Thomas Cook, 1808–92, English travel agent. In Leicester in 1841 he founded the travel agency that bears his name. The idea of the guided tour met with quick success, and by 1852 Cook had moved his office to London. Shortly thereafter he set up (1856) his Circular Tour of Europe, and 10 years later he was arranging tours of the United States. His most spectacular achievement was the transportation of an entire expeditionary force (18,000 men) up the Nile for the attempted relief of Gen. Charles George Gordon in 1884.