Chicago, Illinois engineer. Personal and business papers, notes, reports, and correspondence, much of it with his brother Mortimer E. Cooley and Chase S. Osborn; include material concerning the Cooley family genealogy, water engineering projects, the Hudson Bay Co., 1850-1908, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and Mortimer E. Cooley's race for the U.S. Senate in 1924.
The Ernest L. Cooley papers consist of correspondence, engineering reports and notes, and Cooley family genealogical material. Included is an extensive exchange of correspondence with his brother Mortimer E. Cooley, dean of the Engineering School of The University of Michigan. These letters concern vacation plans for trips to northern Michigan and Canada, and Mortimer Cooley's candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Michigan in 1924 (especially correspondence, July 1924 to Jan. 1925). There is also material relating to the management of the Cooley farm in Georgia 1927; the controversy surrounding the falling level of the Great Lakes (i.e., Nov. 18, 1926); and other engineering projects.
Another of his correspondents was Chase S. Osborn, former governor of Michigan. These letters cover personal matters growing out of their retreats to Osborn's summer camp at Duck Island. There is also material relating to the proposed St. Lawrence Waterways in letters of Aug. 1927 and throughout. Other than correspondence, the collection includes reports made on hydraulic engineering projects, particularly relating to flood control in the Chicago area, and the diversion of the Des Plaines River. Cooley also collected material relating to the history of the Hudson Bay Company. There are several folders of original business correspondence, reports, and accounts of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1850-1908. Miscellaneous items of interest include Cooley family genealogy found particularly in correspondence of 1915-1916. Cooley also wrote a short autobiographical sketch, Dec. 30, 1920; there is also a note on William Randolph Hearst, June 20, 1912.