When Morgan died in Rome on March 31, 1913, his estate was valued at about $60 million, an immense sum for that period. An estimated two thirds to three quarters of that amount was represented by his art and book collections. He left the ultimate disposition of his collections entirely to his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr., known as Jack. Morgan's will stated only that he intended to render the objects "permanently available for the instruction and pleasure of the American people" and that—in a life full of work—"lack of the necessary time to devote to it has as yet prevented my carrying this purpose into effect." Precisely how this was to be carried out was left to Jack, who was obliged to sell a number of the art objects to pay taxes and maintain the liquidity of the estate. Large portions were donated to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Pierpont's native Hartford. But the collections of books, manuscripts, and drawings remained intact and became the core of the Morgan's collections.
In 1914 Jack Morgan put his father's art collections, with the exception of the materials at the Library, on exhibition at the Metropolitan. It was the only time they were all on view together. Pierpont Morgan himself had never seen them assembled in one place.