Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cooper, William Ricketts

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COOPER, WILLIAM RICKETTS (1843–1878), oriental student, began life as a designer of carpet patterns, an occupation which he exchanged for that of a London missionary, until the influence of Joseph Bonomi the younger [q. v.] directed his varied energies to the study of Egyptian antiquities, to which the rest of his short life was devoted. Without being precisely a scholar, he accomplished a great deal of valuable work. He was one of the principal originators in 1870 of the Society of Biblical Archæology, of which he was the active and zealous secretary from its foundation, until delicate health compelled him in 1876 to retire to Ventnor, where he died two years later. The following is a list of his useful and painstaking publications:

  1. ‘Serpent Myths of Ancient Egypt,’ 1873.
  2. ‘The Resurrection of Assyria,’ 1875.
  3. Lectures on ‘Heroines of the Past,’ 1875.
  4. An address on ‘Egypt and the Pentateuch,’ 1875.
  5. ‘Archaic Dictionary,’ 1876.
  6. ‘The Horus Myth and Christianity,’ 1877.
  7. ‘Short History of the Egyptian Obelisk,’ 1877; 2nd edition, 1878.
  8. ‘Christian Evidence Lectures,’ delivered in 1872 and published 1880.

In addition to these works, the valuable series of translated Assyrian and Egyptian documents, entitled ‘Records of the Past,’ owes its origin to Cooper's energy and zeal. He translated Lenormant's ‘Chaldæan Magic,’ 1887.

[Athenæum, No. 2665; Academy, No. 342; Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, 1878; personal knowledge.]

S. L-P.