A Visit to Peter Cooper’s Grave at Green-Wood Cemetery

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On February 12, 2012, Friends of Cooper Union organized a visit to Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn to pay respects to Peter Cooper on his 221st Birthday.  Cooper, his wife, children and their families are also buried there on a private grassy mound, on a small traffic island.  Much chiseling was needed to carve these beautiful words that describe Cooper’s contributions to society.  Here’s what was written, taking up multiple sides of this gravestone monument:

PETER COOPER

PATRIOT. PHILANTHROPIST. SAGE

PIONEER UNDER THE FREE

INSTITUTIONS OF A NEW NATION IN WORKS OF

INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE

AND OF FAR SIGHTED BENEVELENCE.

FOUNDER OF THE COOPER UNION

FOR THE ADVANCEMENT

OF SCIENCE AND ART, WHICH HE

CONCEIVED WHEN A POOR

APPRENTICE AND REALIZED

AFTER MANY YEARS OF

SACRIFICE AND DEVOTION

THUS BECOMING THE FIRST

IN AMERICA PERSONALLY

TO ADMINSTER LARGE PRIVATE

FORTUNE FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD.

DISTINGUISEHED AS

MUNICIPAL LEGISLATOR

INVENTOR, MECHANIC,

AND MANUFACTURER,

HE WAS A LEADER IN PROVIDING

HIS NATIVE CITY WITH ITS POLICE

AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS,

ITS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM

AND THE CROTON WATER.

HE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED

THE FIRST STEAM LOCOMOTIVE

BUILT IN AMERICA:

RECEIVED THE BESSEMER MEDAL

AS THE FATHER OF THE

AMERICAN IRON TRADE,

WAS ONE OF THE ORIGINATORS

OF THE TRANSATLANTIC CABLE

AND FURNISHED THE MEANS

BY WHICH THIS UNDERTAKING

WAS REVIVED AND ACCOMPLISHED.

SIMPLE AND DEVOUT IN SPIRIT,

INDUSTRIOUS AND HONORABLE IN BUSINESS,

HE DEVOTED HIS GENIUS AND ENERGY

NOT MORE TO USEFUL

PRIVATE ENTERPRISES

THAN TO THE DIRECT SERVICE OF

MANKIND, CHIEFLY THROUGH THE

GIFT OF EDUCATION, WHICH

LEADS TO SELF-HELP, SELF-RESPECT

AND GOOD CITIZENSHIP.

INSPIRED BY FAITH

IN INFINITE LOVE WORKING

THROUGH IMMUTABLE LAW,

HE LIVED TO A GREAT AGE

IN THE GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION

OF HIS FELLOW MEN.

BORN FEBRUARY 12, 1791

DIED APRIL 4, 1883

IN HIS NINETY-THIRD YEAR.

For more information about the current situation facing this historically tuition free college: visit the  Friends of Cooper Union website.  For additional posts on Cooper Union click here.

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