Wiki Wormhole: Meet the 19th century’s tuition-waiving, gelatin-inventing Renaissance man

With more than 5.2 million articles, Wikipedia is an invaluable resource, whether you’re throwing a term paper together at the last minute or checking to see if there are any tuition-free colleges left out there. We explore some of Wikipedia’s oddities in our 5,294,567-week series, Wiki Wormhole.

This week’s entry: Peter Cooper

What it’s about: While Ben Franklin is rightly considered the quintessential American Renaissance man, Peter Cooper may be his match. Born in 1791, the year after Franklin died, Cooper was also a businessman, inventor, and political figure who had a far-reaching influence on his contemporaries. Like Franklin, he didn’t attend college but founded a university. He also fought against slavery, fought for the rights of Native Americans, and ran a third-party campaign for president (see last week’s entry).

Strangest fact: While Cooper’s presidential run was a doomed effort …

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