Cooper’s roots can be traced to the mid-1870s, when Richard M. Cooper, MD, and members of his extended family donated money and land bounded by Mickle Street (now Martin Luther King Boulevard), Benson Street, 6th Street, and 7th Street for a new hospital. Guided by their Quaker roots, the prominent Camden family sought to provide medical care for the indigent population of the city. Although the four-story stone building was completed in 1877, the original 30-bed hospital stood empty for 10 years until enough money was available to open for patients in August 1887. Cooper Hospital’s original medical staff consisted of eight doctors: four general physicians and four surgeons.
Cooper Hospital quickly became a cornerstone in the Camden community. As hospital facilities and medical care advanced, Cooper’s reputation for excellence became widespread and it began to expand.