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Cooperology: Stories from the Archives

The Cooper Union Photograph Collection

by Mary Mann on 2022-07-28T17:17:00-04:00 in Archives | Comments

The Cooper Union photograph collection! Eighteen boxes, spanning eighty-seven years of Cooper history, is now at your fingertips! All thanks to the tireless toil of a team of work-study students, who spent many hours over the course of the last year assessing photographs, researching when necessary to confirm dates and subjects, and rehousing them in labeled folders and acid-free boxes. The length of the project is a reminder that making history accessible is labor - material you find on Internet Archive, Google Books, HathiTrust, or Wikipedia was found, scanned, labeled, and uploaded by a person!  

While these thousands of photos have not yet been digitized, in part to protect the privacy of their subjects, their contents have been meticulously documented and listed in the collection finding aid. You can browse it by clicking the down arrow next to any of the numbered boxes listed under "Collection organization" on the finding aid.

Alternatively, you can search for specific subjects by clicking the magnifying glass at the top of the archive search page and typing in whatever you're searching for. Depending on the subject, this search could pull up just photo descriptions, or it could pull up photos and other collections that contain related material. For example, if you search "engineering" you'll find listings for photos of engineering projects, classes, and alumni along with several links to engineering-related collections such as "Records of the Cooper Union Engineering Honor Societies: Mu Alpha Omicron and the Iota Chapter of Tau Beta Pi." If you search "Founder's Day," on the other hand, the result is a lengthy list of photo descriptions only, because there isn't yet a Founder's Day collection.

Once you know we have a photo you're looking for, you can come by and see it in person, or email us to request a scan! You can also email us if you have any questions about searching our finding aids - we're more than happy to help you navigate the site!

Photo Collection Box 1: Eng Computer Center, May 1988


Interested in learning more? Search the Cooper Union photograph collection finding aid. If you'd like to view particular materials in person, please reach out to us at 

Interested in supporting the preservation of Cooper history? You can become a Friend of the Cooper Union Library for as little as $25 (or as much as you want!) View our webpage on giving to the library for more information. 


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The Cooper Union Library
7 E 7th St.
New York, NY