Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum – formerly the Pierpont Morgan Library – is a museum and research library located at 225 Madison Avenue at East 36th Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was founded to house the private library of J. P. Morgan in 1906, which included manuscripts and printed books, some of them in rare bindings, as well as his collection of prints and drawings. The library was designed by Charles McKim of the firm of McKim, Mead and White and cost $1.2 million. It was made a public institution in 1924 by J. P. Morgan's son John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., in accordance with his father's will.

The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1966[4] and was declared a National Historic Landmark later that same year.[3][5][6]

J. Pierpont Morgan Library
Pierpont Morgan Library NY 2006 crop
Morgan Library & Museum is located in Manhattan
Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan Library & Museum is located in New York
Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan Library & Museum is located in the United States
Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan Library & Museum
Location225 Madison Avenue
at East 36th Street
Manhattan, New York City
CoordinatesCoordinates: 40°44′55.69″N 73°58′53.6″W / 40.7488028°N 73.981556°W
ArchitectCharles Follen McKim[2]
Architectural stylePalladian
NRHP reference #66000544[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 13, 1966[1]
Designated NHLNovember 13, 1966[3]
Designated NYCLMay 17, 1966


Today the library is a complex of buildings which serve as a museum and scholarly research center. The scope of the collection was shaped in its early years as a private collection by Belle da Costa Greene, J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, who became the library's first director and served from the time that it became public until her retirement in 1948. Her successor Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr. managed the Library until 1969 and was also world-renowned for his own personal collections. The most internationally significant part of the collection is its relatively small but very select collection of illuminated manuscripts, and medieval artworks such as the Stavelot Triptych and the metalwork covers of the Lindau Gospels. Among the more famous manuscripts are the Morgan Bible, Morgan Beatus, Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Farnese Hours, Morgan Black Hours, and Codex Glazier. The manuscript collection also includes authors' original manuscripts, including some by Sir Walter Scott and Honoré de Balzac, as well as the scraps of paper on which Bob Dylan jotted down "Blowin' in the Wind" and "It Ain't Me Babe".

It also contains a large collection of incunabula, prints, and drawings of European artists—Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough, Dürer, and Picasso; early printed Bibles, among them three Gutenberg Bibles; and many examples of fine bookbinding. Other holdings include material from ancient Egypt and medieval liturgical objects (including Coptic literature examples),[7] Émile Zola, William Blake's original drawings for his edition of the Book of Job; concept drawings for The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; a Percy Bysshe Shelley notebook; originals of poems by Robert Burns; a unique Charles Dickens manuscript of A Christmas Carol with handwritten edits and markup from the author; a journal by Henry David Thoreau; an extraordinary collection of autographed and annotated libretti and scores from Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mahler and Verdi, and Mozart's Haffner Symphony in D Major; and manuscripts of George Sand, William Makepeace Thackeray, Lord Byron, Charlotte Brontë and nine of Sir Walter Scott's novels, including Ivanhoe. The collection still includes a few Old Master paintings collected by Morgan between 1907 and 1911 (works by Hans Memling, Perugino, and Cima da Conegliano), but this has never been the collection's focus, and Ghirlandaio's masterpiece Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni was sold to Thyssen when the Great Depression worsened the Morgan family's finances.[8]

Other notable artists of the Morgan Library and Museum are Jean de Brunhoff, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, John Leech, Gaston Phoebus, Rembrandt van Rijn, and John Ruskin.[9] In 2018, the Morgan acquired the drawing Bathers by Renoir, a previously unexhibited work. [10]

The Morgan has one of the world's greatest collections of ancient Near Eastern cylinder seals, small stone cylinders finely engraved with images for transfer to clay by rolling.[11] It also contains many music manuscripts and a considerable collection of Victoriana, including one of the most important collections of Gilbert and Sullivan manuscripts and related artifacts.[12]

Of interest to Australians is a copy of the letter written by Andrea Corsali from India in 1516. This letter, one of five in existence, contains the first description of the Southern Cross which is also illustrated by Corsali in this letter and which was also named "croce" by him. One other copy of the letter is in the British Library and two are in Australia. The fifth is in the Library of Princeton University. The letter is also readily available in Ramusio's Viaggi, a compendium of letters of exploration, published in Venice in three volumes from 1555.


Morgan Library McKim Building from west
The historic McKim Building

The first building constructed to house Morgan's library – the "McKim Building" – was designed in the Classical Revival style by Charles Follen McKim of the noted firm of McKim, Mead & White in 1903. Morgan also commissioned a house to be built for his daughter a block away at the same time. It is located at 33 East 36th Street, which was at the time just to the east of Morgan's residence, a brownstone house at 219 Madison Avenue built in 1880. McKim took his inspiration from the Villa Giulia and its Nymphaeum.[4] The building was constructed from 1902-1907 and has a facade of Tennessee marble and a Palladian arch entrance which features two lionesses sculpted by Edward Clark Potter, who would later create the two lions that guard the New York Public Library's main building.[4][13] Also in the entrance are roundels and panels by Andrew O'Connor and Adolph Weinman.[4]

Pierpont Morgan Library LOC gsc.5a29820
Interior in 1963
I Morgan Library, New York City, NY, USA 2 (2)
Morgan Library, New York City, NY
Morgan Library & Museum, New York 2017 18
Morgan Library & Museum, New York 2017 18

The interior of the building is richly decorated, with a polychrome rotunda which leads to three public rooms, which were originally Morgan's private study, the librarian's office, and the library itself.[13] The rotunda itself has a domed ceiling with murals and plasterwork inspired by Raphael, created by H. Siddons Mowbray. Morgan's study, now the West Library, has been called "one of the greatest achievements of American interior decoration," while the East Library features triple-tiers of bookcases.[4]

Morgan's residence was torn down in 1928, after his death, to be replaced by an annex building which featured an exhibition hall and a reading room, designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris to harmonize with McKim's original.[4]

I Morgan Library, New York City, NY, USA (2)
The Italianate brownstone house at Madison Avenue and East 37th Street was built in 1854 by Isaac Newton Phelps and bequeathed to his daughter Helen Stokes, wife of Anson Phelps Stokes.

The remaining Italianate brownstone house in the library complex is 231 Madison Avenue, on the corner of East 37th Street. This house was built by Isaac Newton Phelps who bequeathed it to his daughter, Helen Stokes, wife of Anson Phelps Stokes. She extended the building, doubling the size and adding an additional attic floor (architect R. H. Robertson). Their son, architect Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, was born in the house on April 11, 1867. The house was purchased by J. P. Morgan in 1904. It served as the home of his heir J. P. Morgan Jr. from 1905 to 1943.[2][14]

2006 renovation

Morgan Library entrance building and library annex
The Renzo Piano-designed entrance building (2006, left) and the Benjamin Wistar Morris-designed annex building (1928, right).

The most recent addition to the library is a modernist entrance building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano – his New York City debut – and Beyer Blinder Belle, which was completed in 2006.[4] Although externally "bland", the building helps to organize the interior spaces of the complex.[2]

The Library was closed during the construction and expansion. In the interim it sponsored numerous traveling exhibitions around the country. When the work was completed, it reopened on April 29, 2006 as the Morgan Library & Museum. With the expansion above and below street level, the Morgan's exhibition space had been doubled; Piano set its new reading room under a translucent roof structure, to allow scholars to examine manuscripts in natural light. Piano's four-story steel-and-glass atrium links McKim's library building and the Morgan house in a new ensemble. Added storage facilities were obtained by drilling into Manhattan's bedrock schist.


Between 1987 and 2008, Charles E. Pierce Jr. served as director of what was then known as the Pierpont Morgan Library.[15] During his tenure at the Morgan Library and Museum between 2008 and 2015, director William M. Griswold spearheaded the growth of its collections, exhibition programs and curatorial departments, adding a photography curator in 2013, a first for the institution. In an effort to reach a younger audience, he also presented many contemporary-art exhibitions and installed temporary sculpture in its atrium.[16] In 2015, the Morgan named Colin Bailey as its new director.[17]



  1. ^ a b c National Park Service (July 9, 2010). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195383867, p.281
  3. ^ a b "J. Pierpont Morgan Library". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 18, 2007. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009), Postal, Matthew A. (ed.), Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.98
  5. ^ Greenwood, Richard (July 18, 1975). ""The Pierpont Morgan Library", National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination". National Park Service.
  6. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination". National Park Service. July 18, 1975.
  7. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Coptic Literature". March 1, 1914. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Kandell, Jonathan. "Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Industrialist Who Built Fabled Art Collection, Dies at 81," New York Times, April 28, 2002.
  9. ^ "The Morgan Library & Museum: About". ARTINFO. 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  10. ^ "Acquisitions of the month: November 2018". Apollo Magazine.
  11. ^ "Overview of Morgan seal collection". Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Wilson, Frederic Woodbridge. The Gilbert and Sullivan Collection Archived January 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine at The Morgan Library website, accessed May 5, 2010
  13. ^ a b Nevius, Michelle & Nevius, James (2009), Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, New York: Free Press, ISBN 141658997X, pp.197-198
  14. ^ Stokes, Anson Phelps (1915). Stokes Records (Vol. 3 ed.). Privately. p. 13.
  15. ^ Carol Vogel (May 20, 2015), [1] New York Times.
  16. ^ Carol Vogel (May 20, 2015), Cleveland Hires Leader of Morgan New York Times.
  17. ^ Pac Pobric (April 17, 2015), Colin Bailey named head of the Morgan Library and Museum Archived April 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine The Art Newspaper.

Further reading

External links

Anjou Legendarium

The Anjou Legendarium is a Gothic illuminated manuscript of a collection of stories from the life of saints important to the House of Anjou of Hungary. It was made on the occasion of the journey of Charles I of Hungary and his son Prince Andrew to Naples in Italy in 1330.The legendarium was a picture book intended for children with a brief text accompanying pictures. The painters of the work came from Bologna and painted in the style of the trecento.Portions of the manuscript can be found in the Vatican Library, the Morgan Library and the Hermitage Museum. The medieval Legendarium of more than 140 pages contains images and scenes of the life of Jesus Christ, the Hungarian bishop Saint Gerard Sagredo, the prince Saint Emeric of Hungary, the King Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, the Polish bishop Stanislaus of Szczepanów, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Martin, Saint George and of many other legendary Christians.

Belle da Costa Greene

Belle da Costa Greene (December 13, 1883 – May 10, 1950) was the librarian to J. P. Morgan. After his death in 1913, Greene continued as librarian under his son, Jack Morgan. In 1924 the private collection was incorporated by the State of New York as a library for public uses, and the Board of Trustees appointed Greene first director of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

Black Hours, Morgan MS 493

The Black Hours, MS M.493 (or the Morgan Black Hours) is an illuminated book of hours produced in Bruges between 1460 and 1475, although dates as late as 1480 have been suggested. It consists of 121 leaves, most containing blocks of Latin text written in Gothic minuscule script, arranged in rows of fourteen lines. The lettering is inscribed in silver and gold, and placed within borders ornamented with flowers, foliage and grotesques, all on pages dyed a deep blueish black. It contains fourteen full-page miniatures, and opens with the months of the liturgical calendar (folios 3 verso–14 recto), followed by the Hours of the Virgin (folios 14v–98v), and ends with the Office of the Dead (folio 121v). The book follows the Roman version of the texts and has been in the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, since 1912.

MS M.493 is one of seven surviving black books of hours, all originating from Bruges and dated to the mid-to-late 15th century. They are so named from their unusual dark blueish appearance, a colourisation achieved through the expensive process of dyeing the vellum with iron gall ink. This dye is very corrosive and the surviving examples have mostly decomposed; MS M.493 is in relatively good condition due to its very thick parchment.

The book is a masterpiece of Late Gothic manuscript illumination. No records survive of its commission, but its uniquely dark tone, expense of production, quality and rarity suggest ownership by privileged and sophisticated members of the Burgundian court. The book is often attributed, on stylistic grounds, to a follower of Willem Vrelant, a leading and influential Flemish illuminator.

Charles Follen McKim

Charles Follen McKim was an American Beaux-Arts architect of the late 19th century. Along with William Rutherford Mead and Stanford White, he provided the architectural expertise as a member of the partnership McKim, Mead & White.

Henry Sturgis Morgan

Henry Sturgis Morgan Sr. (October 24, 1900 – February 8, 1982) was an American banker, known for being the co-founder of Morgan Stanley and the President & Chairman of the Morgan Library & Museum.

Hours of Catherine of Cleves

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (Morgan Library and Museum, now divided in two parts, M. 917 and M. 945, the latter sometimes called the Guennol Hours or, less commonly, the Arenberg Hours) is an ornately illuminated manuscript in the Gothic art style, produced in about 1440 by the anonymous Dutch artist known as the Master of Catherine of Cleves. It is one of the most lavishly illuminated manuscripts to survive from the 15th century and has been described as one of the masterpieces of Northern European illumination. This book of hours contains the usual offices, prayers and litanies in Latin, along with supplemental texts, decorated with 157 colorful and gilded illuminations. Today, both parts of the manuscript that forms this book are housed at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

J. P. Morgan Jr.

John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan Jr. (September 7, 1867 – March 13, 1943) was an American banker, finance executive, and philanthropist. Morgan Jr. inherited the family fortune and took over the business interests including J.P. Morgan & Co. after his father J. P. Morgan died in 1913.

A graduate of St. Paul's School and Harvard, he was trained as a finance executive in the business world, having worked for both his father and grandfather, that would serve him well as a banking financier and lending leader, and was a director of several companies. He supported the New York Lying-In Hospital, the Red Cross, the Episcopal Church, and provided an endowment for the creation of a rare books and manuscripts collection at the Morgan Library.

Morgan brokered a deal that positioned his company as the sole munitions and supplies purchaser during World War I for the British and French governments. The results produced a one percent commission on $3 billion (that is, $30 million) to the company. Morgan was also a banking broker for financing to foreign governments both during and after the war.

Judith of Flanders (died 1095)

Judith of Flanders (1030-35 to 5 March 1095) was, by her successive marriages to Tostig Godwinson and Welf I, Countess of Northumbria and Duchess of Bavaria.

She was the owner of many books and illuminated manuscripts, which she bequeathed to Weingarten Abbey (two of which are now held at the Pierpont Morgan Library).

Lindau Gospels

The Lindau Gospels is an illuminated manuscript in the Morgan Library in New York, which is important for its illuminated text, but still more so for its treasure binding, or metalwork covers, which are of different periods. The oldest element of the book is what is now the back cover, which was probably produced in the later 8th century in modern Austria, but in the context of missionary settlements from Britain or Ireland, as the style is that of the Insular art of the British Isles. The upper cover is late Carolingian work of about 880, and the text of the gospel book itself was written and decorated at the Abbey of Saint Gall around the same time, or slightly later.When J.P. Morgan, already in his early sixties, bought the book in 1901, it was his first major purchase of a medieval manuscript, setting the direction that much of his subsequent collecting was to follow.

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints (Raphael)

The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints (Young Baptist and Saints Peter, Catherine, Lucy, and Paul), also known as the Colonna Altarpiece, is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael, c. 1504. It is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City. It is the only altarpiece by Raphael in the United States.

The collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art also contains a painting of the Agony in the Garden from the predella of the altarpiece. Other panels from the predella can be found in the collections of the National Gallery, London, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in Boston, and Dulwich Picture Gallery, in London. A preparatory drawing by Raphael for the composition of the agony in the garden is in the collection of the Morgan Library New York.

The pieces of the predella were separated from the altarpiece and sold to Queen Christina of Sweden, from where they reached the Orleans Collection, while the main panels themselves were eventually sold to the aristocratic Colonna family in Rome, from whom the altarpiece takes its name. The Altarpiece was the last Raphael altar in private hands when J.P. Morgan purchased it in the early 20th century for a record price.

Morgan Beatus

The Morgan Beatus (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS 644) is an illuminated manuscript with miniatures by the artist Magius of the Commentary on the Book of the Apocalypse by the eighth-century Spanish monk Beatus, which described the end of days and the Last Judgment. Having been created at some time in the 10th century, the Morgan Beatus is one of the oldest examples of a revived Spanish apocalypse tradition. According to the style it was created by Mozarabs (Christians in Muslim-Spanish land). The Apocalypse and the commentary on this scripture by Saint Beatus of Liébana became one of the most important religious texts of the Middle Ages, and was often illustrated very fully.

Morgan Bible

The Morgan Bible (mostly The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, Ms M. 638), also called the Crusader Bible or Maciejowski Bible, is a medieval illuminated manuscript picture book Bible of 46 surviving folios. The book consists of miniature paintings of events from the Hebrew bible, set in the scenery and customs of thirteenth-century France, depicted from a Christian perspective. These are now surrounded by text in three scripts and five languages: Latin, Persian, Arabic, Judeo-Persian, and Hebrew.Forty-three folios are in the Pierpont Morgan Library, with two folios in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (MS nouv. acq. lat. 2294). A single folio is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (MS 16). Two folios are thought to be missing from the original work.

Papyrus 12

Papyrus 12 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), α 1033 (in the Soden numbering), designated by siglum 12, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews, it contains only Hebrews 1:1. The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned to ca. 285. It may have been a writing exercise or an amulet.

Papyrus 59

Papyrus 59 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 59, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John. The manuscript has been palaeographically assigned to the seventh century.


Gospel of John 1:; 2:15-16; 11:40-52; 12:; 17:24-26; 18:1-2.16-17.22; 21:7.12-13.15.17-20.23.


The Greek text of this codex is a mixed text-type. Aland placed it in Category III.


It is currently housed at the Morgan Library & Museum (P. Colt 3) in New York City.

Papyrus 60

Papyrus 60 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 60, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John, it contains John 16:29-19:26.

The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to the sixth or seventh century.

The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category III.

It is currently housed at The Morgan Library & Museum (P. Colt 4) in New York City.

Papyrus 61

Papyrus 61 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 61, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Pauline epistles. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to the 8th century.


Ro 16:23-27; 1 Cor 1:1-2.4-6; 5:1-3.5-6.9-13; Philip 3:5-9.12-16; 1 Thess 1:2-3; Tit 3:1-5.8-11.14-15; Philem. 4-7;


The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category II.


It is currently housed at The Morgan Library & Museum (P. Colt 5) in New York City.

Piano Concerto No. 26 (Mozart)

The Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and completed on 24 February 1788. It is generally known as the Coronation Concerto.

The concerto is scored for solo piano, one flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpano (in D, A), and strings.

Stavelot Triptych

The Stavelot Triptych is a medieval reliquary and portable altar in gold and enamel intended to protect, honor and display pieces of the True Cross. Created by Mosan artists—"Mosan" signifies the valley of the Meuse river—around 1156 at Stavelot Abbey in present-day Belgium. The work is a masterpiece of Romanesque goldsmith's work and is today in The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince; French pronunciation: ​[lə pəti pʁɛ̃s]), first published in April 1943, is a novella, the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

The novella has been voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into 300 languages and dialects, selling nearly two million copies annually, and with year-to-date sales of over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published.After the outbreak of the Second World War, Saint-Exupéry escaped to North America. Despite personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young prince visiting Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert, and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences in The Little Prince.

Since its first publication, the novella has been adapted to numerous art forms and media, including audio recordings, radio plays, live stage, film, television, ballet, and opera.Though ostensibly styled as a children's book, The Little Prince makes several observations about life and human nature.

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