Peter Cooper   

Inventor, industrialist, entrepreneur, presidential candidate, philanthropist and visionary, Peter Cooper was one of the most brilliant and complex New Yorkers of the 19th century.  His contributions ranged from the design of America's first steam engine and the laying of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable to the invention of instant gelatin, to which his wife Sarah added fruit and created the world's first Jell-O dessert.

Cooper was a laborer's son who achieved greatness despite a lack of formal education. He believed that education should be "as free as water and air" and so created the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, one of the first colleges to offer a free education to working-class children and to women.

To learn more about Peter Cooper and his legacy, go to "About Cooper Union > History" on the college's website.

      Peter Cooper: writings       
             Peter Cooper's Letter to the Trustees, April 29, 1859

Peter Cooper's Address, November 2, 1859

      Peter Cooper: a portrait gallery       
  click on images to view larger format              
ca. 1850
ca. 1850
posthumous portrait by
Virginia Tucker
     ca. 1870

ca. 1870-80
ca. 1870-80
    Relief portrait by
    Gaetano Cecere
Statue in Cooper Park by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
 "Bread Currency" from Cooper's 1876 presidential campaign
The Cooper Archives
    Mission Statement  
    Historical Documents  

   The Foundation Building   

  last updated February 14, 2012