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The Cooper Family Papers

A collection that documents the life of Peter Cooper’s family through personal letters and business correspondence from the mid 1700’s to the mid 1800’s. Included in these manuscripts are land deeds dating back to Peter Cooper’s great-grandparents, Cornelia and Obadiah Cooper; claims made by John Cooper and John Campbell to secure pensions received from serving in the Revolutionary War; poems; prose; and letters from Peter Cooper’s brothers, sisters, cousins, mother, and father -- John Cooper, Margaret Cooper, Sarah Cooper, Martha Cooper, Edward Cooper, Henrietta Cooper, Adelia Cooper, among others.


Records of the New York Electrical Society, 1881-1948

Includes minutes, photographs and detailed descriptions of meetings.  The Society's members explored discoveries in all areas of science, not restricted solely to electrical topics.


Abram S. Hewitt Papers, 1803-1903, Transcribed by Albert Heusser

A list of volumes and subjects that comprise the 42 volumes of typed transcripts of the correspondence of Abram S. Hewitt (1822-1903).  These volumes were compiled by Hewitt's intended biographer, Albert Heusser, who died before he could complete the work.


Astor Place Renovation, 1978-1986

In 1978 the Committee for Astor Place was created to renovate the then deteriorating Astor Place subway station. Cooper Union and New York University co-chaired the organization, which found help from the likes of Milton Glaser, Brooke Astor, and The Vincent Astor Foundation. The architectural firm Prentice & Chan, Ohlhausen signed on and in 1986, renovation was completed. This collection includes correspondence, press releases, mission proposals, and photographs.


Cooper-Hewitt Papers, Bequest of Erskine Hewitt, 1938

Includes correspondence, published and manuscript speeches and other writings, account books, financial documents and photographs documenting the lives and work of Peter Cooper (1791-1883) and Abram S. Hewitt (1822-1903) and their families.  Also included are books from Peter Cooper's personal library.


Cooper-Hewitt Papers received from the Passaic County Historical Society

Includes papers from Abram S. Hewitt's terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and his term as Mayor of New York City, and documents from Cooper, Hewitt & Company, including transactions during the Civil War to procure gun iron for the United States government; business correspondence with John Roebling and his wire factory in Brooklyn, and correspondence pertaining to railroads. Also included is some Cooper-Hewitt family correspondence, and material relating to Hewitt's real estate interests, telegraph companies, and the iron industry. A file on Hewitt's philanthropic interests documents his involvement with the Burke Foundation. The files also include personal correspondence of Peter Cooper, Abram S. Hewitt and Edward Cooper; documents relating to the founding and development of Cooper Union, and papers documenting Abram S. Hewitt's involvement with his own alma mater, Columbia University.


Records of Cooper Union Commencements, 1860-Present

Includes correspondence with, and the commencement speeches of, well-known individuals such as Tom Wolfe, Ed Koch, Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Friedan, James Dickey, William Stanley Merwin, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Leo Lionni, Edward R. Tufte, Ruth Messinger, Nobel laureate Russell Hulse, artist/inventor Chuck Hoberman, graphic designer Milton Glaser, and Rudolph Giuliani. Also included are press releases, commencement planning and procedural documents, and information on alumni who received awards at commencement.


Contents of the Cooper Union Engineering Building Cornerstone

Laying the cornerstone was for a new building was a key piece of Cooper Union's 100th anniversary celebration in 1959 The cornerstone contents include photographs of the Bible House, previously occupying the site; examples of current technology, such as a transistor and a piece of titanium; items related to the history of Cooper Union and publications describing the college's centennial; and items relating to the workings of the college, including a financial report and entrance examinations taken by Cooper students.


Records of the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration

This collection includes correspondence, press releases, evaluations, financial data and other materials largely from the period 1962-1968 when the future of the Museum at Cooper Union was in question.


Records of The Student Union of Cooper Union

The Cooper Union Student Union was a student group that existed briefly from 1977 to about 1979, in response to several key issues facing the Cooper community at the time; the group was also involved in preparation for the institution's 1978 accreditation review. 


Records of the Cooper Union Engineering Honor Societies:  Mu Alpha Omicron and the Iota Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, 1926-1981

Includes records of membership, finances, publications, awards and memorabilia for Tau Beta Pi and its predecessor Mu Alpha Omicron.


Cooper Union Alumni Association Documents, with Records of the Class of 1897

Includes mostly papers from 1894-1914:  Association minutes, banquet programs, drawings for 1891 marble and bronze tablet to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of Peter Cooper's birth.


George F. Bateman Collection of Cooper Union Alumni Association Materials

Contains pamphlets, invitations, and historic materials from the Alumni Association / Alumni Federation, and materials relating to Cooper Union's Debating Class, Electrical Engineering Society, Electrical Engineering Alumni Association, The Student Council/Student League, Architectural Alumni Association, The Chemical Society, The General Science Alumni Association, and celebrations of Founder's Day.


Guest Books and Scrap Books from Green Camp, Ringwood, New Jersey

The guest books include signatures and drawings by students and other visitors to Green Camp.  Includes entries from 1941 to circa 1970.


Papers of Edward C. Mack (1904-1998), related to the writing of the book, Peter Cooper, Citizen of New York

Includes correspondence and contracts related to the book; also reviews of the book, and a brief biography of Peter Cooper.


Papers of Edwin F. Gregg  (1924-2008)

The Gregg papers contain materials relating to Gregg’s work with the Cooper Union Alumni Association and ephemera relating to Cooper Union, including its fundraising, continuing education, reunions and events.


Papers of George F. Bateman, (1887-1948)

George Bateman was a 1907 graduate of Cooper Union who became Dean of the Engineering School.  The papers encompass business and personal material. including items relating to friends and students, the Army and Navy Club of America. various cycling clubs and postcard images of Cooper Union.


Papers of Norma E. Rancken  (1925-2005)

Norma Rancken was a 1946 graduate of the day program in Mechanical Engineering at Cooper Union, at a time when female students were still rare in Engineering schools. The papers consist largely of memorabilia of her career at Cooper Union.


Early Annual Reports of The Cooper Union (1860-1884)

The Cooper Union Annual Reports collection consists of scanned and fully searchable Annual Reports of the first twenty-five years of Cooper Union. The Annual Reports were produced by the trustees of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. They include details of curricula in The School of Design for Women, and the Free Night School of Science, and summaries of the activities in such departments as the Free Reading Room and Library, and the Vocal Music Class. Narrative reports for each school describe educational trends and goals, and often include reports of the kinds of jobs obtained by program graduates. Lists of faculty and graduates are included, as are lists of students receiving certificates and prizes in the various classes. The reports offer information about the working-class backgrounds of the students, in the form of tables listing the “day jobs” of students in the Night School. Financial reports for the institution are included, as are lists of Great Hall lecture topics and speakers, and even such details as the titles of periodicals available in the Free Reading Room, which served thousands of the city’s people daily.

The collection is missing Annual Reports no. 3 (1862), no.4 (1863), no.6 (1865) and no.8 (1867). Efforts are being made to locate the missing reports in other libraries.

The original reports are held in the Cooper Archives. Click here to view the Annual Reports collection.

Other Materials

The Cooper Archives contains a great deal of material not listed here.

The Cooper Archives consists of books, manuscripts, papers, scrapbooks, photographs and material objects relating to the history of The Cooper Union and to its founder, Peter Cooper. The collection also includes many items relating to the college's first executive officer, Abram S. Hewitt, and to the Cooper and Hewitt families. 

Much of this material is indexed via a card catalog in the Cooper Union Library, which is accessible to the public by appointment.

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The Cooper Union Library
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New York, NY