Rev. John Montgomery Cooper, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, at the Catholic University of America, was born at Rockville, Maryland on October 28th, 1881. He is descended from James Cooper, of Mayfield, Staffordshire, England, who settled at Darby, Pennsylvania, in 1684. Doctor Cooper received his early education at Calvert Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, from 1888 to 1897. Thereafter, he matriculated at St. Charles College Howard County, Maryland, and two years later enrolled at the American College in Rome. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree was conferred on him by the Roman Academy of St. Thomas in 1902, and three years later, he was awarded the Doctorate in Sacred Theology by Propaganda College in Rome. Ordained to the priesthood in Rome, on June 17th, 1905, Father Cooper has been a member of the faculty of Catholic University since 1909, and Professor of Anthropology since 1928.
Doctor Cooper's scientific work has been concerned chiefly with the North American Indians amongst whom he has done a large amount of field research. From 1915 to 1938, he has to his credit, twelve expeditions to various tribes. He has made significant discoveries particularly with reference to land tenure, hunting and trapping methods, and the magico - religious culture of such tribes as Tetes-de-Boule Cree, James Bay Cree and Montagnais and Althabaskan speaking peoples of the Mackenzie Valley. He also has to his credit, discoveries in the stratification of culture in southern South America, especially of the Tribes of Tierra del Fuego.
Doctor Cooper has published four books on his findings in Anthropology, as well as numerous articles which have appeared in scientific journals in this country and abroad. He has merited the recognition of his fellow scientists of the American Anthropological Association, being chosen to serve as Secretary from 1931 to 1937, and as Vice - President from 1937 to the present. He is a past President of the Anthropological Society of Washington; Chairman, National Research Council Committee on Survey of South American Indians; Corresponding member Sociedad Anthropologia Argentina, member Washington Academy of Sciences; Societe des Americanistes de Paris and Anthropologische Gesellschaft in Wien. He has been the moving spirit of the Catholic Anthropological Conference serving from the beginning as Secretary - Treasurer and Editor of the Conference Publications, and of its quarterly, "Primitive Man".
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 4, 1939. Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania.