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Robert Archer Cooper (June 12, 1874 – August 7, 1953) was the 93rd Governor of South Carolina from January 21, 1919 to May 20, 1922.[1]

Robert Archer Cooper
Robert Archer Cooper (South Carolina Governor).jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
In office
January 29, 1934 – 1947
Appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Ira K. Wells
Succeeded by David Chávez
93rd Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 21, 1919 – May 20, 1922
Lieutenant J.T. Liles
Wilson Godfrey Harvey
Preceded by Richard Irvine Manning III
Succeeded by Wilson Godfrey Harvey
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Laurens County
In office
January 8, 1901 – January 10, 1905
Personal details
Born Robert Archer Cooper
(1874-06-12)June 12, 1874
Laurens County, South Carolina
Died August 7, 1953(1953-08-07) (aged 79)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mamie Eugenia Machen
Dorcas Calmes
Children 2, Elizabeth from his marriage with Mamie Eugenia and Robert from his marriage with Dorcas Calmes.
Alma mater Polytechnic Institute
Profession Lawyer, politician


Born in Waterloo Township, Laurens County, Cooper graduated with a law degree from Polytechnic Institute in San Germán, Puerto Rico. He was admitted to the bar in 1898 and practiced law in Laurens. In 1900, Cooper was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives until 1904 when he was elected as the Solicitor of the Eighth Judicial District of South Carolina.

Cooper entered the gubernatorial election of 1918 and won the general election without opposition to become the 93rd governor of South Carolina. He continued the progressive policies of his predecessor, Richard Irvine Manning III, by establishing a seven-month school term, mandating compulsory school attendance, expanding health care and improving the state roadways. These initiatives were paid for by stricter enforcement of existing tax laws and the revaluation of state property. Cooper was elected to a second term in 1920.

He resigned from the governorship in 1922 to accept an appointment to the Federal Farm Loan Board that lasted five years. After which, Cooper returned to the practice of law, but was called by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as the General Counsel on the Commodity Credit Corporation. Roosevelt later appointed him in 1934 as Judge of the District Court for Puerto Rico, a position Cooper held until 1947. Cooper died on August 7, 1953, and was buried at the Laurens City Cemetery in Laurens.

His house at Laurens is included in the South Harper Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[2]


  • Guillermo A. Baralt, History of the Federal Court in Puerto Rico: 1899-1999 (2004) (also published in Spanish as Historia del Tribunal Federal de Puerto Rico)

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