Cooper, William Skinner, 1884-....

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Cooper was born on August 25, 1884 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Detroit public schools and graduated in 1906 from Alma College. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in 1911. In 1915 Cooper joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. Cooper made several scientific trips to Glacier Bay Alaska between 1916 and 1966. He is considered to be the father of Glacier Bay National Park. Cooper retired from the University of Minnesota in 1951 and moved to Boulder, Colorado where he continued his scientific work. His life-long interest in music also followed him to Boulder, and he was a founder of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. He died on October 8, 1978.

From the description of William Skinner Cooper papers, 1909-1989. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62693247

Professor of botany at the University of Minnesota;

researched in Glacier Bay National Monument from 1916 until his death.

From the description of Publications, biographical material and references to the work of William Skinner Cooper, ca. 1916-1983. (Alaska State Library). WorldCat record id: 42929253

William Skinner Cooper was born on August 25, 1884 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Detroit public schools and graduated in 1906 from Alma College, which was founded by his father David Mack Cooper, a Presbyterian minister.

In 1907 he enrolled in Johns Hopkins University, but left after one year to continue his graduate studies at the University of Chicago under Henry Chandler Cowles, an eminent plant ecologist. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in 1911. His thesis was based on studies done in 1909 and 1910 of the development of vegetation on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

From 1912-1916 Cooper studied chaparral vegetation in California, and strand and dune flora of the Pacific Coast Region of Oregon and California, as well as wind patterns that developed dune shapes along the Oregon coast. The results of these studies were published by the Geological Society of America in 1958 and 1967.

In 1915 Cooper joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota as an assistant to Frederick E. Clements, then head of Botany. After a leave of absence in 1918 to enter Y.M.C.A. service, (Board of Regents Minutes, 1917-1918, p. 38) he was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1919, Associate Professor in 1927 and Professor in 1929.

Cooper made scientific trips to Glacier Bay Alaska in 1916, 1921, 1929, 1935 with William O. Field (American Geographical Society), 1956 and 1966. In the 1920's, he chaired a committee of the Ecological Society of America to protect the site of his Alaskan studies. In 1922 he suggested to the Ecological Society that National Park status be awarded to Glacier Bay. On February 25, 1925 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Glacier Bay as a National Monument under the American Antiquities Act. In the 1930's Cooper also served on the National Research Council's Committee on the Preservation of Natural Conditions which worked to again elevate Glacier Bay Monument to park status, as well as provide a sanctuary for the Alaskan Brown Bear and prohibit prospecting in Glacier Bay. In 1976 President Gerald Ford signed a law prohibiting mining and prospecting in Glacier Bay. This repealed a previous law passed in 1936 during President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, allowing mining in this area. Glacier Bay became a National Park on December 2, 1980, an international biosphere reserve in 1986 and a World Heritage Site in 1992. Today William Cooper is considered to be the father of Glacier Bay National Park. http://www.glacier.bay.national-park.com/info.htm .

On January 19, 1980 the United States Board on Geographic Names approved the name of Mount Cooper for a mountain located between Lamplugh Glacier and Johns Hopkins Inlet in Glacier Bay, in honor of William Skinner Cooper.

In 1916 Cooper laid out permanent seedling plots in Reid Arm of Glacier Bay in order to study forest vegetation in areas exposed by ice recession. He restudied them on return trips to Reid Arm in 1921, 1929 and 1935. In 1941 University of Minnesota Botany professor, Donald Lawrence, took over this study and revisited the plots at various times, making his last trip in 1988. Raw data and original maps of Cooper's seedling plots are located in the papers of Donald Lawrence (Collection 1020).

Cooper was one of the first ecologists to make use of aerial reconnaissance and photography to work out the history of landscapes. Cedar Bog Lake and swamp in the Anoka Sand Plain were later preserved as the Cedar Creek Natural History Area in Anoka County, Minnesota. Although discovered as a result of Cooper's aerial photography, there is no material in the papers regarding Cedar Creek.

Cooper studied the geological history and changes in the state's landscape, and especially the Anoka Sand Plain. This study refuted the work of Frederick Sardeson, a geologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, who attributed its features to wind action. (See folder 66 for correspondence).

Cooper retired from the University of Minnesota in 1951 and moved to Boulder, Colorado where he continued his scientific work. His life-long interest in music also followed him to Boulder, and he was a founder of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. He died on October 8, 1978.

For more complete information on William Skinner Cooper, consult his biography file, located in the University of Minnesota Archives.

From the guide to the William Skinner Cooper papers, 1909-1989, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cooper, William Skinner, b. 1884. Publications, biographical material and references to the work of William Skinner Cooper, ca. 1916-1983. Alaska state library
referencedIn Marshall, Robert, 1901-1939. Robert Marshall papers, 1908-1939. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Trotter, William R., 1943-. William R. Trotter collection, 1980-1996. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Department of Botany records, 1893-1989, (bulk 1921-1982) University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Robert Marshall Papers, 1908-1939 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Cooper, William Skinner, 1884-. William Skinner Cooper papers, 1909-1989. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf William Skinner Cooper papers, 1909-1989 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Donald Buermann Lawrence papers, 1932-1996 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn University of Minnesota. Dept. of Botany. University of Minnesota Dept. of Botany papers, 1847-1982, 1989. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Lawrence, Donald B. (Donald Buermann), 1911-1996. Donald Buermann Lawrence papers, 1932-1996. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alma College. corporateBody
associatedWith Avery, Stanley R. (Stanley Robert), 1879-1967. person
associatedWith Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra corporateBody
associatedWith Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Cedar Creek Natural History Area (Minn.) corporateBody
associatedWith Clements, Frederick E. (Frederick Edward), 1874-1945. person
associatedWith Ecological Society of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Field, William O. (William Osgood), 1904- person
associatedWith Geographical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Geological Society of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Graf, Herbert, 1903- person
associatedWith Hansell, J. J. person
associatedWith Hansell, J. J. person
associatedWith Hubbard, John person
associatedWith Hubbard, John. person
associatedWith Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research Data Center (Boulder, Colo.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lawrence, Donald B. (Donald Buermann), 1911- person
associatedWith Lindeman, Raymond, 1915-1942, person
associatedWith Mahler, Gustav, 1860-1911. person
associatedWith Marshall, Robert, 1901-1939. person
associatedWith Martin, Lawrence, 1880-1955. person
associatedWith Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Mitropoulos, Dimitri, 1896-1960. person
associatedWith Oberhoffer, Emil, 1867-1933. person
associatedWith Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985. person
associatedWith Retzek, Henry. person
associatedWith Sardeson, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1866-1958. person
associatedWith Sibelius, Jean, 1865-1957. person
associatedWith Tang, Peisong, 1903- person
associatedWith Trotter, William R., 1943- person
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Department of Botany. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Dept. of Botany. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Dept. of Botany. corporateBody
associatedWith Verbruggen, Henri person
associatedWith Verbrugghen, Henri. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Or.)
Glacier Bay (Alaska)
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Coos Bay (Or.)
Coos Bay (Or.)
Glacier Bay (Alaska)
Isle Royale National Park (Mich.)
Alaska
Cedar Creek Natural History Area (Minn.)
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Or.)
Isle Royale National Park (Mich.)
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Subject
Glaciers
Plant ecology
Sand dunes
Sand dunes
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1884

Death 1978

English

Information

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