Cora Dean was born on November 22, 1883, to Samuel and Katherine (Neilson) in Mayville, North Dakota. She attended grade school in Mayville, high school in Minneapolis, and college at both Mayville State Normal School and the University of Minnesota. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1910 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was a foundation member in Phi Beta Kappa and also a member of A.D.T., Teacher's Club, YWCA, Woman's League, Orchestra, Girls' Glee Club, and the Mystic Order of S.K.T.
She was a teacher at Cando, North Dakota, and was also the principal at Towner High School. On August 15, 1914, Cora Dean married Michael John Furlong of Mayville, North Dakota, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon. On April 1, 1938, Cora Dean became the first contributor to the Student Union Fund at the University of North Dakota.
Cora Dean died November 25, 1962, in Berkeley, California.
The Cora Dean Papers consist of correspondence from the late 1930s, letters of acknowledgment for donations to both the Phi Beta Kappa Society and to the Student Union Fund, and membership certificates.
Sixteen photographs were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets. The photos are of Cora Dean, as well as her family and her farm. An additional photograph album contains pictures ranging from college at the University of North Dakota to the church where she and M. John Furlong wed.
One oversized folder was separated and placed in the Oversize File Cabinet. The folder contains her UND Bachelor of Arts diploma and also drawings by her mother, Katherine.