Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Linda Welters


Dan Cooper (1901-1965) merits greater attention than he has received for his contributions to twentieth-century American interior design. During his forty-one-year career, he was a keen observer of changes in American society and was in the vanguard of interior designers offering attractive and usable products.

From 1924 to 1965, Cooper decorated the interiors of large private residences, hotels, public spaces, government housing projects, and corporate headquarters as well as several modes of transport. He helped validate his chosen profession by setting standards and advocating solid business practices. He offered furniture, fabrics, and accessories for almost every pocket book.

With an open mind and an eye on current events and business trends, Cooper showed a resiliency to economic fluctuations. He not only survived but sought to expand his business by licensing his furniture designs, contracting with home furnishing and fashion accessory manufacturers, and selling directly to the public. He simultaneously embraced technological advances in textile and furniture manufacturing and advocated public respect and support for well-designed handicrafts. Cultural institutions exhibited his design work alongside that of his better known contemporaries; educators welcomed what he had to say; the public listened to his advice; and the media gave him good coverage.

Never rejecting the past, Cooper sought to integrate the old and the new into a harmonious blend of timeless "good design" with a distinctly American flair, and he consistently offered quality, practicality, and style.



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