Edward Cooper (mayor)

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Edward Cooper (October 26, 1824 – February 25, 1905) was the 83rd Mayor of New York City from 1879 to 1880. He was the only surviving son of industrialist Peter Cooper.[1][2]


Cooper was born in New York City on October 26, 1824. He attended the New York public schools and Columbia University, afterwards entering the iron business with the aid of his father. In partnership with Abram S. Hewitt, who married his sister Amelia, Cooper operated an iron works in Trenton, New Jersey. (Hewitt served as mayor from 1887 to 1888.) Edward Cooper also became a metallurgist and inventor, developing several improvements to iron making and metalworking. He declined to patent his inventions, believing that they could better serve the public if he made them widely available. After Peter Cooper's death in 1883, Edward Cooper succeeded to the presidency of the Cooper Union.[3]

Active in politics as a Democrat, Cooper was a delegate to The 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, and the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis. With Hewitt, Samuel J. Tilden and others, Cooper was recognized as a leader of the Swallowtails, named for the Swallowtail coat. The Swallowtails were prominent Democratic businessmen and professionals who opposed the Tammany Hall Democratic organization and attempted to introduce government reforms and end corruption. Cooper served as a member of the Committee of Seventy, which investigated and prosecuted Tammany Hall corruption. In 1875 Tilden was Governor of New York, and named Cooper to a commission which proposed anti-corruption reforms for inclusion in the New York Constitution.

By the late 1870s Cooper was part of the Irving Hall Democrats, another organization which opposed Tammany. In 1878 Cooper ran successfully for mayor, supported by anti-Tammany Democrats, Republicans, and independents. He defeated Augustus Schell, who ran with Tammany support. During his two-year term Cooper promoted reform of the city's sanitation service and tenement laws. He was succeeded by William Russell Grace, another anti-Tammany Democrat.

Death and burial[edit]

He died in New York City on February 25, 1905 and was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hughes, Thomas (1886). Life and Times of Peter Cooper. London: MacMillan and Co. pp. 222–226. Retrieved 3 August 2012. Our fifth child was my son Edward, who is still living. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Lincoln (July 27, 2005). "Square suit cites ‘hallowed ground,’ theater in round and, um, squirrels". The Villager. 75 (10). New York, New York. He noted that Peter Cooper recalled seeing a hanging there as a teenager, and that Mayor Edward Cooper, his son, recollected his father having witnessed the lynching at the current site of the fountain. 
  3. ^ "First Annual Report of the Trustees of Cooper Union" (January 1, 1860)
  4. ^ Edward Cooper at Find a Grave
  5. ^ "Ex-Mayor Cooper Dies of Apoplectic Stroke – Son of Cooper Union's Founder and Tilden's Close Friend – Fought The Tweed Ring – Brother-in-Law of Abram S. Hewitt, Who Was His Business Partner – Eighty-one Years Old". New York Times. February 25, 1905. p. 1. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 

Political offices
Preceded by
Smith Ely, Jr.
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
William Russell Grace