Cooper Family Papers Exhibition

POSTED ON: February 13, 2018

Archives librarian Katie Blumenkrantz curated an exhibition entitled "Letters of Everyday Life: The Cooper Family Papers." highlighting some of the 340 letters bought by the library in 2015 using a generous gift from a group of alumni and professors. The letters took two years to "process," library argot for transcribing, summarizing, and creating a finding aid so that researchers can discover their contents and easily locate information they might need. The result is a trove of letters that can give insight not only about the Coopers, but about daily life in 19th century New York.

The exhibition can be seen in The Cooper Union library and will be up until March 30. A closing reception will be held on March 27 in the library from 6 to 8 pm.


  • 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.