Doing Good

Cooper Union

“Cooper Union becomes not just a place for education of the students, but it becomes a major center for lectures ... and political enterprises which are going to educate the entire city. So, Cooper Union, or Cooper Institute as it was called, is a resource for all New Yorkers.”

Sean Wilentz
Historian, Professor at Princeton University

Great Hall Speakers

(* photo credits below)

“The way that he pulled together this institution; having the school, having a library, having this wonderful hall where you could have public lectures by the great figures of the day, that were open to everyone. That’s pioneering. And what he created was a very important civic space for the city, at a time when it needed one.”

Kathleen McCarthy
Director, Center of Philanthropy & Civil Society, CUNY

On February 27, 1860, New Yorkers packed The Great Hall at Cooper Union to hear a lawyer from Illinois speak about slavery. Abraham Lincoln later said the speech he gave that night won him his party’s nomination and eventually the presidency. (Click above for an excerpt read by Kevin Kline.)

Dr. George Campbell, President of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

* photo credits: left to right:
1. (Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth C. Stanton) "© Bettmann/CORBIS"
2. (Frederick Douglass) "Library of Congress"
3. (Red Cloud) "National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution"
4. (Henry George) "The New York Public Library"...(((((((addtl info?))))))
5. (Victoria Woodhull) "Billie Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations"

Second line of images:
both "Library of Congress"

[Thumbnail to enter this page:] Courtesy of The Cooper Union Library Archives