Agency history, 1934-1963

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  • Cooper-Hewitt, Sarah 1859-1930
  • DuPont, Henry Francis 1880-


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
  • Russell Lynes, More than Meets the Eye: The History and Collections of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, pp. 25-35, Smithsonian Institution, 1981.
  • From its inception, the Cooper Union Museum was dependent on the Hewitt sisters and their friends for donations. After Sarah Cooper-Hewitt's death in 1930, it was feared that public interest, especially that of sponsors, in a museum of decorative arts would decrease. In 1934, the Museum's Board of Directors and interested persons founded the Friends of the Museum of the Cooper Union. In addition to collecting dues from members, the Friends of the Museum solicited annually for funds, and, from 1936, met annually for tea parties and lectures. The funds collected were used to purchase objects for the Museum, to pay costs for extra personnel and maintenance, and to encourage the study of decorative arts.
  • In 1963 the Trustees of the Cooper Union planned to close the Museum for financial reasons, only to face serious protests from many in the art and museum world, led by Henry Francis DuPont. The Friends group seems to have been submerged in a new organization, the Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum, and to have ended a separate existence at that time.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1934
  • 1934-1963


Art museums


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00191

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