Blog

Preserving and Revealing the Museum’s Treasures

The Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan is a world-class laboratory for the conservation of works on paper and parchment—drawings, prints, photographs, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, fine bindings, and literary, historical, and music manuscripts—as well as a place for conservation studies. A critical piece of the Morgan, the Thaw Conservation Center also relies on donations from the public to remain on the cutting edge of scientific research and discovery. 

A Frances Burney Mystery

Working my way through the Morgan’s enormous collection of letters, one by one—as I’ve been doing for the past ten months on a cataloging grant from the Leon Levy Foundation—has meant regularly encountering extraordinary items whose significance often hasn’t been fully understood.

Conservation treatment of Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on The Cross (Cary 508)

In 1786, the Clergy of the Cadiz cathedral in Spain commissioned Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) to compose The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross. In 1791, a copyist’s manuscript of the full orchestral score, with annotations by Haydn himself was prepared for a series of concerts to be held in London. The score was bound into two separate volumes, each with a brown calfskin leather spine and marbled paper sides.

Henry James's "splendid American summer"

Celebrating the July 4th holiday in New Hampshire, I was reminded of Henry James’s sojourn in the White Mountains in the summer of 1865. In his Notes of a Son and Brother, published almost fifty years after that memorable visit, he would recall it as a “splendid American summer,” spent in the company of his witty and gregarious cousin Minny Temple and her sisters, and his close friend Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“A Curious Associational Electricity”

Sixty years ago today, John Steinbeck wrote this letter to Frederick Adams, the Director of the Pierpont Morgan Library. Steinbeck was an old friend of Adams and his letter, followed by the author’s subsequent visit to the Library, brought about a rekindling of their personal relationship and the beginning of Steinbeck’s scholarly and philanthropic relationship with the Morgan. This letter (MA 6432.1) conveys Steinbeck’s intellectual excitement at the prospect of closely examining the Library’s medieval manuscripts and books from the incunable period.