2011-10-21 / Community

Cogan, Longtime Queens Historian, Dies


Stanley Cogan with Eileen Mulvey at their reunion. Stanley Cogan with Eileen Mulvey at their reunion. Stanley Cogan, the former official historian of Queens and president of the Queens Historical Society, died on Monday, September 12, at the age of 86.

He was a staunch advocate for preservation and an opponent of over- development throughout the borough.

Cogan was instrumental in preserving a number of Rockaway landmarks from destruction, although there is only one that has received official city recognition as a landmark – The Cornell Cemetery in Far Rockaway, the first white settler cemetery on the penin- sula, and one that holds the bones of a number of Rockaway’s founding citizens.

Cogan worked diligently on the project with several Rockaway residents, including past Wave publisher Leon Locke and columnist Emil Lucev.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall recalled Cogan as “a renaissance man” who “knew the beauty of art and architecture, the lessons that history taught us and how important it was to protect and preserve the legacy of the generations that have gone before us.”

“He committed himself to a multitude of historic causes, including his years of service as our Borough Historian, his work with the Queensmark program, his years of passionate dedication to the Queens Historical Society and his love of knowing that an artifact, whether it be an old sign or newspaper, brought the past back to life,” Marshall said.

Cogan was the official historian of Queens between 1999 and 2010 and helped launch the Queensmark program, an award program of the Queens Historical Society recognizing structures and places across the borough that are historically significant.

A native of Brooklyn, Cogan moved to Laurelton, Queens in 1932.

After graduating from high school in Far Rockaway, he pursued a teaching career and eventually became an assistant principal at P.S. 40 in Jamaica.

He retired from education in 1982 to become a full-time historian.

Eileen (Veith) Mulvey was a longtime friend of Stanley Cogan. Her daughter, Colleen, is a graphic artist with The Wave.

Mulvey and Cogan attended elementary school together, graduating at age 12 from PS 138, in Rosedale, Queens.

She remembers that Cogan was awarded the Civics Medal and acted in their school play, “The Haunted Tearoom.”

“For many years after graduating we didn’t see each other due to attending separate high schools,” she says.

Then, 50 years later, in 1988 there was the “Rosedale Roundup.” This was a get-together of people who grew up in Rosedale during the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. At the Roundup they met again along with other classmates from the class of 1938.

That reunion thrilled Cogan, and he began tracking down other members of the class.

“He then organized get-togethers twice a year,” Mulvey says, “and we would all have brunch together and on one occasion, we acted out our class school play. This continued through till 2010. After which, we still remained in touch by phone or mail.”

“We will always be grateful to Stanley for bringing back the wonderful memories of our class of June 1938,” she adds.

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