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Rochella Cooper Papers

Identifier: MS 1032
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. The collection is located online in Fondren's Institutional Repository:

Content Description

A digitized copy of Rochella Cooper's memoir, Insights and Stories to Tell, and a digitized oral history interview and transcript conducted by the Houston Jewish History Archive in 2022 document the life of Rochella Cooper. The book was scanned in-house and returned to the author.


  • Creation: 2019 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research and available at:

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Rochella Cooper Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library. The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Rochella Cooper was born in South Africa in 1933. In her formative years as a musician she acquired a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Capetown (Dist. Hon.) and in 1956 left South Africa for further study at the Royal Academy of Music. Soon thereafter she moved to Paris where she continued her flute studies with Renee Rateau, (Boston Symphony 1944) and attended the salon in Nadia Boulanger's studio 1956-1958. Subsequently she accepted the position of First Flute in the Haifa Symphony Orchestra. In 1959 Rochella met and married Dr. Ben Cooper and they moved to Houston TX. where he joined the Dept. of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine. In 1962 Rochella discovered The School of the Woods Montessori School and over the ensuing seven years served as Music Teacher, Principal, and President of the Board. She left to pursue a career as a Fiber Artist. She participated in art gallery exhibitions, received corporate commissions and exhibited in the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum. In 1979 she accepted the position of President of The Houston Festival Foundation culminating in the 1986 light and sound show “Rendezvous Houston – a City in Concert,” celebrating the Sesquicentennial of Texas, Houston and the 25th anniversary of NASA. In 1987 the call of the sea beckoned and Rochella launched her first commercial business Women at the Helm Sailing School followed by Transitions at the Helm, a program of Leadership and Team Building for corporations. 1998 She created The Artfull Garden Gallery, an outdoor sculpture gallery and also launched a non-profit organization Texans for Alternative to Pesticides TAP addressing the prolific use of pesticides by County, City and Independent School Districts.


2.92 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



The is a digital collection containing Rochella Cooper's memoir - Insights and Stories to Tell - and oral history interview conducted as part of the Houston Jewish History Archive's oral history project. They are both available on Rice's Institutional Repostitory at:


The materials in this collection have been arranged in one series as follows:

Series I: General

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated by Rochella Cooper, March 2022

Guide to the Rochella Cooper Papers, 2019-2022
Traci Patterson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA