Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883

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Manufacturer, inventor, and philanthropist.

From the description of Certification of Peter Cooper, 1870. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449909

American inventor and philanthropist.

From the description of Letter signed : New York, to William C. Bryant, on behalf of The Citizens' Association of New York, 1867 Sept. 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270537867

Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) was an important scientific reformer during the early nineteenth century. From his position as superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, and through leadership roles in the scientific institutions of the time, Bache helped bring American science into alignment with the professional nature of its European counterpart. In addition, Bache fostered the reform of public education in America.

On July 19, 1806 Alexander Dallas Bache was born into one of Philadelphia's elite families. The son of Richard Bache and Sophia Dallas, he was Benjamin Franklin's great-grandson, nephew to George Dallas (vice president under James K. Polk), and grandson to Alexander James Dallas (secretary of the treasury under James Madison). In 1821, Bache was admitted to the United States Military Academy at the age of 15, graduating first in his class four years later. He remained at the Academy for an additional two years to teach mathematics and natural history. While serving as a lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, working on the construction of Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., he met Nancy Clarke Fowler whom he would later marry.

Bache left the Army in 1828 to begin an academic career, accepting an appointment as professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Although his scientific interests were broad, he had a particular interest in geophyscial research. While in Philadelphia, he constructed a magnetic observatory, and made extensive research into terrestrial magnetism, and during the 1830s he began to be recognized as a leading figure in the city's scientific community. Bache was an active member of the American Philosphical Society and the Franklin Institute, seeking to raise the professional standards of both institutions and urging them to place a stronger emphasis on original research. While at the Franklin Institute from 1830-1835, Bache led a Federally-funded investigation into steam-boiler explosions, the government's first use of technical experts to examine a matter involving public policy.

In 1836 Bache became interested in educational reform when he was asked to help organize the curriculum at Girard College, of which he later served as president. Bache spent two years in Europe visiting over 250 educational institutions. The result of his visit was a 600 page study, Report on Education in Europe, to the Trustees of the Girard College for Orphans published in 1839. Although Bache was unable to apply the report at Girard College because of its delayed opening, it proved useful in overhauling the curriculum of Philadelphia's Central High School, where he was superintendent from 1839-1842, and was widely influential among American educational reformers, helping to introduce the Prussian educational model to the United States.

After meeting many of the leading savants during a European tour, including Alexander von Humboldt, Francois Arago, and Karl Friedrich Gauss, Bache became convinced of the need to professionalize American science. His opportunity to make an impact came in 1843 with the death of Ferdinand Hassler, superindendent of the U.S. Coast Survey. In the years before the Civil War, the Coast Survey supported more scientists then any other institution in the country, and Bache and his colleagues saw the Survey as a means of gaining federal patronage for science. After a campaign by his friends and colleagues, Bache was named as Hassler's replacement. Over the next two decades Bache transformed the Coast Survey into one of the nation's leading scientific institutions, becoming an important patron of science himself in the process . Bache was not just an administrator, but remained personally involved in field work.

Bache also led the reform of American science through his leadership of an elite group known as the "Lazzaroni" or scientific beggars. The goal of the Lazzaroni was to ensure that the nation's leading scientists kept control of the nation's scientific institutions, and they were instrumental in reforming the American Association for the Advancement of Science (of which Bache was president of in 1850). In his remarkably busy schedule, Bache was a member of the Lighthouse Board (1844-1845), superintendent of the Office of Weights and Measures (1844), and a prominent regent for the Smithsonian Institution, where he convinced fellow Lazzaroni Joseph Henry to become its first secretary. Bache also played a leading role in the creation of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as its first president. When the Americn Civil War broke out, Bache focused the Coast Survey to support the war effort, was vice president of the Sanitary Commision, a consultant to the army and navy on battle plans, a superintended for Philadelphia's defence plans, and a member of the Permanent Commission of the navy in charge of evaluating new weapons. Bache died in Newport, R.I. on February 17, 1867.

From the guide to the A. D. Bache Collection, 1833-1873, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Childs, George William, 1829-1894. George William Childs papers [manuscript], 1882-1892. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Elliott, James B. Papers, 1853-1912. University of Michigan
creatorOf Elliott, James B. James Elliott papers, 1853-1912. University of Michigan
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 3rd Street, 2nd Avenue, Houston Street and the Bowery, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Cooper & Hewitt. Records, 1848-1870. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. Papers, 1837-1908. Winterthur Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 60: Meteorological Project, 1849 1875.
referencedIn Cased Photograph File, [1840-ongoing] @ 2011 New-York Historical Society
referencedIn National War Committee of the Citizens of New York. National War Committee of the Citizens of New York records, 1862-1863. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Albert E. Parfitt diary, 1882 Brooklyn Historical Society
referencedIn Miscellaneous documents relating to Abraham Lincoln, ca. 1838-1948. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Letter, 187[2?] Jun. 20, New York, to Wm. P. Rogers [n.p.]. University of Michigan
referencedIn Cooper, Hewitt & Company (Ringwood, N.J.). Cooper, Hewitt & Company (Ringwood, N.J.) records, 1833-1908. Library of Congress
referencedIn Autograph File, C, 1554-2002. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Burd-Shippen Papers, 1708-1792 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Collection of autographs and portraits, [18- - - 19- -]. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Letter, 1848 March 29. American Periodical Series I
creatorOf Smith, Sydney, 1771-1845,. Additional maps, prints, clippings [manuscript] 1761-1940. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. Papers, 1837-1908. Winterthur Library
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClennan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 6th and 8th Streets, 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Sage, Gardner A. [Map of the area later bounded by 25th and 29th Streets, 3rd and Park Avenues, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. New-York Historical Society Library
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Certification of Peter Cooper, 1870. Library of Congress
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Autographed postal card : New York, [N.Y.], to the editor of New England Farmer, Boston. Mass., 1883 Feb. 18. Concord Free Public Library, Special Collection
referencedIn Doughty, Edwd. (Edward), surveyor. Map showing the property affected by opening Fourth Avenue from Broadway to Twenty-eighth St. / Edwd. Doughty. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Cartes-de-visite album and biographies, ca. 1875-1876. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Correspondence, 1800-1932. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClennan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 4th and 6th Streets, 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. New-York Historical Society Library
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Letter signed : New York, to William C. Bryant, on behalf of The Citizens' Association of New York, 1867 Sept. 30. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Ezra Cornell papers, (bulk), 1746-1888, 1844-1870 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Scientists Collection, 1563-1973 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Two autograph collections, 185?, 1888. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867. Papers, 1835-1864. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Papers. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf [Peter Cooper, biographical materials] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
creatorOf Cooper, Peter, 1791-1883. Letter, 1849 February 17. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. James Henry Coffin Papers.
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 26: Office Of The Secretary, Incoming Corres..
creatorOf Urban vs. Rural Epitaph Folklore, 1977 Randall V. Mills Archives of Northwest Folklore
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 31st and 33rd Streets, Park and 5th Avenues, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Kvasnicka, Robert M. Letter, 1970 March 16. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902. Caricatures by Thomas Nast [manuscript], 1866. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 33rd and 37th Streets, 2nd and 6th Avenues, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957,. [Map of the area later bounded by 30th and 33rd Streets, 3rd and 5th Avenues, Manhattan, New York (N.Y.)]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Cooper-Hewitt collection, [ca. 1783-1953] Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Lee, Gideon, 1778-1841. Papers, 1804-1868. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Lanman & Kemp. Lanman & Kemp records, 1840-1925 (bulk, 1852-1879) Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909. Papers of Richard Watson Gilder, 1907-1910, and n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Foster, William, 1772-1863. William Foster papers, 1734-1879. New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGS
creatorOf Russell, H. Everett, fl. 1865. Autograph letter signed : New York, to President Johnson, 1865 May 13. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf A. D. Bache Collection, 1833-1873 American Philosophical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company corporateBody
associatedWith Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871 person
associatedWith Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867. person
associatedWith Bache, Albert Dabadie, 1832-1895 person
associatedWith Bache, Alexander Dallas person
associatedWith Barnes, H. B. (Henry Broughton) person
associatedWith Bond, W. C. (William Cranch), 1789-1859 person
associatedWith Brewster, David, Sir, 1781-1868 person
associatedWith Brewster, Sir David person
associatedWith Bryant, William Cullen, 1794-1878, person
associatedWith Burd, James, 1726-1793 person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Chambers, Robert, 1802-1871 person
associatedWith Cheney, T. Apoleon (Theseus Apoleon), 1830-1878 person
associatedWith Childs, George William, 1829-1894. person
associatedWith Combe, George, 1788-1858 person
associatedWith Cooper & Hewitt. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, Hewitt & Company (Ringwood, N.J.) corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Office of the Director. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Cornell, Ezra, 1807-1874 person
associatedWith Dibner, Bern, person
associatedWith Dickins, Asbury, 1780-1861 person
associatedWith Doughty, Edwd. (Edward), surveyor. person
associatedWith Elliott, James B. person
associatedWith Fessenden, W. P. (William Pitt), 1806-1869 person
associatedWith Field, Cyrus W. person
associatedWith Fish, Hamilton, 1808-1893. person
associatedWith Foster, William, 1772-1863. person
associatedWith Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909. person
associatedWith Godwin, Parke, 1816-1904. person
associatedWith Gray, John Chipman, 1839-1915 person
associatedWith Hale, Charles person
associatedWith Hale, Charles, 1831-1882 person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Hilgard, Julius Erasmus, 1825-1891 person
associatedWith King, Horatio, 1811-1897 person
associatedWith Kvasnicka, Robert M. person
associatedWith Lanman & Kemp. corporateBody
associatedWith Lee, Gideon, 1778-1841. person
associatedWith Lee, Samuel Phillips, 1812-1897 person
associatedWith Mitchell, Maria, 1818-1889 person
associatedWith Morris, Ralph, collector. person
associatedWith Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902. person
associatedWith National War Committee of the Citizens of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith New York, Newfoundland, And London Telegraph Co. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Lieutenant Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith Paine, Robert Treat, 1803-1885 person
associatedWith Paine, R. T. person
associatedWith Parfitt, Albert E. person
associatedWith Potter, Alonzo, 1800-1865 person
associatedWith Quetelet, Adolphe, 1796-1874 person
associatedWith Redfield, W. C. (William C.), 1789-1857 person
associatedWith Rogers, William P. person
associatedWith Ruggles, Samuel B., (Samuel Bulkley), 1800-1881 person
associatedWith Russell, H. Everett, fl. 1865. person
associatedWith Sage, Gardner A. person
associatedWith Schofield, John McAllister, 1831-1906 person
associatedWith Schumacher, Heinrich Christian, 1780-1850 person
associatedWith Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872 person
correspondedWith Smithsonian Institution corporateBody
associatedWith Sparkes, Jared person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Spencer, Charles Achilles, 1813-1881 person
associatedWith Stevenson, Alan, 1807-1865 person
associatedWith Stevenson, David person
associatedWith Stevenson, David, 1815-1886 person
associatedWith Stevenson, Robert, 1772-1850 person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Tilghman, Tench, 1810-1874 person
associatedWith Toucey, Isaac, 1792-1869 person
associatedWith Upsher, Able Percey person
associatedWith Vroom, Peter Dumont, 1791-1873 person
associatedWith Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. person
correspondedWith Whitney, L. W. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.)
Portland, Or.
Gresham, Oregon
Subject
Smithsonian Exchange
Exchanges Of Publications
Scientific organizations
Girard College
Cooper Union
Telegraph
Meteorology
Natural history
grave markers
Postcards
Cemeteries
Education
Geology
Rural
Geological Survey of the State of New Jersey
Railroads--Fares
Photographs
National Academy of Sciences
Urban
District of columbia
Astronomy
epitaphs
United States Coast Survey
Antebellum Politics
folklore and folklife
Early National Politics
Lighthouse
Science and technology
Occupation
Industrialists
Philanthropists
Inventors
Function

Person

Birth 1791-02-12

Death 1883-04-04

Information

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Ark ID: w6n01d6r

SNAC ID: 9914857