Edward Drinker Cope papers
Held at: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia [Contact Us]1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Edward Drinker Cope was born on July 28, 1840 to Alfred and Hannah Edge Cope, who were wealthy Philadelphia Quakers. His father hoped Edward would become a farmer and much of his education was obtained by private tutors. He also attended Westtown School and in 1860, he attended Dr. Joseph Leidy’s class on comparative anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. Cope’s interest in the natural sciences began at an early age and in 1858, he began volunteering at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where he catalogued the reptilian collection. He also studied in Washington, D.C. with Professor Spencer F. Baird, concentrating his attentions on the herpetological collections at the Smithsonian Institute. By the time that he entered the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 20, he had already been published thirty times. In 1863, his father sent him to Europe in order that he be spared participating in the Civil War and his interest in the natural sciences increased as he visited natural history museums in Berlin, Leyden, Munich, Vienna, Paris and London.
In 1864, Cope returned to Philadelphia and was hired to teach comparative zoology and botany at Haverford College. He remained a professor there until 1867 when he resigned in order to pursue scientific exploration and writing. In 1884, he served as curator of the National Museum in Washington, D.C. and in 1891, he was professor of geology at the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1896. During his career, Cope led and/or participated in geological surveys, both state and federal (the United States Geological Survey), of the western states of the United States. Through his exploration and work with surveys, Cope made known "more than 600 speciesand many genera of extinct vertebrates new to sciences, many of which he had personally discovered in the Cretaceous strata of Kansas or the Tertiary of Wyoming and Colorado," (Osborn, page 129).
At the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Cope served as curator from 1865 to 1873, as corresponding secretary from 1863 to 1876, and as a member of the Council in 1879. He resigned from the Academy, after a conflict regarding the fundamental organization of the organization, in 1883.
Cope was a “founder of the Neo-Lamarckian school of evolutionary thought, [which] believed that changes in developmental (embryonic) timing, not natural selection, was the driving force of evolution,” (UCMP). At the time of his death on April 12, 1897, Cope had discovered and described over 600 new species and contributed over 1300 papers to scientific literature.
Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections. Edward Drinker Cope papers, 1848-1940 (bulk 1855-1896), Ms. Coll. 956.
Osborn, Henry Fairfield. "Biographical Memoir of Edward Drinker Cope, 1840-1897," National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Biographical Memoirs, Volume III, 1929.
University of California Museum of Paleontology. “Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897),” http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/cope.html (accessed November 29, 2011).
This collection contains certificates and honors, medals, manuscripts of scientific papers, drawings, scientific photographs, biographical material, news clippings, account books, and miscellaneous notes.
Gift of Haverford College Library, April 21, 1960 or archived from Academy's files.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Date
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Oversized material in flat files, Coll. 328