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Biographical Fact Sheet on James Fenimore Cooper James Fenimore Cooper was born in Burlington New Jersey on September 15 1789 He was the eleventh of twelve children born to William and Elizabeth Cooper When James was one year old the family moved to the frontier and his father established the settlement of Cooperstown at the head of Susquehanna River Cooper attended a private preparatory school at Albany New York and was then admitted to Yale in 1803 He was expelled from there during his junior year because of a silly prank His family allowed him to join the navy as a midshipman but he soon found that more discipline was present in the Navy than at Yale In 1810 Cooper took a furlough and never returned to active duty After Coopers father passed in 1809 he received a nice inheritance Cooper quickly squandered his inheritance and at thirty was on the verge of bankruptcy He decided to try his hand at writing as a career Carefully modeling his work after Sir Walter Scotts successful Waverly Novels he wrote his first novel in 1820 called Precaution A domestic comedy set in England lost money but Cooper had discovered his vocation Cooper established his reputation after his second novel The Spy and in his third book the autobiographical Pioneers 1823 Cooper introduced the character of Natty Bumppo a uniquely American personification of rugged individualism and the pioneer spirit A second book featuring Bumppo The Last of the Mohicans written in 1826 quickly became the most widely read work of the day solidifying Coopers popularity in the US and in Europe Set during the French and Indian War The Last of the Mohicans chronicles the massacre of the colonial garrison at Fort William Henry and a fictional kidnapping of two pioneer sisters Cooper knew few Indians so he drew on a Moravian missionarys account of two opposing tribes the Delawares and the Mingos Although this characterization was
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