Welcome. The Cooper Union History Project website is a space to publish research on Cooper Unionís history with the aim of amassing a faithful representation of the principles, aims, and lessons of Cooperís past and present.
The past does not change, but our knowledge of it is always increasing. This website includes various forms of documentation: writings, images, graphics, videos, and oral and aural recordings, as well as links to other websites where such documentation is maintained. A list of important sources is below.
In some ways, the Cooper Union has changed in profound ways since its opening in 1859. Also, the college has been remarkably static since the 1970's, compared to its earlier days. As it is for students and many faculty, staff, and alumni, it can seem that the Cooper Union has always been what it is now, or what it was when they were an active part of it.
On the other hand, there have been traditions and policies that date back farther than anyone could imagine. Although any historian would be reluctant to claim that any evidence is the "first," this website contains the earliest discovered and confirmed occurrences of:
If any earlier occurences are discovered, please report them to the Cooper Union History Project by writing to the current webmaster, Barry Drogin, at firstname.lastname@example.org! Similarly, if you have important collections of writings, images, graphics, videos, or recordings that are available on-line, please provide us with a link!
You will find across the top of every page links to the contents of this website, starting with historical summaries of the lives of Peter Cooper and his family, then tracing the history of the college from before its founding until 2016, historical information about other related entities such as the Great Hall, historical information on student life and alumni activities, collections of memorabilia and oral histories, and activities that the CUHP is currently involved in or that you, as a member of the Cooper Union Community, may be interested in participating in or contributing to. Finally, the last page is a history of the CUHP itself.
Some truths are half-truths; they are true, but the narratives they support are incomplete. Some truths are actually myths. Our knowledge of the past is always increasing. Thank you for your interest in the Cooper Union History Project!