Peter Cooper (1791‑1883) was a manufacturer, inventor, philanthropist, and founder of Cooper Union. Cooper's son‑in‑law and business partner Abram S. Hewitt (1822‑1903) was a manufacturer, philanthropist, Congressional Representative from New York, and mayor of New York City. The families were prominent among 19th century Americans, and had myriad business, cultural, and philanthropic interests.
Description of Collection:
The collection documents the lives and work of Peter Cooper, Abram S. Hewitt, and their families. Included are correspondence, published and manuscript speeches and other writings, account books and other financial documents, photographs, and miscellaneous documents. Also included are books from Peter Cooper's personal library, and books, clippings, and other printed material about Cooper and Hewitt and their activities. Topics covered include Cooper and Hewitt family matters, property, Hewitt's mayoralty, Cooper Union, the Atlantic Cable for which Peter Cooper was a backer, women's suffrage, labor in New York City, Peter Cooper's inventions, and the railroad, iron and steel (including the Trenton Iron Company) and glue businesses in which Cooper or Hewitt or both were involved.
This collection formed the nucleus of the Cooper Archives. Most of it has been cataloged in library fashion, with the books and many of the papers (such as those related to the Atlantic Telegraph and those related to railroad interests) cataloged separately and indexed in a standard card catalog. There remain three series of unanalyzed papers:
Provenance: The papers came to Cooper Union following the death of Peter Cooper’s grandson (and Abram Hewitt’s son), Erskine Hewitt in 1938.
Extent of Collection: ca. 216 linear ft.