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Records of The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration

 Collection
Identifier: RG.004

Scope and Contents

The Records of The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration is comprised of museum minutes, press releases, correspondence, evaluations, and exhibit information. While these materials span the course of the museum's existence, the bulk of materials in this record hroup were produced from 1962 to 1968, encompassing the period when the future of the Museum at Cooper Union was in question. Materials for these years include: evaluations of the Museum and its collections, lists of gifts received, financial data, correspondence with donors, and correspondence with other institutions regarding disposition of the collectin. The folders are maintained in the original sequence in which they were received.

Dates

  • Includes records from ca.1892-1970, chiefly 1962-1968.

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Biographical / Historical

The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration was founded in 1895 by sisters Sarah Cooper Hewitt, Eleanor Garnier Hewitt, and Amy Hewitt Green, daughters of Abram S. Hewitt and grand-daughters of Peter Cooper, founder of The Cooper Union. Following its official opening, in 1897, on the fourth floor of Cooper Union’s historic Foundation Building, the Museum’s collections were enhanced by the collecting acumen of Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt, and by gifts from J.P. Morgan and George A. Hearn, among other donors. The Museum was intended as a reference collection of worldwide material culture for the use of Cooper Union students as well as the general public.

By the 1960s the Museum contained more than 90,000 items, including textiles, wallpaper, drawings, prints, furniture, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, and costume accessories. In 1963, the administration of Cooper Union closed the Museum for an evaluation of its relationship to the college’s educational program. A Committee to Save Cooper Union Museum was formed, but by 1968 the college administration had signed an agreement to transfer the Museum collections to the Smithsonian Institution. The transfer took place over the next three years, and the collections of the Cooper Union Museum became the nucleus of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Extent

2.043 Linear Feet (1 carton, 2 full boxes, 1 half box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Records of The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration is comprised of museum minutes, press releases, correspondence, evaluations, and exhibit information. While the collections spans the years 1892-1970, the bulk of the material included concerns 1962-1968.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged in the order that it was received.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was acquired from The Cooper Union Office of the President in accordance with the college records retention policy.

Status
Completed
Author
Mitsuko Brooks and Carol Salomon
Date
December 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • May 2021: Record migrated to ArchivesSpace by Mary Mann.

Repository Details

Part of the The Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Cooper Union Library
7 East 7th Street
New York New York 10003 United States