We are a little village of just under 2,000 people, on beautiful Lake Otsego, surrounded by hills, forests, and fields. But this is Cooper Country, and we think we’re special. The James Fenimore Cooper Society invites you to visit.
If you’d like to pay a virtual visit first, may we suggest:
- New York State Historical Association. A private membership historical association, founded in 1899, and located in Cooperstown since 1938. It operates the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmers’ Museum, the Research Library, and the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies (see below under Schools).
- The Fenimore Art Museum. Includes the Cooper Room, with memorabilia of the Cooper Family (including the Cooper Screens and a number of paintings illustrating Cooper novels). Other exhibits include 19ᵗʰ Century New York art; the Brouwere life masks of early American Presidents; folk art; and the magnificent new Indian Wing, with one of America’s greatest collections of traditional Native American art. There are also important visiting exhibits each year.
- The Farmers’ Museum. A re-created 1845 rural village and farm, with buildings brought from around central New York, where traditional crafts are demonstrated. The village is currently being expanded to include many new structures, including a Native American home. The main barn contains other exhibits reflecting 19ᵗʰ Century New York rural life.
- The Research Library. With 80,000 volumes, largely on New York History, the non-circulating Research Library, open to the public (small fee for non-members) is a prime site for historical and genealogical research. It’s entryway has an exhibit of Cooper books and manuscripts.
- Hyde Hall. A magnificent early 19ᵗʰ Century mansion, at the head of Lake Otsego, being lovingly restored with all its original furniture.
- The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. So General Abner Doubleday didn’t really invent baseball here in 1839 — but did you know that the Baseball Museum (at Cooper Park, where Cooper’s Otsego Hall was located) really does sit on the site of America’s first literary baseball game? For Cooperstown’s real baseball first, click on the following excerpt from James Fenimore Cooper’s 1838 novel Home as Found.
- The Glimmerglass Festival. One of America’s finest summer festival Opera Houses, with four productions during July and August. Did you know that at least five full-scale operas have been based on Cooper’s novels?
- Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. One of the finest hospitals in New York State — for care of the sick, for research, and for training new doctors. Affiliated since 1947 with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and with other institutions.
- Cooperstown Central School. A regional K-12 public school serving Cooperstown and neighboring communities.
- Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies. A Master’s Degree Program, conducted in Cooperstown at the New York State Historical Association under the auspices of the State University of New York College at Oneonta.
- Biological Field Station. A major research station, part of the State University of New York College at Oneonta, which both provides graduate and undergraduate study opportunities, and ensures that Lake Otsego (Cooper’s Glimmerglass) is one of the best researched, as well as one of the most famous, lakes in America.
- The Oneonta Daily Star (daily except Sundays)
- The Freeman’s Journal (weekly, since 1808) — the newspaper that James Fenimore Cooper read
- The Cooperstown Crier (weekly)
Online Books about Cooperstown and Cooper
- Livermore, Rev. S. T., A Condensed History of Cooperstown Albany: J. Munsell, 1862. An early but valuable history and description of Cooperstown.
- S. M. Shaw, editor, A centennial offering: being a brief history of Cooperstown with a biographical sketch of James Fenimore Cooper Freeman’s Journal, 1886. Chronology of Cooperstown to 1886, beginning with James Fenimore Cooper, The Story of Cooperstown (Cooperstown, 1838).
- To Commemorate the Foundation of the Village of Cooperstown and Its Corporate Existence of One Hundred Years: Illustrated book commemorating our Centennial in 1907.
- Mary Elizabeth Phillips, James Fenimore Cooper, John Lane Co., 1913. An early heavily illustrated biography.
- Ralph Birdsall, The Story of Cooperstown (1920 — orig. pub. 1917) Comprehensive illustrated popular history of Cooperstown.
- James Fenimore Cooper (grandson), Correspondence of James Fenimore Cooper, Volume I; Volume II. Yale University Press, 1922. Selected Correspondence to and from James Fenimore Cooper (includes Susan Fenimore Cooper, Small Family Memories).
- The History of Cooperstown, New York State Historical Association, 1976. Chronology of Cooperstown from beginnings to 1976 (includes Shaw’s book, above).
Hyde Bay Camp For Boys. Personal accounts and pictures of the boys’ camp and summer school founded by Herbert Pickett in 1927 at the head of Lake Otsego, which lasted until the late 1960s.
To learn more about Cooperstown, its attractions and facilities, see the following: