Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Cohen, Edward E., 1891-1959
Edward E. Cohen (1891-1959), H1952, was a Boston-based industrialist and philanthropist. A major donor to the Tufts University School of Medicine, Cohen's donations also facilitated the construction of the Cohen Arts Center.
Cohen, born in Boston in 1891, received his schooling at the Franklin Institute, Boston College, and the University of Southern California. In 1915, Cohen and his brother organized the Way Leather Company. Originally a small storefront operation, Way Leather Company grew to become one of the largest leather manufacturers and wholesalers in the Boston area. During World War II, almost all of Way Leather's business was with the military, providing lend-lease opportunities and general supplies.
After the Way Leather Company became a profitable enterprise, Cohen began a career as a philanthropist. He founded the Congress of Clubs of Boston, and served as president of the Building Corporation for the Hillel House at Boston University, eventually donating much of the money used to build a Hillel facility on the campus. Cohen also served as director of the Brandeis University Association and was a lifetime member of the NAACP. In 1943, Cohen donated $125,000 to the Tufts University School of Medicine. The gift was eventually used to build a new auditorium on the Boston campus. Cohen continued his philanthropy to Tufts in 1955, donating $300,000 of the million dollars necessary to construct the Cohen Arts Center, which was named in his honor.
To honor his service to Tufts and the community, Tufts awarded Cohen an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Sciences degree at commencement in 1952, and Cohen was made an honorary life member of the Class of 1916.
Cohen died of natural causes at his home Brookline, Massachusetts, on November 4, 1959.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.