Guide to the Cooper Bridge Plan collection,
1887-1889 (bulk)

Collection Number: 4709

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3530
Fax: (607) 255-9524
rareref@cornell.edu
http://rmc.library.cornell.edu
Compiled by:
Laura Linke
Patrizia Sione
Date completed:
1989, 2009
1989
EAD encoding:
Peter M. Martinez. January 2003
Evan Earle, October 2009

© 2009 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Cooper bridge collection, 1887-1889 (bulk)
Collection Number:
4709
Creator:
Theodore, Cooper 1839-1919
Quantity:
.9 cubic ft. plus 278 items.
Forms of Material:
Technical drawings, bluprints, correspondence
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Consists mainly of letters (194 items) and drawings (ca. 150) sent to Theodore Cooper, giving him information for the important paper on American railroad bridges which he published in Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1889. Also contains notes, sketches, and a few photographs.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

American civil engineer (1839-1919). Author of the first authoritative specifications on bridge construction, published in 1884.

Theodore Cooper: A Biographical Outline

1839 Born January 13th in Cooper's Plain, NY, the son of John Cooper, Jr., a physician, and Elizabeth M. Evans.
1858 graduated as civil engineer from the Resselaer Institute (now Rensselaer Polytechnic) at the age of nineteen
1861 Becomes Assistant Engineer on the Troy and Greenfield Railroad and Hoosac Tunnel. The same year enlists in the Navy and becomes Assistant Engineer for the construction of the gunboatChocura, on which he will serve for the last three years of the Civil War.
1865 Detached from the Chocura, he is ordered to the United States Naval Academy at Newport, RI, then to Annapolis, Md., as Instructor in the new department of Steam Engineering.
1868 Ordered to the Nyack in the South Pacific, where he will serve for two years.
1870 Returns to the Naval Academy.
1872 Resignes from the Navy. In May Capt. James B. Eads, Engineer of the Bridge and Tunnel Company, appoints Cooper the inspector of steel manufacturing for the St. Louis Bridge. He also appoints him superintendent of Andrew Carnegie's giant Keystone Bridge Company in Pittsburgh. At a later point Eads puts Cooper in charge of the construction of the St. Louis Bridge, a successful project that will launch Cooper's career as a bridge engineer.
1879 Sets up as independent consulting engineer in New York. Among his most prestigious projects will be the Seekonk Bridge in Providence, the Sixth Bridge in Pittsburgh, the Second Avenue Bridge in New York City, the Newburyport Bridge over the Merrimac River, and the Junction Bridges over the Allegheny River.
His paper "The Use of Steel for Bridges" is published in the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Cooper will receive a Normal Medal for this work.
1884 Contributes the important work "General Specifications for Iron Railroad Bridges and Viaducts," the first authoritative specifications on bridge construction ever published and circulated.
1885/1885 Serves as director of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
1889 His paper "American Railroad Bridges" is published in the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Cooper will receive a Normal Medal for this work.
1894 Appointed by the late President Cleveland as a member of a board of five engineers to determine the span of the Hudson River Bridge. Other consulting work will include the New York Public Library, the Suburban Rapid Transit Company, the New York Rapid Transit Commission, the Boston Rapid Transit Commission, and the harlem River Commission.
1897 Accepts to serve as consulting engineer for the construction of the Quebec Bridge by the Quebec Bridge Company.
1907 The Quebec Bridge collapses, effectively ending Cooper's career as a bridge engineer.
1919 Dies on August 24th in New York City.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Consists mainly of letters (194 items) and drawings (ca. 150) sent to Theodore Cooper, giving him information for the important paper on American railroad bridges which he published in Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1889. Also contains notes, sketches, and a few photographs. Drawings are mainly prints and blueprints of railroad bridges, including ones designed by Theodore Burr, Timothy Palmer, Lewis Wernwag, and Albert H. Fink. Correspondents include the American Society of Civil Engineers; D.M. Stauffer, editor of Engineering News magazine; H. Bissell, chief engineer, Boston and Maine Rail Road; A.J. Swift, chief engineer, Delaware & Hudson Canal Company; Palmer C. Ricketts, director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and T.R. Lawson, his assistant; Henry McCormick Jr., president of Harrisburg Bridge Company; and the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Company. The collection includes several items about the work of Theodore Burr and Timothy Palmer, earlier civil engineers who had each designed a number of railroad bridges.

SUBJECTS

Names:
Cooper, Theodore,1839-1919
Bissell, H.
Burr, Theodore.
Fink, Albert, 1827-1897.
Lawson, T. R.
McCormick, Henry,
Palmer, Timothy.
Ricketts, Palmer C.
Stauffer, D. M.
Swift, A. J.
Wernwag, Lewis.
American Society of Civil Engineers.
Lehigh Valley Railroad.

Subjects:
Bridges--United States.
Railroad bridges--United States.
Railroads--United States.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Cite As:
Cooper bridge collection, 1887-1889 (bulk) #4709. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
Digital Reproductions for Series I. Correspondence, Incoming. Box 1 Folder 1 are available online at: http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cooper/docviewer?did=cooper0101

RELATED MATERIALS

Collecting program: History of Science Collection.

SERIES LIST

Series I. Correspondence Box 1
Series II. Additional papers Box 1
Series III. Drawings, Prints, Blueprints Boxes 2-4, mapcase

CONTAINER LIST

Description
Container
Incoming Correspondence:
Digital files of items from Box 1 Folder 1
Box 1 Folder 1
Digital Reproductions for Series I. Correspondence, Incoming. Box 1 Folder 1 are available online at: http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cooper/docviewer?did=cooper0101
[unidentified]
Box 1 Folder 1
American Society of Civil Engineers (J. Becker, John Bogart);
Box 1 Folder 1
Boston & Maine RR (H. Bissell, Chief Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Bouscaren, G., Consulting Engineer;
Box 1 Folder 1
Buffalo, NY, City Engineer Office (Edward B. Guthrie);
Box 1 Folder 1
Central Railroad & Banking Co. of Ga., Savannah, GA (D. W. Bowman);
Box 1 Folder 1
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co. (D.J. Whittemore, Chief Engineer; Onward Bates);
Box 1 Folder 1
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railway Co. (Ward Baldwin, Assistant Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Delaware & Hudson Canal Company (A.J. Swift, Chief Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Engineering News (D. McN. Stouffer, Editor);
Box 1 Folder 1
Florence iron River Company (Manfred A. Hauschild, Chief Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Hutton, William R.;
Box 1 Folder 1
Iron city Bridge Works (Albert Schultz);
Box 1 Folder 1
Keefer, Theod.? C.;
Box 1 Folder 1
Kellogg, Chas.;
Box 1 Folder 1
Lafayette College, Department of Civil Engineering (J.G. Fox?)
Box 1 Folder 1
Lehigh Valley Rail Road Co. (Rob H. Sayer, vice President);
Box 1 Folder 1
Linville, J.H.;
Box 1 Folder 1
Louisville Bridge and Iron Company (J.M. Johnson, Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company (Hantfort?, Chief Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
McCormick, Henry;
Box 1 Folder 1
Michaelis?, O.E.;
Box 1 Folder 1
Michigan Central Railway Co. (J.D. Hawks, Chief Engineer);
Box 1 Folder 1
Missouri Pacific Railway Co. (R.M. Peck, Supt.)
Box 1 Folder 2
New Jersey Steel & Iron Co. (C.E. Hewitt)
Box 1 Folder 2
New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad Co. (C.W. Buckley?, Engineer)
Box 1 Folder 2
New York, State of. Office of State Engineer and Surveyor (Arthur S.C. Wurtele?, Deputy State Eng. & Sur. John Bogart, State Engineer and Surveyor)
Box 1 Folder 2
Pencoyd Iron Works (Percival Roberts)
Box 1 Folder 2
Pennsylvania Railroad Company (W.H. Bron, Chief Engineer)
Box 1 Folder 2
Pennsylvania, University of. Course of Civil Engineering (L.M. Haupt Philadelphia Department of Public Works (Samuel L. Smedley, Chief Engineer and Surveyor)
Box 1 Folder 2
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Palmer C. Ricketts); includes five photos of wooden models of Waterford & Lansingburgh Bridge
Box 1 Folder 2
Rochester Bridge & Iron Works (Alfred M. Moss, Asst. Engineer)
Box 1 Folder 2
Schenectady, City of. (part of letter with description of bridge)
Box 1 Folder 2
Shunk, William Findlay
Box 1 Folder 2
Stephen Tilton & Co. (George Tilton)
Box 1 Folder 2
St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Company (James Dun, Chf. Eng.)
Box 1 Folder 2
Thaner School of civil Engineer (Robert Fletcher)
Box 1 Folder 2
Thomson, G.H.
Box 1 Folder 2
Trowbridge, W.P.
Box 1 Folder 2
Union Bridge Company (Thos. J. Long)
Box 1 Folder 2
Union Pacific Railway Company (V.G. Bogue, Chief engineer)
Box 1 Folder 2
United States Military Academy at West Point. Library (Edward S. Holden, Librarian)
Box 1 Folder 2
Vose, Geo.
Box 1 Folder 2
Wabash Western Railroad Company (W.C. Lincoln?, Cheif Engineer)
Box 1 Folder 2
Watson, Robert M.
Box 1 Folder 2
Worthen, Wm. E.
Box 1 Folder 2
Outgoing Correspondence
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co. (Onward Bates, Office of Engr. and Supt't, Bridges and Buildings)
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence among others
H. Bissell to Albert Cumier
Box 1 Folder 4
Notes
Box 1 Folder 5-6
Reports
Box 1 Folder 7
The listing of plans and blueprints is available here. PDF document.