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Margaret Cooper Papers

Identifier: 133

Scope and Contents

This six box collection consists of the personal papers of Margaret Cooper and documents her professional; civic and community activities; and achievements. The collection consists largely of certificates, plaques, programs, administrative materials, and miscellaneous materials documenting Cooper’s involvement as an active member and leader of several organizations and institutions, including Third Baptist Church, Christian Endeavor, D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Inc., the East Central Civic Association, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the National Capital Area Boy Scouts of America, Model Cities, and the United Planning Organization. Correspondence, certificates, and letters of recommendation document her work as a staff member at George Washington University Hospital. Newspaper clippings recording her achievements reflect Ms. Cooper’s legacy as a pillar in her community. The collection also includes funeral programs, cards, thank you notes, photographs, political buttons, posters, books, and ephemera.


  • Creation: 1918-1998


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Cooper was born in Warrington, Virginia on August 8, 1900. She attended Martha Washington Vocational School in Washington, D.C. Cooper was known to the Shaw neighborhood as “Mother Cooper.” She worked as a Registered Nurse at George Washington University Hospital. Cooper was active as a member of the Third Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. at 1546 5th Street NW. She worked as an activist in the Shaw neighborhood on numerous projects with various organizations such as the Shaw Project Area Committee, Junior Christian Endeavor, Boy Scouts of America, War on Rats, Federation of Civic associations, and the United Planning Organization. Cooper also served on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and was one of the first ANC commissioners for the Shaw neighborhood. Cooper lived on Warren Street NW from 1917 until her death on April 6, 2000 at the Hartland Health Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.


6 Boxes


Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Newspaper Clippings
Series 3: Photographs
Series 4: Organizations and Institutions
Series 5: Certificates, Awards, and Recognition
Series 6: Ephemera
Series 7: Local and Federal Government
Series 8: Books

Custodial History

The collection came to the library as a donation, and was accessioned into the Library’s collection in 2000.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed circa 2015 as part of the District of Columbia Africana Archives Project, a grant initiative of the George Washington University Libraries supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources. The reprocessing procedure included recategorizing the collection into 8 series, which were further organized by organization and, where applicable, document type.

Margaret Cooper Papers
An inventory of Margaret Cooper Papers at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by DC Africana Archives Project. The collection was reprocessed in 2019 by Maya Thompson.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-07-24: Added series 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001