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G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews

Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Extent:
6 audiotapes (Reference copies). 10 digital .mp3 files (Reference copies).
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Audiotapes
Transcripts
Date:
1984
Introduction:
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Cooper was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and distinguished scholarly and administrative career at the Institution spanning more than half a century.
Descriptive Entry:
Cooper was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on three occasions in January of 1984. The interviews cover his childhood interest in natural history collections, his education, and his career as a curator of invertebrate paleobiology in the NMNH, notably his research, field work, care of the paleontological collection, administration, and reminiscences of colleagues such as Edwin Kirk, Charles E. Resser, Charles Schuchert, Edward O. Ulrich, Aldred Scott Warthin and Alexander Wetmore. For additional videotaped oral history interviews of Cooper, see Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9530, Smithsonian Institution Paleobiology Videohistory Interviews.
Historical Note:
Gustav Arthur Cooper (1902-2000), was a invertebrate paleobiologist in the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), specializing in the taxonomy and stratigraphy of Paleozoic brachiopods. He began collecting natural history specimens and minerals during his youth in New York. He received the B.S. degree from Colgate University in 1924 with a major in chemistry and the M.S. degree in 1926. He continued graduate work at Yale University with Drs. Carl O. Dunbar and Charles Schuchert, and was awarded the Ph.D. in 1929 for his thesis on the stratigraphy of the Hamilton formation. Under Schuchert's direction, he began research on fossil brachiopods, his life's work. While at Yale, he served as an Assistant Curator (1928-1929) and Research Associate (1929-1930) in the Department of Invertebrate Paleontology of the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

In 1930, Cooper was appointed Assistant Curator in the Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology of the United States National Museum (USNM). In 1941, he advanced to Associate Curator and in 1944 to Curator of the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology. He assumed the Head Curatorship of the Department of Geology in 1957, and oversaw its division into separate departments of Paleobiology and Mineral Sciences in 1963. He continued as Chairman of the Department of Paleobiology until he was appointed Senior Paleobiologist in 1967. After his retirement from federal service in 1974, he continued his research as Paleobiologist Emeritus.

Cooper was known for his research on the taxonomy and stratigraphy of Paleozoic brachiopods. His major monographs include Ozarkian and Canadian Brachiopoda (1938 with E. O. Ulrich), Chazyan and Related Brachiopods (1956), Morphology, Classification, and Life Habits of Productoids (Brachiopoda) (1960 with Helen M. Muir-Wood), and Permian Brachiopods of West Texas, vols. 1-6 (1969-1977 with Richard E. Grant). He conducted field work in the United States, Canada, or Mexico virtually every year of his career at the USNM, significantly increasing both the range and depth of the national collections. Under his guidance, an acid-etching laboratory was established for work with silicified fossils, notably Permian brachiopods from the Glass Mountains in Texas. He also developed his own photographic laboratory, producing over fifty thousand images from the collections.

As an administrator, Cooper presided over a ten-fold increase in the paleobiology curatorial staff, from two in 1944 to twenty in 1967. He was the driving force behind the split of the Department of Geology into two separate departments in 1963. He also planned and supervised the move into the new wings of the Natural History Building (NHB) in 1963-1965.

Among the many honors bestowed upon him are the Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America in 1983, the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, the Paleontological Society Medal in 1964, and the Mary Clark Thompson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 1958.
Topic:
Paleontology  Search this
Geology  Search this
Oral history  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiotapes
Transcripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
Identifier:
Record Unit 9524
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru9524

Interviews

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e248

Interview 1: January 5, 1984

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e255

Covers his youth, education, and career at the USNM, c. 1902-1965, including: family and childhood in Flushing, New York; mineral collecting with Arthur Payne; undergraduate major in chemistry at Colgate University, 1921-1924; stratigraphic research fo...

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e270

Transcript, pp. 1-67, of audiotape recording, 2.0 hours.

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e289

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 2.0 hours

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e300

Interview 2: January 12, 1984

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e324

Covers his curatorial career at the USNM, c. 1930-1967, especially: reminiscences of colleagues at the USNM and USGS, especially Bassler, Resser, and Ulrich, 1930s and 1940s; Devonian work with A. S. Warthin, 1930s and 1940s; primary importance of coll...

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e339
Online Media:

Transcript, pp. 68-117, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e378

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e389

Interview 3: January 26, 1984

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e412

Discusses his views concerning the profession and science of paleobiology, and his administrative career, c. 1930-1967, especially: his assessment of the field of paleobiology; establishment of a paleobiology subgroup within the Geological Society of A...

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e427
Online Media:

Transcript, pp. 118-165, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e512

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9524, G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews
G. Arthur Cooper Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9524-refidd1e523

G. Arthur Cooper Papers

Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Extent:
0.5 cu. ft. (1 document box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Date:
1987-1998
Descriptive Entry:
These papers consist of correspondence received by Cooper, primarily dealing with brachiopod research and personal matters. Among the correspondents are Chairmen of the Department of Paleobiology of the National Museum of Natural History: Richard E. Grant, 1972-1977, and William A. DiMichele, 1993-1998.
Topic:
Brachiopoda  Search this
Paleobiology  Search this
Invertebrates, Fossil  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
Identifier:
Accession 01-121
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-fa01-121

Box 1

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa01-121-refidd1e189

Aldridge, A. E., 1993-1997

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Container:
Box 1 of 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
G. Arthur Cooper Papers / Box 1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa01-121-refidd1e197

Brun, Howard, 1995-1996

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Container:
Box 1 of 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
G. Arthur Cooper Papers / Box 1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa01-121-refidd1e209

Cooper, Robert W., 1996

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Container:
Box 1 of 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
G. Arthur Cooper Papers / Box 1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa01-121-refidd1e221

DiMichele, William A., 1995-1997

Collection Creator::
Cooper, G. Arthur (Gustav Arthur), 1902-2000  Search this
Container:
Box 1 of 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-121, G. Arthur Cooper Papers
See more items in:
G. Arthur Cooper Papers
G. Arthur Cooper Papers / Box 1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-fa01-121-refidd1e233

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