Anyone interested in Cooke should read the biography of him by Mary English. After a brief stint as a school-teacher, he made his living writing and illustrating books on a wide variety of topics in natural history. His life, even during the heighday of the Victorian fad for nature (which led to the extinction of several British birds and lichens through over-collecting), was a continual struggle for subsistence, which he supplemented by issuing 1300 species of exsiccati. Even when his books were popular, he ended up spending the extra money on the unpopular ones. His non-fungal work was mostly compilation (his Myxomycetes of Great Britain, for example, is just a translation of Rostafinski's treatise of the previous year), and sometimes he blindly reproduced the authors of sources whose incompetency he was not qualified to recognize.
After many years as editor and publisher of the popular magazine Science Gossip, he sold it and started the more scientific publicationGrevillea, for which he wrote most of the contents during the 20 years that he owned it. He was also very proud that both journals made money under him, but not under the people who took them over.