Marguerite Standish Cockett

The out doctor was a philanthropist and archer who helped establish Cooperstown, New York as a cultural destination.

For Women’s History Month, GO is celebrating LGBTQ women we wish we could have learned about in high school history class. 

A doctor, an ambulance driver, curator, philanthropist and archer, Marguerite Standish Cockett was a true Jill of all trades. She studied at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1905 and becoming a resident physician at New England Hospital in Boston. She made a brief move to London and then Paris to study ophthalmology. 

Eventually returning to the U.S., Cockett showed off her sportsmanship when she competed in the 38th National Archery Association tournament at Hudson County Park in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1916, coming in seventh overall. It was around this same time, during World War I, that she also created the all-female ambulance driver group to help the Twentieth French Army Corp in Serbia as part of the American Fund for French Wounded. She also joined the YMCA’s initiative to set up a recreational area for troops, coming back to the States to participate in a speaking tour on behalf of the Liberty Bond, a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I.

Photo by Wikipedia

 

When the war ended, Cockett relocated back to her hometown of Cooperstown, New York settling down with her partner, Marjorie Jackson, and opening up an antique store, The Smithy, in 1922. The building still exists as one of the oldest local historic locations and is now an art gallery and pottery studio. Cockett was involved with the Cooperstown Art Association and often held art shows in her studio. In 1998, The Smithy-Pioneer Gallery held an exhibit in her honor, celebrating her development of ” art and cultural life in the area from 1920 to 1950.”

Affectionately referred to those who knew her as “Doc,” Cockett was a respected, beloved figure in establishing Cooperstown, and it is well-known and recognized that Cockett and Jackson were “companions.” Cockett’s papers detailing much of their lives together are now part of the New York Historical Society