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John Cobb Cooper Records


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library [Contact Us]3460 Chestnut Street, Biddle Law Library, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3406

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

John Cobb Cooper, Jr. was born on September 18, 1887 in Jacksonville, Florida. Cooper studied at Princeton University and received his A.B. in 1909. Cooper continued his education in the field of law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1911. In 1917, Cooper enlisted in the U.S. Navy and eventually reached the rank of lieutenant by the end of World War I. Cooper married Martha Helen Marvel in 1918 and the couple had three children: two girls and a boy. A year later he was relieved from active service and became a member of the Naval Reserve. In 1921 his rank became Lieutenant-Commander.

Relieved from active duty, Cooper served as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida State Bar Association Law Journal from 1927-1934. He was appointed to the International Technical Committee of Legal Aerial Experts from 1932–1934. He became Vice President of Pan American Airways from 1934–1945, and served on the board of directors from 1944–1946. In 1947 he served as a consultant to the U.S. President's Air Policy Commission. He was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, 1945–1950. It was at this time that Cooper began writing and presenting his papers on the legal issues surrounding air space. From the early 1950s through the end of his life, Cooper served as the legal counsel to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In 1951, Cooper founded the Institute of Air & Space Law at McGill University in Montreal. This Institution had become the U.N. body charged with safety in air navigation known as the International Civil Aviation Organization. In 1952 he was awarded his LL.D. from McGill University. From 1951–57 he was professor of International Air Law at McGill University, becoming the first director of the Institute of International Air Law, after which he was named Professor Emeritus. John Cobb Cooper, Jr. died on July 22, 1967.

Materials in the John Cobb Cooper Records were selected by Cooper so they could be donated to the Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection at the Biddle Law Library. The collection primarily consists of papers Cooper wrote, presented, or published in various journals from 1946-1966. Other materials in the collection include correspondence, unpublished bibliography on Aerospace Law Writings from 1931-1965 by John Cobb Cooper, reference material on space science, Cooper's curriculum vitae, and handwritten flash cards with bibliographic information.

1. Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection

Processed by Hoang Tran, November 2012.

University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library
Finding Aid Author
Hoang Tran
Finding Aid Date
2012 November
Access Restrictions

The archives reserves the right to restrict access to materials of sensitive nature. Please contact the department for further information.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

Series consists of materials John Cobb Cooper donated to the Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection. Contains one correspondence composed by John Cobb Cooper regarding his donation of outer space papers to the Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection. The recipient of the correspondence is Professor Morris Cohen, librarian of Biddle Law Library. Also contains an enclosed list prepared by Cooper of items that were to be donated for the collection.

Scope and Contents

Subsubseries contains the donated papers that John Cobb Cooper shipped to the Biddle Law Library for the Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection. This collection only has 53 of the total 54 papers listed as donated papers. The missing paper is #53, Contiguous Zones in Aerospace - Preventive and Protective Jurisdiction published in JAG L. Rev., September-October 1965.

Related Materials

Researchers interested in the missing paper, #53, Contiguous Zones in Aerospace - Preventive and Protective Jurisdiction can find a digitized copy here:


Processed to the item-level and arranged according to how John Cobb Cooper compiled the materials for donation which looks to be chronological. The dates on each item reflect when the paper was published not when it was presented.

Air and Power and the Coming Peace Treaties, 1946 April.
Box 1 Folder 2
Notes on Air Power in the Time of Peace, 1946 September.
Box 1 Folder 3
The Fundamentals of Air Power, 1948 January 7.
Box 1 Folder 4
International Ownership and Operation of World Air Transport Services, 1948 October 23.
Box 1 Folder 5
State Sovereignty vs. Federal Sovereignty of Navigable Airspace, 1948 Winter.
Box 1 Folder 6
Internationalization of Air Transport, 1949 Winter.
Box 1 Folder 7
High Altitude Flight and National Sovereignty, 1951 July.
Box 1 Folder 8
United States Participation in Drafting Paris Convention 1919, 1951 Summer.
Box 1 Folder 9
Air Law: Subject Matter, Terminology, Definition, 1951 September.
Box 1 Folder 10
Roman Law and the Maxium "Cujus Est Solum" in International Air Law, 1952.
Box 1 Folder 11
The International Air Navigation Conference, Paris 1910, 1952 Spring.
Box 1 Folder 12
Legal Problems of Upper Space, 1956.
Box 1 Folder 13
The Russian Satellite - Legal and Political Problems (Part I), 1957.
Box 1 Folder 14
The Russian Satellite - Legal and Political Problems, 1957.
Box 1 Folder 15
Flight-Space and the Satellites, 1957 November 27.
Box 1 Folder 16
Reprint of; Flight-Space and the Satellites in The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 1958 January.
Box 1 Folder 17
Reprint of; Flight-Space and the Satellites in Astronautics, 1958 March.
Box 1 Folder 18
Missiles and Satellites: The Law and Our National Policy, 1958.
Box 1 Folder 19
The Problem of a Definition of "Air Space", 1958.
Box 1 Folder 20
Memorandum on the "National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958", 1958.
Box 1 Folder 21
Sovereignty in Space - National Air Space Upper Boundary, An Unsolved Air Power Problem, 1959.
Box 1 Folder 22
Space Above the Seas, 1959.
Box 1 Folder 23
Air Sovereignty and the Legal Status of Outer Space, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 24
Flight-Space Law, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 25
International Control of Outer-Space - Some Preliminary Problems, 1960.
Box 2 Folder 1
Memorandum of Suggestions for an International Convention of Third Party Damage Caused by Space Vehicles, 1960.
Box 2 Folder 2
Fundamental Questions of Outer Space Law, 1961.
Box 2 Folder 3
French translation of Fundamental Questions of Outer Space Law. Revue Francaise de Droit Aerien, 1961.
Box 2 Folder 4
Questions of Space Law, 1961.
Box 2 Folder 5
The Rule of Law in Outer Space, 1961.
Box 2 Folder 6
Outer Space and the Law: An Engineering Problem, 1961.
Box 2 Folder 7
Self-Defense in Outer Space...and the United Nations, 1962.
Box 2 Folder 8
Reprint of Self-Defense in Outer Space...and the United Nations in German Translation, undated.
Box 2 Folder 9
The Chicago Convention and Outer Space, 1962.
Box 2 Folder 10
Status of Orbit Law Still Up in the Air, 1962 June 17.
Box 2 Folder 11
Current Developments in Space Law, 1963 Spring .
Box 2 Folder 12
Reprint of Current Developments in Space Law in Congressional Record, 1963 March 12.
Box 2 Folder 13
The Air Carrier and Passenger - The Legal Position, 1963 March .
Box 2 Folder 14
Aerospace Law - Subject Matter and Terminology, 1963 Spring.
Box 2 Folder 15
Aerospace Law - Recent Developments, 1963 June.
Box 2 Folder 16
Reprint of Aerospace Law - Recent Developments in The Airpower Historian, 1963 October.
Box 2 Folder 17
Passage of Spacecraft Through the Airspace, 1963.
Box 2 Folder 18
The Upper Airspace Boundary Question, 1963.
Box 2 Folder 19
Aerospace Law: Progress in the UN, 1964 March.
Box 2 Folder 20
Legal Problems of Spacecraft in Airspace, 1964.
Box 2 Folder 21
Must We Give Up Self-Defense Rights to Attain General Disarment?, 1964 July.
Box 2 Folder 22
The Boundary Between Territorial Airspace and International, 1964 September 11.
Box 2 Folder 23
The Chicago Convention - After Twenty Years, 1965 April 6-8.
Box 2 Folder 24
Liability of Space Damage - The United Nations - The Rome Convention, 1965 September 14-15.
Box 2 Folder 25
The Manned Orbiting Laboratory: A Major Legal and Political Decision, 1965 December.
Box 2 Folder 26
Scope and Contents

File also contains the publication translated in German; Bemannte Weltraumlaboratorien Eine Entscheidung von groBer rechtlicher und politischer Bedeutung.

The Chicago Convention - After Twenty Years, 1965 Spring.
Box 2 Folder 27
Who Will Own the Moon? The Need for an Answer, 1966 Spring.
Box 2 Folder 28
Scope and Contents

File also contains the publication translated in French; A Qui Appartiendra la Lune? Necessite D'Une Response, as well as two reprinted copies by Princeton Quarterly Winter 1965-1966.

Abhandlungen Zonen in Luft-Weltraum, 1966.
Box 2 Folder 29
Reference Material, 1966, undated.
Box 2 Folder 30-31
Scope and Contents

Subseries contains a bibliography of John Cobb Cooper's aerospace law writings between 1931 - 1965, reference material on space research prepared by Cooper for the University of Pennsylvania Library, group of index cards with short handwritten bibliographic information (title, publication, year, pages, etc.) regarding Cooper's donated papers for the Anna and Jonas Berger Memorial Space Law Collection, and a document that resembles a curriculum vitae or resume but not written in the first person.

Publication, 1967 March.
Box 2 Folder 32
Scope and Contents

File consists of five copies of Cooper's published paper in the March 1967 issue of Space Digest, Some Crucial Questions About the Space Treaty: a commentary by John Cobb Cooper.

Print, Suggest