160 Cooper Union Moments
This blog will be a growing list of notable Cooper moments. We selected 160 in celebration of this anniversary year, but we know there are many more. Send us yours.(Suggestions may be edited for readability or content.) Please include your full name, and if a graduate, your class and year.
Moment #009: More Books Needed
POSTED ON: May 17, 2019
In the trustee's Annual Report, published in July of 1864, they describe the popularity of the public reading room, opened in 1859, and how demand is outpacing the holdings:
THE READING ROOM Occupies one entire floor of this building, and is the natural sequence of the free night instruction, for here all classes have unrestricted admission to the current literature of the day, as well as of the past. It is open, free to all, without tickets, from 8 a. m. until 10 p. m. It is supplied with 160 newspapers and 110 magazines, including all the leading publications of this and foreign countries. The number of foreign papers has not been diminished in consequence of the increased cost, the Trustees believing that the rise in gold rendered it all the more important to furnish these papers to those who might not otherwise be able to get access to them. The number of visitors during the year 1863 was 171,873, an average of nearly 600 per day. The Trustees take this occasion to acknowledge from some unknown friend of popular education, a donation of 537 volumes of standard literature, and to say that there is pressing need of large additions to the Library, and that no more acceptable aid can be given to the Institution than by gifts of books in any department of science and literature. The Library numbers about 4,000 volumes, but should be greatly enlarged in order to meet the demands upon it. The Trustees devoted to the Reading Room and Library the sum of $1,736.50, which is as large a proportion12 of their revenue as they can thus apply without detriment to the other departments.
Moment #008: Frederick Douglas on the Emancipation Proclamation
POSTED ON: May 15, 2019
Frederick Douglass responds to the Emancipation Proclamation in the first of several appearances in the Great Hall. The evening's address is titled, The Proclamation and the Negro Army.
Moment #007: Civil War Aid
POSTED ON: May 13, 2019
On April 29, the Women’s Central Association of Relief is founded at The Cooper Union to collect donations of items and funds for the comfort of Union soldiers. This would include training nurses to be deployed at military hospitals. Two months later the organization would be incorporated into the U.S. Sanitary Commission as one of a number of federally-organized wartime relief efforts. Both the WCAR and the USSC would be dissolved in 1865.
Moment #006: The First Class Graduates
POSTED ON: May 10, 2019
The first commencement at The Cooper Union is held on June 28. Peter Cooper delivers the commencement address. 353 people received certificates, according to the Second Annual Report in January 1861, which reads, in part:
"...over 1000 pupils remained in the Institution at the close of the term in June last, when the examinations took place, and the certificates were awarded. The examinations were voluntary, and hence the number who actually received certificates was 363, whose names are appended to this Report. It was deemed better not to compel examinations, as the fear of a public trial would deter many, especially those advanced in life, from joining the classes."