top of page


Getting Doc To Stay


M'Veigh to Quiz Cook [sic] Resignation From Kalaupapa

     J. D. McVeigh, supervising member of the board of health, will leave for Molokai next week to investigate the reason for the resignation of R. L. Cook [sic], superintendent of the Kalaupapa leper colony.

     Cook's [sic] resignation was submitted to the board without any reason assigned, and was accepted at its meeting last Wednesday. McVeigh believes he is contemplating entering some new field of business.

     Cook's [sic] resignation is effective December 1, and McVeigh will confer with him regarding the selection of a successor.

     Dr. Ralph L. McArthur, newly appointed physician for the leper colony, will leave for Molokai next week to take up his duties there.




    "We want to see Superintendent Cooke stay."

     Such is the way a writer to The Star Bulletin sums up his letter in which he presents a plea form the standpoint of the inmates of the leper colony for more permanence in the matter of superintendents, and particularly for the retention of R. L. Cooke, who recently resigned.

     The writer of the letter believes that the salary of the superintendent had something to do with Cooke's resignation and urges that the board of health take such steps as are necessary to bring the salary up to that of the executive members of the medical staff.

     Since Mr. Cooke took charge in July of 1925, say The Star Bulletin's informant, the settlement has been cleaned up, buildings repaired and painted, rats exterminated and the lantana cleared away.

      "Mr. Cooke is good to us," says the spokesman for a group at Kalaupapa, "and the best of all, everybody receives a square deal. He is well liked and during the two years he has been here there has not been one complaint. For years there had been complaints about Kalaupapa and the Kalihi receiving station for lepers and when we do get a good superintendent something goes wrong with the board of health. Please have Mr. Cooke's salary raised and ask Mr. Cooke to withdraw his resignation."

     The letter is good indication that "Doc" Cooke had the liking and confidence of the inmates of the leper settlement.




14 Hop Hospital Fence In Two Weeks; Held Health Menace


Nurse Who Told Of Food Thefts At Asylum Quits


Strict disciplinary action to stop the growing practice of fence-jumping at the Kalihi hospital ws advocated at a meeting of the board of health yesterday.

     During the past two weeks, according to Dr. F. E. Trotter, president, 14 patients at the hospital have “gone over the fence.”

     Governor W. R. Farrington has approved the employment of extra guards at the hospital whose salaries will be paid out of the territorial contingent fund, Dr. Trotter said.

     Members of the board declared the practice a menace to the public health and urged action be taken that will strengthen the discipline of the institution.

     All of the 14 fence jumpers who have been in the hospital six month and who are over 16 years of age were ordered transferred to Molokai by the board.


     A petition was received from the patients at the Kalaupapa settlement asking that the board of health take action to induce Superintendent R. L. Cooke, who has resigned, to reconsider his action.

     The petition was adopted at a mass meeting of the inmates on August 13. A similar petition was sent to Governor Farrington. There were 439 patients present at the meeting.

     Because of Cooke’s “able and capable” management of the settlement and also because of his interest and devotion to “our plight,” the patients in the petition “beg the board of health to take some action whereby Cooke will be retained as superintendent.” The petition suggests that the board investigate conditions at the settlement and learn of “the contentment and happiness” that Cooke’s management has brought about.

     In discussing the petition Dr. Trotter said no one had asked Cooke to submit his resignation, which is effective December 31, 1927. Trotter said Cooked had submitted an earlier resignation effective June 31. Cooke was asked to reconsider and finally submitted his resignation for December, Trotter said.

     The board voted to send a letter to Cooke asking him to reconsider his resignation.

     Reports from the examining boards of Maui and Kauai for full discharge of parolees from the Molokai settlement were approved by the board. The Maui board recommended continued treatment for four parolers. The Kauai board recommended the full discharge of one parolees, continued treatment for four others, and recommitment to Kalihi hospital for four of the parolers. All those examined have been on parole for more than four years.

     The resignation of Henry Y. Chin, male nurse at the territorial hospital for the insane, effective October 22, was approved by the board. Chin was one of the star witnesses in the recent investigation of food thefts from the hospital. He told of food being stolen and also complained that patients were treated with cruelty.

     The following appointments were approved by the board:

     Miss Mabel Smyth, director of the bureau of maternity and infant hygiene; Miss Evelyn Schoen, nurse in the same bureau; Mrs. Marion Franson and Mrs. Helen Shepherd, nurses; J. S. Careers, acting chief sanitary inspector for Hawaii; Mrs. R. D. Mallard, temporary nurse, Kohala district; Adam A. Pali, sanitary inspector, Kalihi hospital; and John Aikau, sanitary inspector, Hana district.



Board of Health Desires Superintendent There To Continue In Office

Star Bulletin, Honolulu

August 24, 1927

Steps seeking to have R. L. Cooke, superintendent of the Kalaupapa settlement, reconsider his recent resignation which becomes effective December 31, 1927, will be taken by the board of health.

     A letter asking Cooke to reconsider will be sent, it was decided at the regular board meeting yesterday, following the reading of a petition sign by 439 inmates of the settlement addressed to the board. The petition requested the board “to take some action whereby Cooke will be retained as superintendent.”

     Dr. F. E. Trotter, president of the board, told members that Cooke had not been requested to submit his resignation.The superintendent’s first resignation was effective July 31, but when asked to reconsider his action Cooke postponed the date until December, Dr. Trotter said.

     During the last two weeks 14 patients have left Kalihi receiving station by jumping the fence, according to a report given by Dr. Trotter. After being found the fence jumpers who were more than 16 years old, were ordered to the settlement at Molokai.

     Employment of extra guards at the receiving station has been approved by Governor W. R. Farrington, Dr. Trotter told the board. Strict measures to have patients kept within the station will be taken as they are a menace to public health when at large, member of the board said.

     Henry Y. Chin’s resignation as nurse at the territorial hospital for the insane, effective October 22, was approved by the board. Chin was a complaining witness in a recent inquiry into charges that food was being stolen from the hospital.



August 25, 1927

    Appeals from the inmates of the leper settlement at Molokai have been effective. The board of health yesterday voted to send a letter to R. L. Cooke, superintendent who recently sent in a letter of resignation, asking him to reconsider. The Star Bulletin published an early statement of behalf of the lepers, seeking the retention of "Doc" Cooke, and petitions to this effect have now been filed with the board of health and with Governor Farrington.



Reconsiders Decision to Resign as Kalaupapa Superintendent

R.L. Cooke, superintendent of the Kalaupapa settlement, announced yesterday that due to the expressed wishes of the patients and the board of health he has reconsidered his decision to resign December 31 and has decided to remain in his present position.

     In an exclusive statement to The Advertiser Cooke said:

     “In view of the fact that those directly concerned - that is the people of Kalaupapa - have seen fit to express their appreciation of present conditions at the settlement and that the board of health has kindly considered their petition,  there is no other sporting alternative than continuing on with the work.


     “Naturally I appreciate the attitude of the Kalaupapa patients and the board of health and hope they will never have cause to regret their request that I remain.”

     Cooke has proved one of the most popular superintendents that the settlement has ever had. He attempted to resign in May effective June 30 but was dissuaded from this by the board of health and the inmates of the colony.

     In July he tendered his resignation effective December 31. This was accepted by the board. However at a mass meeting of the patients of the settlement it was unanimously voted to petition the board of health and Governor W. R. Farrington to use their influence to make Cooke reconsider his resignation.

     And now Cooke has re-considered and announced that he will continue on. He has been superintendent of the settlement since July 1, 1925.

     Cooke was asked if his resignation had been based on any monetary consideration


     “There has never been any thought of salary as far as I am concerned. I feel that my reward is in making the people of the settlement happy and I am satisfied with that.

     “Money in this kind of work means nothing. What is important is the amount of good that you can do. We have Brother Dutton who has spent years of his life at Kalaupapa without any salary at all. And then I have been told by one of Honolulu’s weathiest meant that he would not take my job for $1,000 a month. But that means nothing. The important thing is to make the unfortunate inmates of Kalaupapa happy - to make their life livable.

     Cooked arrived in Honolulu last Saturday. He is taking an intensive course in accountancy in connection with his position. He plans to return to the settlement Thursday afternoon.

bottom of page