Cobalt thin films were produced by metal-organic CVD from C5H5Co(CO)2, at various temperatures and for various deposition times. The films have been grown onto glass substrates with no buffer. The crystalline structure, morphology, and composition of the films were analyzed by X-ray diffractometry (XRD), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). Routine XRD patterns were collected in symmetric geometry for phase identification and the sin2ψ diffraction technique was employed to calculate the average in-plane stress. Structural studies indicate that the films tend to grow in island mode, as predicted by theory, and have a structure between that of face-centered cubic (fcc) and hexagonal close-packed (hcp) cobalt. There is significant in-plane tensile stress at the interface with the substrate, which relaxes to a compressive stress an order of magnitude lower at the surface. The films have a relatively low impurity content, as determined by AES, except near the surface.