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The Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections

Cooper, Hewitt & Co. Exhibit: Jan-Feb 2024

by Mary Mann on 2024-02-01T12:36:00-05:00 in Archives | 0 Comments

Their head office was 17 Burling Slip, right around the corner from the blood, shouts, and shining scales of the old Fulton Fish Market, center of the national seafood trade.  

Other neighbors were foundries, manufactories, exporters, and saloons, all housed in three-to-four story buildings. Ships from around the world docked just east, while to the west Trinity Church loomed over everything, the tallest building in the U.S. with a spire reaching 279 feet. 

Loud, dirty, and busy streets at the hub of a nation... 

...this was the world of Cooper, Hewitt & Co. 

Letters addressed to 17 Burling Slip cover a wide variety of topics, from railroads to sewing machines, stranded nurses to periodicals at the new Cooper Union.  

Cooper, Hewitt & Co. served as a managing firm for all of Peter Cooper’s business interests, which included not just The Cooper Union but also the Trenton Iron Company, Ringwood Ironworks, New Jersey Steel and Iron Co., Peter Cooper's Glue Factory, and a variety of political projects.  

“Cooper” referred to both Peter Cooper and his son, Edward; “Hewitt” was Abram Hewitt, Peter’s son-in-law and Edward’s one-time tutor and friend—they bonded while shipwrecked together off the coast of Cape May in 1844. In a library exhibit on display from January-February 2024, you can find just a sampling of the business they tackled as Cooper, Hewitt & Co., while much more is housed in the Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections and available to researchers, thanks to our wonderful donors! 

The acquisition of this collection was made possible by a generous donation from Cross Ridge Foundation as well as a matching group donation from the following individuals: Michael Borkowsky, Peter Buckley, Barry Drogin, Sean Cusack, Ethan Elenberg, David Ellison, Judith Ann Gerrard, Sangamithra Iyer, John Leeper, Mary Lynch, Margaret Matz, Lisa Norberg, Robert Tan, Robert Topper, Bill Wolf, Carol Wolf, and Gilly Youner. 

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