COOPER, James Graham

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COOPER, James Graham (1830-1902), New York-born physician, ornithologist, field naturalist, and conchologist associated with the California Academy of Sciences. He graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1851, spending the two years following in New York hospitals. Cooper served as one of the physicians of the Pacific Railroad Survey Expedition for two years.

James Graham Cooper (1820-1902)

Cooper is known to have visited several of the California Channel Islands: as early as October 1861 he visited Santa Catalina Island; in mid-May, 1862 he visited Santa Cruz Island; and in 1863 he visited Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, San Nicolas and San Clemente islands. Cooper camped on Santa Barbara Island May 24-June 12, 1863 with a party engaged in hunting sea lions, and made the first known botanical collection from that island.

January 9, 1866 Cooper married Rosanna McPherson Wells (1843- ), a San Francisco clergyman's daughter. In 1871 Cooper settled in Ventura County, where he remained until 1875. He then moved to Hayward, California where he remained until his death on July 19, 1902. Cooper published may articles on conchology, botany, ornithology, mammalogy, geology, and paleontology.

Spencer F. Baird characterized Cooper's work as: “By far the most valuable contribution to the biography of American birds that has appeared since the time of Audubon.” The authoritative chapter on zoology in T. F. Cronise's Natural Wealth of California (1868) is by Cooper.

Specimens he collected are in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Harvard and the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. Lorenzo Yates modeled his 1890 Mollusca of Santa Barbara County after the work of Cooper. Cooper's hawk is named in his honor.

James G. Cooper died at age 72 at his home in Hayward, Alameda County, California on July 19, 1902.


Palmer, T. S. Nomenclature of California Birds in Condor 30(5):267-268 September-October 1928:

COOPER, Dr. James Graham. “Born in New York City, June 19, 1830; died at Hayward, California, July 19, 1902. Army surgeon, naturalist, author of Ornithology of California published in the series of reports of the State Geological Survey, and one of the most prominent resident ornithologists of California. He published a number of shorter papers on birds and contributed extensively on mollusks. The first state ornithological organization, the Cooper Ornithological Club, was named in his honor and he was made its first honorary member. His memory is preserved in Buteo cooperi Cassin (a doubtful species on a bird collected by Dr. Cooper near Mountain View, Santa Clara County, in November, 1855); Melospiza m. cooperi Ridgway, from San Diego; Piranga r. cooperi Ridgway; and Podiceps cooperi Lawrence, a synonym of Colymbus holboelli. Loomis has also proposed Cooper's Shearwater as the common name for Puffinus creatopus, usually known as the Pink-footed Shearwater (Rev. Tubinares, 1918, p. 109).”


Cooper collected on:

  • Farallon Islands (1864, 1874)
  • San Clemente Island (1861, 1863)
  • San Nicolas Island (1863)
  • Santa Barbara Island (1863)
  • Santa Catalina Island (1861, 1863)
  • Santa Cruz Island (1862)


WIKIPEDIA: JAMES GRAHAM COOPER


CONDOR 1(1): JAMES G. COOPER, A SKETCH, 1899


» Cooper, J. G. Report of Explorations of the Islands of the Southern coast of California 1863, unpublished

» Whitney, J. D. Report of Progress and Synopsis of the Field-work, from 1860-1864 of the Islands off the Coast of Southern California in Second California Geological Survey, 5(1) Chapter VI, Section 5 (182-186) 1865

» Cooper, J. G. The Naturalist in California in American Naturalist 3(9):470-481, 1869

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/128429#page/484/mode/1up

» Dall, William H. Notice of Dr. James G. Cooper in The Osprey 1(7):107-108 New Series, July 1902

» Taylor, Walter P. Notes on Mammals collected principally in Washington and California between the Years 1853 and 1874 by Dr. James Graham Cooper in Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth Series, 9(3):69-121, July 12, 1919

» Coan, E. James Graham Cooper, Pioneer West Coast Naturalist The Northwest Naturalist Book, The University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 1981.


[CAS portrait] SEE 1865 PHOTO Ornithologists of the US Army 1942



Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper and Ferdinand Gruber MVZ June 17, 1861 MVZ-4404 Uria aalge californica Birds
~ trip ~
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper and Ferdinand Gruber MVZ June 16, 1862 MVZ-4411 Phalacrocorax pelagicus resplendens Birds
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper and Ferdinand Gruber MVZ June 19, 1862 MVZ-4410 Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus Birds
~ trip ~
Farallon Islands J. C. Cooper MVZ June 27, 1864 MVZ-4409 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
Farallon Islands J. C. Cooper MVZ June 27, 1864 MVZ-4422 Larus occidentalis occidentalis Birds
Farallon Islands J. C. Cooper MVZ June 27, 1864 MVZ-4442 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper MVZ June 28, 1864 MVZ-4310 Contopus sordidulus veliei Birds
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper MCZ June 28, 1864 MCZ-32751 Larus hermanni Birds
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper MVZ June 29, 1864 MVZ-4406 Cepphus columba columba Birds
Farallon Islands J. G. Cooper MVZ June 29, 1864 MVZ-44012 Phalacrocorax pelagicus resplendens Birds


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER
San Clemente Island J. G. Cooper NMNH July 1861 USNM-16321 Xantusia riversiana Herps
~ trip ~
San Clemente Island J. G. Cooper NMNH July 7, 1863 USNM-12269 Urocyon littoralis clementae Mammals
San Clemente Island J. G. Cooper MVZ July 7, 1863 MVZ-4419 Larus heermanni Birds
San Miguel IslandSan Nicolas Island 7/1/186 NMNH birds
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper MVZ July 1, 1863 MVZ-8278 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper MVZ July 1, 1863 MVZ-4498 Puffinus creatopus Birds
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper NMNH July 1, 1863 USNM-31964 Puffinus creatopus Birds
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper NMNH nd USNM-38201 Urocyon littoralis dickeyi Mammals
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper YPM nd YPM-102997 Phoebastria albatrus Birds
~ trip ~
San Nicolas Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 23, 1897 MVZ-8277 Xantusia riversiana Herps



ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper NMNH May 24, 1863 USNM-16322 Xantusia riversiana Herps
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper CAS May 25, 1863 CAS-22215 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 26, 1863 MVZ-1950 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 26, 1863 MVZ-1952 Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 27, 1863 MVZ-4386 Falco peregrinus anatum Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper NMNH May 27, 1863 USNM-145277 Peromyscus maniculatus elusus Mammals
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 30, 1863 MVZ-4142 Melospiza melodia graminea Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper NMNH May 31, 1863 USNM-19106 Synthliboramphus hypoleucus Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ May 1863 MVZ-4439 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 1, 1863 MVZ-4440 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 2, 1863 MVZ-4489 Haematopus palliatus frazari Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 12, 1863 MVZ-4441 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 1863 MVZ-1955 Haematopus bachmani Eggs


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ October 31, 1861 MVZ-4121 Pipilo maculatus clementae Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ October 31, 1861 MVZ-4217 Polioptila caerulea amoenissima Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ November 1, 1861 MVZ-4175 Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ November 1, 1861 MVZ-4176 Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ November 1, 1861 MVZ-4458 Pluvialis squatarola Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ November 1, 1861 MVZ-4485 Melanitta perspicillata Birds
~ trip ~
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper NMNH June 16, 1863 NMNH-145285 Otospermophilus beecheyi nesioticus Mammals
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 19, 1863 MVZ-4141 Aimophila ruficeps obscura Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper YPM June 25, 1863 YPM-106517 Phoebastria albatrus Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper MVZ June 28, 1863 MVZ-4140 Aimophila ruficeps obscura Birds
Santa Catalina Island J. G. Cooper UC n.d. UC-12771 Prunus ilicifolia lyonii Plants


Santa Cruz Island 1862



In the News~

July 15, 1863 [letter]: San Pedro, Cal. Dear Professor [Baird], I did not receive your letters of April 24 and May 8 until yesterday, when I arrived here from the islands, having spent the last six weeks on them., 3 of which were unfortunately devoted to Santa Barbara Island where I would have been long enough. I succeeded pretty well however, but would have done better if I could have gone a month earlier in the Coast Survey schooner, which is now here, offered for sale. I have as yet only explored the four southern islands, and may postpone the others until next spring, when there will be more chances of gathering birds and eggs on them. I found few species breeding on Santa Barbara Island… San Clemente I spent five days… On Santa Catalina I spent 17 days and found much more in all classes than on the others…” Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU 6999T Regist., 1834-1958 Access. Rec. #432