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Edward Drinker Cope papers

 Collection
Identifier: HC.MC-956

Scope and Contents

This collection includes letters, notebooks, notes, and sketches related to Edward Drinker Cope's work in paleontology and related natural sciences. The collection includes sketches of birds, reptiles, and amphibians, some colored. There are letters on various scientific subjects from Alexander Agassiz, Louis Agassiz, Alexander Graham Bell, Pliny Earle Chase, Havelock Ellis, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, Arnold Henry Guyot, Joseph Henry, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Henry Huxley, Maria Mitchell, Sir Richard Owen, Robert Edwin Peary, Herbert Spencer, and others. Several notebooks include classification schemes and observations from research trips and experiments, as well as miscellaneous notes on birds, trees, and plants.

Dates

  • 1848 - 1940

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

Edward Drinker Cope (1840-­1897) was the son of Alfred and Hannah (Edge) Cope. He attended Westtown School and the University of Pennsylvania. Cope was a professor at Haverford College from 1864­ to 1867. He devoted his later years primarily to exploration and travelling throughout the Western United States to identify fossils of reptiles, fish, and mammals. Cope was a subscriber to the Lamarckian theory of evolution, holding that individuals pass acquired traits to their offspring; although incorrect, the view was widespread among paleontologists at the time. Cope presents views on the human race that would today be recognized as racist.

Cope's feud with Othniel Charles Marsh, a professor at Yale University, and their race to identify dinosaur skeletons led to the discovery of many new dinosaur species but also damaged their reputations; this has been referred to as the "Bone Wars." Over the course of his career, Cope discovered and described over 1,000 species of fossil vertebrates and published over 1,000 articles and books.

In addition to his fieldwork, Cope held curatorial posts at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. From 1889 to 1897, he taught geology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Extent

.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language

English

Overview

Letters, notebooks, notes, and sketches related to Cope's work in paleontology and related natural sciences. Also sketches of birds, reptiles, and amphibians, some colored. Letters on various scientific subjects from Alexander Agassiz, Louis Agassiz, Alexander Graham Bell, Pliny Earle Chase, Havelock Ellis, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, Arnold Henry Guyot, Joseph Henry, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Henry Huxley, Maria Mitchell, Sir Richard Owen, Robert Edwin Peary, Herbert Spencer, and others.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by type of material.

Related Materials

  • Cope-Evans family papers (HC.MC.1170)
  • Edward Drinker Cope notebooks (HC.MC.801.11.010)
  • Important Edward Drinker Cope collections are also held at the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Academy of Natural Sciences (Philadelphia) and the American Philosophical Society.

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown.

Title
Edward Drinker Cope papers, 1848-1940
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • May, 2022: Revised by Janeen Lamontagne

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

Contact:
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Haverford PA 19041 USA US