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James Fenimore Cooper - A Stan Klos Biography

James Fenimore Cooper

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COOPER, James Fenimore, author, born in Burlington, New Jersey, 15 September 1789; died in Cooperstown, New York, 14 September 1851. On his father's side he was descended from James Cooper, of Stratford-on-Avon, England, who immigrated to America in 1679 and made extensive purchases of land from the original proprietaries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He and his immediate descendants were Quakers, and for a long time many of them remained on the lands thus acquired. His mother, Elizabeth Fenimore, was of Swedish descent, and this name too is of frequent occurrence among the Society of Friends in the old Quaker settlements. Cooper was the eleventh of twelve children, most of whom died early. Soon after the conclusion of the revolutionary war William Cooper became the owner of a tract of land, several thousand acres in extent, within the borders of New York state and lying along the head-waters of the Susquehanna river. He encouraged the settlement of this tract as early as 1786, and by 1788 had selected and laid out the site of Cooperstown, on the shore of Otsego lake. A dwelling-house was erected, and in the autumn of 1790 the formidable task was undertaken of transporting a company of fifteen persons, including servants, from the comparative civilization of New Jersey to the wilderness of central New York. The journey was accomplished on 10 November and for six years the family lived in the log-house originally constructed for their domicile.


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In 1796 Mr. Cooper determined to make his home permanently in the town he had founded, which by that time promised to become a thriving settlement. He began the construction of a mansion, completed in 1799, which he named Otsego Hall, and which was for many years the manor-house of his own possessions, and by far the most spacious and stately private residence in central New York. To every reader that has fallen under the spell of Cooper's Indian romances, the surroundings of his boyhood days are significant. The American frontier prior to the 19th century was very different from that which exists at present. Then the foremost pioneers of emigration had barely begun to push their way westward through the Mohawk valley, the first available highway to the west. Out of the forest that bordered the shores of Otsego lake and surrounded the little settlement, Indians came for barter, or possibly with hostile intent, and until young Cooper was well advanced toward manhood the possibility of an Indian raid was by no means remote. The Six Nations were still strong enough to array a powerful band of warriors, and from their chieftains Cooper, no doubt, drew the portraits of the men that live in his pages. Such surroundings could not but stimulate a naturally active imagination, and the mysterious influence of the wilderness, augmented subsequently by the not dissimilar influence of the sea, pervaded his entire life.

The wilderness was his earliest and most potent teacher, after that the village school, and then private instruction in the family of the Rev. J. Ellison, the English rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Albany. This gentleman was a graduate of an English University, an accomplished scholar, and an irreconcilable monarchist. It is to be feared that the free air of the western continent did not altogether counteract the influence of his tutor during the formative period of the young American's mind. As an instructor, however, Ellison was, undeniably, well equipped, and such teachers were, in those days, extremely rare. His death, in 1802, interrupted Cooper's preparatory, studies, but he was already fitted to join the freshman class at Yale in the beginning of its second term, January 1803. According to his own account, he learned but little at College. Indeed, the thoroughness of his preparation in the classics under Ellison made it so easy for him to maintain a fair standing in his class that he was at liberty to pass his time as pleased him best. His love for out-of-door life led him to explore the rugged hills northward of New Haven, and the equally picturesque shores of Long Island sound probably gave him his first intimate acquaintance with the ocean. No doubt all this was, to some extent, favorable to the development of his sympathy with nature" but it did not improve his standing with the College authorities. Gradually he became wilder in his defiance of the academic restraints, and was at last expelled, during his third year. Perhaps, if the faculty could have foreseen the brilliant career of their unruly pupil, they would have exercised a little more forbearance in his case. Be this as it may, the father accepted the son's version of the affair and, after a heated controversy with the College authorities, took him home.

The United States already afforded a refuge for the political exiles of Europe, and was beginning also to attract the attention of distinguished foreign visitors; and many of these found their way as guests to Otsego hall. Talleyrand was among them, and almost every nationality of Europe was represented either among the permanent settlers of the town or among transient sojourners. Young Cooper, however, did not linger long at home, and, as the merchant marine offered the surest stepping-stone to a commission in the navy (the school at Annapolis not being yet established), a berth was secured for him on board the ship" Sterling," of Wiscasset, Maine, John Johnston master. She sailed from New York with a cargo of flour bound for Cowes and a market, in the autumn of 1806, about the time when Cooper should have been taking his degree with the rest of his classmates at Yale. He shipped as a sailor before the mast, and, although his social position was well known to the captain, he was never admitted to the cabin. A stormy voyage of forty days made a sailor of him before the "Sterling" reached London. During her stay there, Cooper made good use of his time, and visited everything that was accessible to a young man in sailor's dress, in and about the city. The "Sterling" sailed for the straits of Gibraltar in January 1807, and, taking on board a return cargo, went back to London, where she remained several weeks. In July she cleared for home, and reached Philadelphia after a voyage of fifty-two days.

According to the requirements of the time, Cooper was now qualified to be a midshipman ; his commission was issued 1 January 1808, and he reported for duty to the commandant at New York, 24 February Apparently war with Great Britain was imminent, and preparations were made in anticipation of immediate hostilities. Cooper served for a while on the "Vesuvius," and in the autumn was ordered to Oswego, New York, with a construction-party, to build a brig for service on Lake Ontario. Early in the spring of 1809 the vessel was launched, but by that time peaceful counsels had prevailed, and war was postponed for three years. All these experiences tended to develop the future novelist. Many incidents of the stormy North Atlantic voyages appear in his sea novels, while the long winter on the shore of Ontario gave him glimpses of border life in a new aspect, and his duties in the ship-yard made him familiar with every detail of naval construction. After a visit to Niagara, he was left in charge of the gun-boat flotilla on Lake Champlain, where he remained during the summer, and on 13 November 1809, was ordered to the "Wasp," under command of Captain James Lawrence. Nearly two years passed, of which there is but scant record; but during this period he had become engaged to a daughter of John Peter De Lancey, of Westchester county, New York, and they were married on 1 January 1811. Here again fate placed him under influences that shaped his future career. The De Lanceys were Tories during the revolutionary war, and the family traditions naturally supplemented the teaching of the English tutor. Cooper's own patriotism was staunch, but the associations of his life were such that, to a generation that looked with suspicion upon everything English, his motives often seemed questionable. The marriage was happy in every respect. In deference to the wishes of his wife, he resigned his commission in the navy on 6 May 1811. After a temporary residence in Westchester county, he went to Cooperstown and began a house, which was left unfinished and was burned in 1828. Again, out of consideration for his wife's preferences, he returned to Westchester county, where he remained until after his first literary success in 1821-'2. In the mean time his parents had died, his father in 1809 and his mother in 1817; six children, five daughters, and a son had been born to him; and his time had been given to the cultivation and improvement of his estate in Scarsdale, known as the Angevine farm. A second son, Paul, was born after his removal to New York City.

He was now thirty years old, and seemed no nearer to a literary life than he had been when he first donned his midshipman's uniform. One day he was reading an English novel to his wife, and casually remarked, as many another has done under like circumstances, "I believe I could write a better story myself." Encouraged by her, he made the attempt, with what ultimate success the world knows. "Precaution," a novel in two volumes, was published anonymously in an inferior manner in New York in 1820. Of this first novel it need only be said that it dealt with high life in England, a subject with which the author was personally unfamiliar, save through the pages of fiction. The book was republished in better editions, both in this country and in England ; and it is noteworthy that the English reviewers gave it a fairly favorable reception without suspecting its American origin. This venture can scarcely be said to have enabled him to taste the sweets of authorship, but it had the effect of stimulating the desire to write. Its modest success was such that Charles Wilkes and other friends urged him to try some familiar theme. " If," they urged, "he could so well dramatize affairs of which he was totally ignorant, why should not the sea and the frontier afford far more congenial themes ?"

The story of a spy, related by John Jay years before, recurred to his memory, and the surroundings of his home Westchester county, the debatable ground of both armies during almost the whole revolutionary period furnished a convenient stage. "The Spy" was the result, and during the winter of 1821-'2 the American public awoke to the fact that it possessed a novelist of its own. The success of this book, which was unprecedented at the time in the meager annals of American literature, determined Cooper's career; but, leaving his subsequent writings for consideration by themselves, the story of his life is here continued, independently of his authorship.

In 1823 he was living in New York. There, on 5 August his youngest child, Fenimore, died, and Cooper himself was shortly afterward seriously ill. By 1826 his popularity had reached its zenith with the publication of the "Last of the Mohicans." Until this time he had always signed his name James Cooper; but, in April 1826, the legislature passed an act changing the family name to Fenimore-Cooper, in compliance with the request of his grandmother, who wished thus to perpetuate her own family name. At first Cooper attempted to preserve the compound surname by using the hyphen, but he soon abandoned it altogether. With fame had arisen envy and uncharitableness at home and abroad. English reviewers at once claimed him as a native, and stigmatized him as a renegade. His birthplace was, with much show of authority, fixed in the Isle of Man, and for many years the matter was seriously in dispute, notwithstanding the positive proofs of his American nativity. In the decade following the adoption of his mother's surname the controversies gathered force that affected the closing years of his life, and even survived him.

He was one of the first Americans that, from personal association, reached a point whence he could look without bias upon the somewhat crude social development of his native country. Naturally of a headstrong and combative disposition, he had not the address to temper his utterances so as to avoid giving offence in an age when the popular sense smarted under what Mr. Lowell, even in our own time, has termed "a certain condescension in foreigners." All his patriotic championship of the young republic in foreign lands counted for naught in the light of the criticisms pronounced at home. His self-assertive manner made him enemies among men who could not understand that he was merely in earnest, and even Bryant owned to having been at first somewhat startled by an "emphatic frankness," which he afterward learned to estimate at its true value. A thorough democrat in his convictions, Cooper was still an aristocrat, and he often gave expression to views under different conditions that seemed alike contradictory and offensive. His love of country, however, was one of the most pronounced traits of his nature, and his faith in what is known as the "manifest destiny" of the republic was among the firmest of his convictions. This faith remained through the troublous days of "nullification," and through the early controversies concerning the abolition of slavery. Abroad he was the champion of free institutions, and had his triumphs in foreign capitals.

At home he was looked upon as an enemy of all that the fathers of the republic had fought for. An English writer in Colburn's "New Monthly Magazine" (1831) said of his personal bearing: "Yet he seems to claim little consideration on the score of intellectual greatness; he is evidently prouder of his birth than of his genius, and looks, speaks, and walks as if he exulted more in being recognized as an American citizen than as the author of ' The Pilot' and ' The Prairie.'" This proud Americanism did not, however, after the first years of his celebrity, injure his standing in England. During his repeated and often protracted visits to England, his society was sought by the most distinguished men of the time, although it is said that he never presented letters of introduction. He very soon convinced those with whom he associated that, though an American, he was not an easy person to patronize. On the continent he was unwillingly led into a controversy to which he ascribed much of the unpopularity that he afterward incurred in the United States. A debate had arisen in the French chamber of deputies in which Lafayette referred to the government of the United States as a model of economy and efficiency. Articles soon appeared in the papers disputing the accuracy of the figures, and arguing that the limited monarchy was the cheapest and best form of government.

Cooper, after holding aloof for a time from the discussion, published a pamphlet prefaced by a letter from Lafayette to himself, in which he reviewed the whole subject of government expenditure in the United States. This provoked answers and contradictory statements, some of which had a semi-official origin in the United States legation at St. Petersburg. One immediate outcome of the affair was a circular from the department of state calling for information regarding local expenditures. Against this Cooper protested in a long letter, which was published in the "National Gazette," of Philadelphia. The letters on the finance discussion aroused what now seems an altogether inexplicable bitterness against their author. The attacks upon him in the newspapers were excessively annoying to a proud and sensitive nature, and when he returned in 1833 it was with a determination to abandon literature, and a distrust of public opinion under the American republic. He resolved to reopen his ancestral mansion at Cooperstown, now long closed and falling into decay, and visited the place in June 1834, after an absence of nearly sixteen years. Repairs were at once begun, and the house was speedily put in order.

At first the winters were spent in New York and the summers in Cooperstown ; but eventually he made the latter place his permanent abode. He was no longer in sympathy with the restless spirit of progress that had exterminated the Indian and was leveling the forests of the United States. The Mohawk valley, once traversed only by a rude bridle-path, now afforded passage for an endless procession of canal-boats from the ocean to the inland seas; railroads were building, and the whole motive of existence was feverish anxiety for gain. The associations of his boyhood home soon revived the instinct for literary work, and he resumed his pen. But in the mean time he did not hesitate to express his conviction that the morals and manners of the country were decidedly worse than they had been twenty years before, and the utterances of so famous a man soon became public property. A contemporary journal said of him, in 1841: "He has disparaged American lakes, ridiculed American scenery, burlesqued American coin, and even satirized the American flag!" Cooper had apparently believed that his amicably intended criticism of American manners and customs would be received with some deference, if not with a moderate degree of gratitude, and vituperation of this character astonished him. During the years that followed, the breach steadily widened between Cooper and his countrymen, and even his fellow-towns-men.

In 1837 the local quarrel culminated in what was known as "the three-mile-point controversy." This point was a part of the Cooper estate, and, owing to the good nature of the heirs, had been used as a public resort until the townspeople had come to believe that it was actually their own. When Cooper returned to his home he endeavored, in an informal way, to uproot this idea of public ownership. Each repetition of his purpose was resented, and at last a popular outcry was raised against the arrogant claims of "one J. Fenimore Cooper." A Massachusetts-meeting was called, and fiery resolutions were passed; but there was not a shadow of lawful right on the popular side, and, as soon as measures were taken to protect the property against trespassers, the claim of the town had to be abandoned. The affair, however, widened the breech between the author and the public, and the newspapers were not slow to present his actions to their readers in the most objectionable light. The novel entitled "Home as Found" was an outgrowth of this experience a sequel, nominally, to "Homeward Bound," but as different as possible in most of the qualities that go to make a successful novel. Cooper's indignation appears to have dulled his literary discrimination, and he made the characters in his novels express unpardonably offensive ideas in the most disagreeable way imaginable. Two of these characters were identified as intended to personate the author himself John and Edward Effingham in "Home as Found " and none of the protests and denials put forth by Mr. Cooper had any appreciable effect in removing the impression. For writing this book he was never forgiven by his contemporaries, and the bitterness of popular indignation was intensified by the knowledge that the book, like his others, was sure to be translated into all the languages of Europe. On the other hand, the brutality of the newspaper attacks upon the author was inexcusable.

During the decade ending with 1843 Cooper explored almost every available avenue to unpopularity, not only in his own country, but in England. Even such professedly exemplary and fastidious publications as Blackwood's and Frazer's magazines invented epithets in worst taste, if possible, than those applied to him in his own country. Just at this crisis, when he was denounced in England for obtrusive republicanism, and pursued at home for aristocratic sympathies, he instituted libel suits against many of the leading Whig editors in the state of New York. Among these was Thurlow Weed, of the Albany "Evening Journal," James Watson Webb, of the " Courier and Enquirer," Horace Greeley, of the "Tribune," and William L. Stone, of the "Commercial Advertiser," the three last-named journals published in New York City. These suits at first caused much merriment among the defendants; but when jury after jury was obliged, in most cases, reluctantly to return a verdict for the plaintiff, there was a decided change in the tone of the press. The damages awarded were usually small, but the aggregate was considerable, and the restraining effect of verdicts was immediately apparent. The suit against Mr. Webb differed from the rest, in that it was a criminal proceeding, under an indictment from the grand jury of Otsego county. Probably Mr. Cooper failed to secure a verdict in this instance for the reason that, while the jury might probably have assessed damages, they could not agree to send the defendant to prison. Possibly, however, the reading aloud in open court by plaintiff's counsel of "Home as Found" had an unfortunate effect. In these suits Mr. Cooper acted as his own counsel, with regular professional assistance, and proved himself an able advocate and an excellent jury-lawyer. The most pertinacious of the accused journalists was Thurlow Weed, and against him numerous distinct and successful suits were brought. Repeated adverse verdicts, with costs, at last reduced even Mr. Weed to submission, and in 1842 he published a sweeping retraction of all that he had ever printed derogatory to Cooper's character. These successful prosecutions did not in the least help the author's general popularity. Indeed, he seemed to undertake them in a spirit of knight-errantry, and follow them to the end from a lofty conviction of the righteousness of his own cause. The effect of the controversy was to embitter the last years of a life that should have ended serenely in the assurance of a well-earned and world-wide literary fame.

Cooper died in his home, Otsego Hall, and was buried in the Episcopal Church-yard. A monument has been erected there, surmounted by a statue of "Leather-stocking," and bearing as a sufficient inscription the author's name in full, with the dates of his birth and death. Six months after his death a public meeting was held, in honor of his memory, in the city of New York. Daniel Webster presided and addressed the assembly, as did also William Cullen Bryant. Washington Irving was also present, with a large representation of the most cultivated people in the city. A few years after the novelist's death Otsego Hall was burned, and the surrounding property was sold by the heirs. In concluding a sketch of Cooper's life, it should be said that when about to die, and apparently in the full possession of his faculties, he enjoined his family never to allow the publication of an authorized account of his life. This command has been faithfully obeyed, and none of the several biographers have had access to his papers. Mrs. Cooper survived her husband only a few months, and was buried by his side at Cooperstown.

An exhaustive history of Cooper's literary work would include more than seventy titles of books and other publications, and a long list of miscellaneous articles published in magazines and newspapers. Some of these have been casually referred to in the preceding narrative, when they seemed to mark important passages in his career. Such were "Precaution," his first venture, "The Spy," his first success, "The Last of the Mohicans," marking the high tide of his popularity, and "Home as Found," as the direct cause of the unhappy final controversies. The ten years following the publication of "The Spy" saw perhaps his chief successes. These included the five famous "Leatherstocking Tales," beginning with the " Pioneers," of which 3,500 copies were sold before noon on the day of publication. This period also included "The Pilot," the production of which was suggested by the appearance of Scott's "Pirate," which, in Cooper's estimation, was unmistakably a landsman's work. Cooper's sailor instincts told him that the most had not been made out of the available materials, and he was successful, in this and his other sea-stories, in proving his theory. "Lionel Lincoln," too, was the first of a distinctive group intended to embrace, as the title-page to the first edition indicated, "Legends of the Thirteen Republics." After the summit of fame had been reached, and his books were eagerly awaited in two continents, came the controversial period, extending to 1842, and overlapping by a year or more the last decade of his literary activity. It was inevitable that the disturbing influences preceding his later work should have their effect. An observer so keen as he could not fail to note the position in which he had been placed by the misunderstandings and disputes that had fallen to his lot. The younger generation of readers had almost insensibly imbibed the impression that he was the justly disliked and distrusted critic of everything American. That he was conscious of this feeling, and sensitive to it, is evident from passages in the later works, in which he alludes to love of country and popular injustice, and the like. This period also saw the production of his "History of the United States Navy," a work for which it is said he had been collecting materials for as many as fourteen years. For its preparation he was peculiarly qualified, through his personal acquaintance with naval officers and his familiarity with all the details of a seafaring life. When it is read at this late day it is difficult to understand why it should have excited the rancor that it did. Any one of the present generation who is reasonably fair-minded must see that it is the work of a judicial mind, which seeks to do exact justice, irrespective of patriotic considerations. It was its fate, however, to stir up controversies as harsh and enduring as any of those in which its author was previously engaged, and it was freely denounced on both sides of the ocean as grossly unfair for diametrically opposite reasons. Cooper's facts have borne the test of time, and the work must always remain an authority on the subject treated. It was highly successful commercially, and went through three editions before the author's death, which event interrupted a continuation of the work intended to include the Mexican war. As one of the most successful of authors, Cooper's fame is assured. The generation that now reads the "Leatherstocking Tales," "The Pilot," " Wing and Wing," and the rest of his stories of adventure, know him only as a master of fine descriptive English, with a tendency now and then to prolix generalization. His libel suits and controversies are forgotten, his offensive criticisms are rarely read, and he is remembered only as the most brilliant and successful of American novelists.

The greater part of Cooper's title-pages, in the original editions at least, do not bear his name. They are "by the author of, etc., etc." The controversial papers usually bore his name. In the " Knickerbocker," "Graham's," and the "Naval" magazines and elsewhere, he published many valuable contributions, letters, and some serial and short stories that afterward appeared in book-form. Several posthumous publications appeared in "Putnam's Magazine" A work on "The Towns of Manhattan" was in press at the time of his death, but a fire destroyed the printed portion, and only a part of the manuscript was recovered. A few books have been erroneously ascribed to him, but they are not of sufficient importance to be now mentioned. The following list embraces all his principal works : "Precaution," a novel (New York, 1820; English edition, 1821); "The Spy, a Tale of the Neutral Ground" (1821 ; English edition, 1822); "The Pioneers, or the Sources of the Susquehanna ; a Descriptive Tale" (1823 ; English ed., and London, 1823); "The Pilot, a Tale of the Sea" (1823);" Lionel Lincoln, or the Leaguer of Boston" (1825) ; "The Last of the Mohicans, a Narrative of 1757" (Philadelphia, 1826); "The Prairie, 'a Tale" (1827) ; "The Red Rover, a Tale" (1828) ; "Notions of the Americans ; Picked up by a Travelling Bachelor" (1828); " The Wept of Wishton-Wish, a Tale" (1829); English title, "The Borderers, or the Wept of Wishton-Wish," also published as " The Heathcotes" ; "The Water-Witch, or the Skimmer of the Seas; a Tale " (1830) ; "The Bravo, a Tale" (1831) ; "Letter of J. Fenimore Cooper to General Lafayette on the Expenditure of the United States of America" (Paris, 1831); "The Heidenmauer, or the Benedictines; a Legend of the Rhine" (Philadelphia, 1832); "The Headsman, or the Abbaye des Vignerons; a Tale" (1833); "A Letter to his Countrymen" (New York, 1834) ; "The Monikins" (Philadelphia, 1335) ; "Sketches of Switzerland" (1836); English title, "Excursions in Switzerland";" A Residence in France, with an Excursion up the Rhine, and a Second Visit to Switzerland "; " Gleanings in Europe" (1837) ; English title, " Recollections of Europe "; " Gleanings in Europe-England" (1837) ; English title, "England, with Sketches of Society in the Metropolis"; " Gleanings in Europe-Italy" (1838) ; English title, "Excursions in Italy "; " The American Democrat, or Hints oil the Social and Civic Relations of the United States of America" (Coopers-town, 1838); "The Chronicles of Cooperstown" (1838); "Homeward Bound, or the Chase; a Tale of the Sea" (Philadelphia, 1838); "Home as Found" (Philadelphia, 1838); English title, "Eve Effingham, or Home"; "History of the Navy of the United States of America" (1839);" The Pathfinder, or the Inland Sea" (1840), "Mercedes of Castile, or the Voyage to Cathay" (1840); English title, "Mercedes of Castile, a Romance of the Days of Columbus"; " The Deerslayer, or the First War Path ; a Tale " (Philadelphia, 1841); " The Two Admirals, a Tale" (1842) ; "The Wing-and-Wing, or Le Feu-Follel; a Tale" (1842); English title, "The Jack o' Lantern (Le Feu-Follet), or the Privateer "; "Richard Dale" ; "The Battle of Lake Erie, or Answers to Messrs. Burges, Duer, and Mackenzie" (Cooperstown, 1843) ; " Wyandotte, or the Hutted Knoll; a Tale" (Philadelphia, 1843);" Ned Myers, or a Life before the Mast" (1843); "Afloat and Ashore, or the Adventures of Miles Wallingford" (published by the author, 1844; 2d series, New York, 1844; English title, "Lucy Hardinge ") ; " Proceedings of the Naval Court-Martial in the Case of Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, a Commander in the Navy of the United States, etc., including the Charges and Specifications of Charges preferred against him by the Secretary of the Navy, to which is anhexed an Elaborate Review" (1844);"Satanstoe, or the Littlepage Manuscripts; a Tale of the Colony" (1845) ; "The Chainbearer, or the Little-page Manuscripts" (1846) ; "Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers" (Philadelphia and Auburn, 1846); " The Redskins, or Indian and Injin ; being the Conclusion of the Littlepage Manuscripts" (New York, 1846); English title, " Ravensnest, or the Redskins" ; "The Crater, or Vulcan's Peak ; a Tale of the Pacific" (New York, 1847); the English title was "Mark's Reef, or the Crater"; "Jack Tier, or the Florida Reefs" (1848) ; "The Oak Openings, or the Bee Hunter" (1848); English title, "The Bee Hunter, or the Oak Openings"; "The Sea Lions, or the Lost Sealers" (1849) ; "The Ways of the Hour ; a Tale" (1850). See "Memorim Discourse" by William Cullen Bryant, with speeches by Daniel Webster and others (New York, 1852); " The Home of Cooper," by R. born Coffin (Barry Gray) (1872); "James Fenimore Cooper," by Thomas Rainsford Lounsbury (Boston, 1882); and "Bryant and his Friends" (New York, 1886).

His daughter, Susan Fenimore Cooper, author, born in Scarsdale, New York, in 1813, is the second child and the eldest of five that reached maturity. During the latter years of her father's life she became his secretary and amanuensis, and but for her father's prohibition would naturally have become his biographer. In 1873 she founded an orphanage in Cooperstown, and under her superintendence it became in a few years a prosperous charitable institution. It was begun in a modest house in a small way with five pupils; now the building, which was erected in 1883, shelters ninety boys and girls. The orphans are taken when quite young, are fed, clothed, and educated in the ordinary English branches, and when old enough positions are found for them in good Christian families. Some of them before leaving are taught to earn their own living. In furtherance of the work to which she has consecrated her later years, and which she terms her "life work," during 1886 she established "Tho Friendly Society." Every lady on becoming a member of the society chooses one of the girls in the orphanage and makes her the object of her special care and solicitude. Her home is built mainly with bricks and materials from the ruins of Otsego Hall, of which a fine view is given on a previous page. Her published books are "Rural Hours" (New York, 1850); "The Journal of a Naturalist," an English book, edited and annotated by Miss Cooper (1852); " Rhyme and Reason of Country Life" (1885); and "Mt. Vernon to the Children of America" (1858). -- Edited Appleton's Cyclopedia American Biography Copyright 2001 by StanKlos.comTM

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James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
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... James Fenimore Cooper. Biography of James Fenimore Cooper. James Fenimore
Cooper had a remarkably boring, wealthy existence. His parents ...

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From Revolution to Reconstruction: Outlines: Outline of American ...
... An Outline of American Literature. by Kathryn VanSpanckeren. Democratic Origins
and Revolutionary Writers, 1776-1820: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851). ...

Read James Fenimore Cooper books online - The Literature Page
... Index by Author. James Fenimore Cooper (1789 - 1851) US novelist We have the following
works by James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans, 1826, 398 pages. ...

James Fenimore Cooper
Born in Burlington City in 1789, James Fenimore Cooper was one of the
great American novelists. ... James Fenimore Cooper. Born in Burlington ...

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
American Literature on the Web Resources in Japanese James Fenimore
Cooper (1789-1851): born Sept. ... 1969). (Cooper, James Fenimore. ...

James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper. America's first literary giant. Cooper lived and wrote
in the times between the Revolution and the War Between the States. ...

Chapter 2. James Fenimore Cooper. Van Doren, Carl. 1921. The ...
... Carl Van Doren (18851950). The American Novel. 1921. II. James
Fenimore Cooper THE TASK of becoming the principal romancer of ...

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