Born in Nunda (village), New York, to Henry and Jenette (Smith) Lampert, she moved with her family to Rochester by 1864. She graduated from Wells College in Aurora, New York, in 1875. She went on to teach at the Foster School in Clifton Springs, New York (school was open between 1876 and 1885). In 1877, the Rochester Art Club formed, and Cooper was its first vice president, marking the beginning of a long relationship with the Club, at least through 1894. In 1880, she went to study in New York; in that same year, her father died. In 1881, she returned to New York City to study at the Art Students League. In 1882, she exhibited at the Pennsylvania Society of Artists Watercolor Exhibition. From 1893 through 1897, Cooper studied at the Mechanics Institute, now the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Cooper's paintings were exhibited in Rochester, Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia, among other venues. For her painting "Breadwinner", she was given an award at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.
Her subjects were primarily landscapes and genre scenes. She travelled extensively before and after her marriage; following her marriage to Colin Campbell Cooper in 1897, the couple traveled to Germany, Italy, India and Burma. The couple was among the first class passengers on the Cunard liner RMS Carpathia enroute from New York to Gibraltar in April 1912, when it picked up the survivors of the RMS Titanic. The Coopers took care of survivor Irene Harris, the wife of renowned theatre manager Henry B. Harris, who had perished in the sinking, and shared their cabin with her.
Cooper's paintings are held in private and public collections, including the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and the Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York. Cooper's papers are held by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester Library.