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Moment #003: Classes Begin

POSTED ON: May 3, 2019


In October, 1859 the Trustees of what was then called the Cooper Institute placed an ad in New York's daily newspapers calling for applicants to its new classes. They received around 2000 applications. The School of Design for Females began instruction and The Department of Night Instruction opened their doors in November. "Regular classes will be formed for instruction in architectural, free-hand, and mechanical drawing, (including the designing of furniture,) chemistry, mechanical philosophy, mathematics, and music," read part of the advertisement.

The First Annual Report of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, dated January 1, 1860, included the following passage

The Class in Architectural Drawing is under the direction of Mr. John F. Miller, assisted by Mr. Henry Palmer and Mr.Clarence Cook. The number of pupils in attendance is 111. It meets on the evenings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The rooms used by this Class as well as the Classes in Mechanical and Freehand Drawing, are spacious, and lighted in a manner specially arranged for the purpose. The instruction is given not for show, but with especial reference to the principles of mechanical drawing; mere copying is prohibited, but mechanical models are employed as the means of instruction. For this purpose a complete set of the Darmstadt models have been ordered from Europe, and a considerable portion of them have been received.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.