Interview with Leon Cooper, October 16, 2015

Project: Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Leon Cooper was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1927 and came to Lexington with his wife, Harriet, and two of his three children during the mid-twentieth century (the third was born in Lexington). He came to Lexington after serving in the Navy on two separate occasions. His enlistment came as a response to the dangers confronting World Jewry and his desire to take part in the fight against them in WWII. He talks about the changes in his Jewish identity in the Navy and the community he felt with the other service men. After the Navy, he moved to Lexington to work for IBM. Cooper was one of the first engineers on the mag tapes electric typewriter - an innovation that opened the door to modern day word processing. The discussion of his career with IBM and with QED Medical - medical technology company he created after retiring from IBM - leads into the discussion of his experiences in the Lexington Jewish Community. He talks about his and his family's move into the community, Ohavay Zion Synagogue, and their quick involvement with leadership roles and community events. His uplifting stories of community events such a Yom Kippur Ball convey the unity everyone felt in this Jewish community. Personal instances of anti-Semitism and negative race relations ground his stories in the reality of the time. In this interview with Janice Fernheimer, Cooper describes his life through the context of Jewish identity and belonging to a community.

Interview Accession

2015oh434_jk010

Interviewee Name

Leon Cooper

Interviewer Name

Janice W. Fernheimer

Interview Date

2015-10-16

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Cooper, Leon Interview by Janice W. Fernheimer. 16 Oct. 2015. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Cooper, L. (2015, October 16). Interview by J. W. Fernheimer. Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Cooper, Leon, interview by Janice W. Fernheimer. October 16, 2015, Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7pk06x0p9w