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Robert H. Cooper papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA-048

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials associated with Dr. Robert H. Cooper from both his professional and personal life dating from 1920 to 1981. Due to Dr. Cooper’s involvement in the formation of the Ball African bird collection, this collection contains numerous letters coordinating the acquisition, shipping, and exhibition of the bird specimens. The collection also includes Dr. Cooper’s genealogy notes, certificates and materials from his time as a pilot, and certificates from his clubs and associations. In addition, the collection contains materials associated with Robert Cooper's wife, Esther L. Munro Cooper.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1981

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Robert H. Cooper (1901-1990), namesake of the Ball State Cooper Science Complex, the Robert Cooper Audubon Society, and the Esther L. Cooper and Robert H. Cooper Memorial Woodland, was a professor at Ball State University from 1935-1968. In 1950, Cooper took over as the head of the Science department in addition to his role as professor of Biology. In 1965, the Science department was split into separate disciplines in, at which time Dr. Cooper became the coordinator of sciences and mathematics. One of his more significant contributions during his time at Ball State was the acquisition and curation of the Ball bird collection, notably the African bird collection in collaboration with Virginia Ball.

Outside of his work at Ball State University, Dr. Cooper had a variety of interests. Among many things, he was a member of the Indiana Audubon society, a society centered around interest in birding. He was also the Indiana president of the Kiwanis Club, an international service club. Dr. Cooper was also an avid airplane flier, and was known for taking students on excursions to Alaska.

Robert H. Cooper’s wife, Esther L. Munro Cooper, was also a Ball State alum, whom he met when they had an undergraduate biology class together. She went on to become a teacher and deaconess at Hazelwood Christian Church. She was also a member of the Ball State Faculty Wives, the International Wives club, and the McRae Wives Club – an organization of women who worked to improve their writing and paper presentation skills.


1.2 Cubic Feet (2 archival letter boxes, 1 thin archival legal box, and 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged alphabetically.

UA Restructuring

UA.048 was formerly RG.04.01.51.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014-09-16 by Kasey Mock. Collection reprocessed 2021-11-18 by Caelie McRobert.

Robert H. Cooper papers
Caelie McRobert
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Ball State University Archives Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA