Moment #001: The Cooper Union Begins

POSTED ON: April 29, 2019


With the goal of creating a free technical school to give men and women vocational skills, Peter and Sarah Bedell Cooper sign a deed of trust on April 29 in order to create The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Its first board of trustees include Edward Cooper (Peter and Sarah's son), Abram S. Hewitt (their son-in-law), Daniel F. Tiemann, John E. Parsons, Wilson G. Hunt, and Peter Cooper himself. In November, classes begin and the library and reading room open. 

  • 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.