Read about the remarkable women in The Cooper Union Hall of Fame who graduated from the Cooper Union prior to 1950.

Georgina Davis, A 1901,  studied  Art at the Cooper Union.  She was a prominent nineteenth century illustrator, painter and etcher. Georgina Davis worked  as a commercial artist for over thirty years, at a time when few women were able to pursue independent careers in the arts. Her illustrations appeared in the Salvation Army newspaper, children’s books published by the McLoughlin Brothers, and in the major nineteenth century weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  Read More

Daisy Brown, Eng 1904, is believed to be the first female graduate of the Cooper Union Engineering programs. Women were prevented from entering the engineering profession at that time, so she taught in a Patterson, NJ high school. Read More

Augusta Savage, A’25 inspired the Saturday Art Program at The Cooper Union. She was a pioneering African American female artist whose work as a sculptor and educator made her a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1932, she established a studio, located in Harlem called the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts. The studio was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation and provided arts education to several African American Artists including Jacob Lawrence and Norman Lewis. She later became the first director of the Harlem Community Arts Center. Augusta was commissioned to create a sculpture for the 1939 New York World’s Fair that represented the musical contributions of African Americans. The final work, titled The Harp, incorporated singing African American Figures that symbolized the strings of a harp. Read More

Vera Neumann A’28 was a designer and business woman. She is an icon of  design and brand development, dating from the 1950s onwards. She was one of 3 founders of textile-printing business, Printex Corporation of America. In 1967, Vera  sold the company to the Manhattan Shirt Company. She retained the presidency of the Vera Companies subsidiary and was the only woman on the board of directors of Manhattan Industries.  Read More

Krasner, Lee - Photo from Bio Resource Center

Lee Krasner A’29 was a an artist that was at the forefront of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  Her work gained major notice during the 1970s coinciding with the rise of feminism.  Lee Krasner managed Jackson Pollock’s career during the time of their marriage and oversaw the continued showing of Jackson Pollock’s work after his death.  Some major retrospectives of her work were given at Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1965, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1973-74, and Barbison Art Gallery in London, 2019  Read More

12-2011 newsletter Elanore Pettersen

Eleanore Pettersen, FAIA, AR’41, was the first woman presented with a Presidential Citation by the Cooper Union, in 1965.  She helped lead the way for women in her profession. In 1985, she became the first woman elected president by the New Jersey Society of Architects. After graduating from Cooper Union she worked as the apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona and Wisconsin. From 1946 to 1950 she worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, designing power service buildings and visitor’s facilities. In 1950 she became one of the first women to be licensed as architects in New Jersey and in 1952 she established her own architectural practice in Saddle River, NJ.  Read More

Phyllis Belous Berger ME’46 was the first woman to graduate in mechanical engineering from The Cooper Union. She went on to become an engineering professor. Throughout her career, she broke through barriers for future genera­tions of female engineers. She was a founding mem­ber of the Society for Women Engineers. Read More


Lois Dodd, A’48 is acclaimed for her paintings of the New England landscape.  She was one of the founders of the Tanager Gallery, which was integral to the Tenth Street-avant-garde scene of the 1950s where artists began running their own coop galleries. From 1969-1976, she exhibited at the Green Mountain Gallery.  Lois taught at Brooklyn College for 21 years (1971 to 1992) and she taught at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where she served on the Board beginning in 1980.  She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and of the National Academy of Design. Read More