Memories of Cooper

Devoted to documents recording first-hand impressions of James Fenimore Cooper by people who knew him, and documents collecting oral traditions about him. Some will be transcribed in full; others excerpted from autobiographies and memoirs, journalists’ accounts, diaries, etc. Lengthy documents will be arranged alphabetically by author; shorter impressions may be gathered together for a “Glimpses of Cooper”. Some of the documents have been annotated (generally by Hugh C. MacDougall of the Society) to identify some of the persons and places alluded to.

Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Memories

No one has provided more important first-hand information about James Fenimore Cooper than his oldest daughter, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894). In a series of short works and introductions, over many years, she provided invaluable memories (though often at long range) of both her father and herself. We will gradually make them available here.

  • (1883) Small Family Memories. From James Fenimore Cooper [grandson], Correspondence of James Fenimore Cooper, (2 vols., New Haven: Yale Univesity Press, 1922), pp. [7]-72. Written as a private memoir for her nieces and nephews, who had never known James Fenimore Cooper, this evocative account is a prime source for the private life of James Fenimore Cooper between from 1816-1828, as well as of his daughter.
  • (1876-84) Introductions to Novels by James Fenimore Cooper. Introductions (many with biographic details) to 25 Cooper novels excerpted in Pages and Pictures from the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper (1861) and to 15 Cooper novels in the 1876-84 “Household Edition”.

Other First-hand Memories of Cooper

  • Greene, George Washington (longtime Cooper acquaintance), Cooper. Anecdotal biographic sketch, originally written in 1852.
  • Greene, George Washington (longtime Cooper acquaintance), Personal Recollections of Cooper. Anecdotal tribute to Cooper (at times flowery and pious), evidently written shortly after his death in 1851, but published in 1860.
  • [Mather, William], see Evans, Constantine (Syracuse University), An Unpublished Reminiscence of James Fenimore Cooper. Syracuse University Library Associates Courier, Vol. XXIV, No. 2 (Fall 1989), pp. 45-53. Transcription and commentary on a short manuscript by Chemistry Professor William Mather (1802-1890), recounting his impressions of Cooper during a visit to Cooperstown in 1844.

Articles, etc., Based in Part on Oral Traditions of Cooper

  • Birdsall, Rev. Ralph (Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Cooperstown), Fenimore Cooper in Cooperstown. Local anecdotes of Cooper and his personality from oral and written sources.