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Researchers' Guides to the Collections | Archives

Search the Morgan Archives Finding Aids:

The Morgan's Archives houses personal papers of Pierpont Morgan and his immediate family, early records of the Morgan financial firms, and the records of the institution. Guides to the major collections are available online and are listed below by subject. Several thousand individual items, including printed books, artifacts, manuscripts, and selected photographs are also described in CORSAIR, the Morgan's collection catalog. To submit an application for research, visit the Reading Room page.

Morgan Family Papers

The Archives holds selected papers of Pierpont Morgan, his father and maternal grandfather, and three of his four children, as well as several related collections.

Financial Records

The Morgan Library & Museum is unaffiliated with the Morgan financial firms and does not hold their current or recent records. Several important resources are available, however, for economic historians studying the early development of the Morgan firms.

  • Syndicate books. A series of record books that document the syndicates formed by Drexel, Morgan & Co. from 1882–92 (ARC 105–107) and J. P. Morgan & Co. from 1895–1933 (ARC 108–119), covering such key economic developments as the late nineteenth-century reorganization of the American railroad industry and the 1902 creation of U.S. Steel. Documents within ARC 108–117 have been cataloged in CORSAIR, so it is possible to search for specific company names.
  • Records of the Morgan Firms, 1863–1952 (ARC 1195). A small group of miscellaneous bank-related records brought together into a collection.
  • Vincent P. Carosso Papers (ARC 1214). Research papers of the author of The Morgans: Private International Bankers, 1854–1913 (1987).
  • Morgan Bank European and Argentinean Records (ARC 1221). Incomplete collection of papers primarily of Morgan & Cie., the Paris affiliate of J. P. Morgan & Co., during the interwar period.
  • Martin Egan Papers (ARC 1222). Papers of a public relations official of J. P. Morgan & Co., the bulk from 1915–1935.

Photographs

Photographs for publication are available through the department of Photography & Rights. Additional unpublished photographs are available to researchers.

  • Family albums. The approximately fifty family photograph albums in the Archives are primarily from the collection of Pierpont Morgan's daughter Louisa Satterlee and contain images of her family, including some candid photographs of her father. Albums are cataloged in CORSAIR, but the individual photographs within each album are not separately described.
  • Post-war France albums. A fine series of albums from the papers of Morgan's daughter Anne, an activist and philanthropist, depicts the devastation of the French countryside after World War I.
  • Edward S. Curtis lantern slides. A series of over 340 lantern slides from the years 1898–1926 was made by Curtis, whose field work to document Native American cultures was funded by Pierpont Morgan. This collection is cataloged in CORSAIR (ARC 1176).
  • Loose photographs. The several hundred loose photographs in the Archives depict Pierpont Morgan and his immediate family, Morgan homes and activities (such as dog breeding and yachting), and The Morgan Library & Museum. Contact the Archives for more information.
  • Photographs of Morgan. Among the loose photographs and albums are numerous photographs of Pierpont Morgan, many of which are well-known studio portraits, some of which are candid family photographs. There are no known photographs of Pierpont Morgan in his library, at work at his desk, or with colleagues at the firm; nor are there any photographs of Morgan with famous contemporaries such as Edison, Carnegie, or Vanderbilt. The only known images of Morgan looking at works of art are several photographs of him at historic sites in Egypt and a photograph of him before an antique relief of Antinous at the Villa Albani, Rome, in 1907.
  • Cased photographs. A modest collection of daguerreotypes, autochromes, and other cased images is cataloged in CORSAIR.

Printed Books

Over one thousand printed books in the Archives include items from family members' personal collections (such as a group of Pierpont Morgan's school books and the personal library of the Rev. John Pierpont), selected family genealogies, and rare books related to the Morgan family, firms, and Library.

Artifacts

Over one hundred three-dimensional artifacts include personal items such as Morgan's diamond-encrusted gold match box, a box of Morgan's custom-banded Havana cigars, a cameo bracelet of Morgan's maternal grandmother, and memorial banners and silk flower arrangements from Pierpont Morgan's funeral in 1913. Artifacts in the Archives are limited to personal association items and ephemera (such as dinnerware, jewelry, medals, and commemorative gifts) related directly to the Morgan family, firms, and Library.

Research on Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913)

Jean Strouse's biography Morgan: American Financier (1999) is based heavily on documents in the Morgan's Archives (as well as other American and English collections) and often provides substantive answers to questions about Morgan. For scholarly study, several resources are available:

  • Pierpont Morgan Papers (ARC 1196). The collection is rich in letters from Morgan to family members, business partners, and friends from 1847–1893, but virtually none of Morgan's correspondence survives beyond 1893.
  • Pierpont Morgan's letterpress books (ARC 120–122). The three books, available on microfilm in the Reading Room or from the Department of Photography & Rights, contain over 2800 pages of copies of his outgoing correspondence from 1873–1893 (outgoing correspondence after 1893 does not survive). Letters are generally business related, not personal. No index to correspondents is available, so researchers seeking letters to a particular individual must peruse the entire microfilm or focus on key years.
  • Family papers. Additional primary source material related to Morgan can be found in the papers of other family members including three of his children: J. P. Morgan Jr., Louisa Satterlee, and Anne Morgan. See the section above on family papers.
  • Personal books. Books and manuscripts from Morgan's youth are cataloged on the item level in CORSAIR.

Provenance Research

For researchers seeking information about the provenance of specific art objects, furniture, decorative items, and books and manuscripts purchased by Pierpont Morgan or his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr., several important sources are outlined below. For information on the provenance of items currently in the Morgan's collection, additional information may be available from the relevant curatorial department. Provenance research on works with no artist name or title (such as rugs and furniture) can be difficult because items are often described in vague terms in old invoices and inventories, and photographs of the objects are not included. The Morgan's staff provides assistance in making documents available for provenance research but cannot confirm whether or not a specific object once belonged to Morgan.

  • Invoices for works of art. Morgan Collections Correspondence, 1887–1948 (ARC 1310) comprises nearly eight thousand letters and invoices for works of art, books, and manuscripts, the bulk of which are from Morgan's day (before 1913). Invoices in this collection are useful for determining from whom and for how much Morgan bought a specific object. The papers are arranged by dealer name, and because they are not indexed in exhaustive detail it is generally impossible to look up a specific work of art. To search for items in this collection, include ARVEBC in keyword searches in CORSAIR (example: porcelain? arvebc)
  • Estate inventories. Detailed inventories prepared after Pierpont Morgan's death in 1913 are available as part of the J. P. Morgan Jr. Papers (ARC 1216, items 120.32–123.54). Included are inventories of the contents of Morgan's homes as well as lists of art objects housed at other locations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the time of Morgan's death. Although these inventories offer no information about the source of a work of art, they can confirm the presence of a particular object in Morgan's collection in the year 1913.
  • Shipment lists. Series 5 of the Pierpont Morgan Papers (ARC 1196) contains information on Morgan's acquisitions and collections, 1901–1912. Items 13.12–14.17 of this collection comprise a useful series of object lists and packing lists prepared in 1912, when a large portion of Morgan's art collection was shipped from England to the United States. These lists are useful for pinpointing the location of a particular work of art in 1912.
  • J. P. Morgan, Jr. inventories. Detailed inventories of the English and American homes and collections of J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867–1943), made in 1917, 1933, and 1937–39, are available in the J. P. Morgan Jr. Papers (ARC 1216, items 211.356–217.370).
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art records. A large portion of Pierpont Morgan's art collection was on deposit at the Metropolitan Museum from 1914–16; a complete list is available in the J. P. Morgan Jr. Papers (ARC 1216, item 168:225).

Genealogical Research

The Morgan has very limited resources for genealogical research on individuals beyond the immediate family of Pierpont Morgan. A handful of sources are available, including Appleton Morgan's A History of the Family of Morgan From the Year 1089 to Present Times (ca. 1901, available on microfilm), a manuscript genealogy by Titus Morgan (1809, with some modest updates), and a few typed lists of immediate family only. Family papers also include limited genealogical information on the Boardman, Cady, Crosby, Grew, Goddard, McGlenen, Pierpont, Sturges, and Wigglesworth families (see the section above on family papers). The Archives contains no information on individuals who worked for the Morgan family in domestic positions or for the Morgan firms in any capacity (aside from partners). The Morgan cannot confirm whether a specific individual is/was related to Pierpont Morgan.

Architectural History

For an overview of the Morgan's architectural history, see The Making of the Morgan from Charles McKim to Renzo Piano, by Paul Spencer Byard, Cynthia Davidson, Charles E. Pierce, Jr., and Brian Regan (2008). The Morgan holds limited primary sources related to the construction of the building by McKim, Mead & White in 1903–1906 (researchers are encouraged to consult the McKim, Mead & White Architectural Record Collection at the New-York Historical Society). There are planning documents and a set of invoices related to the construction of the Annex by Benjamin Wistar Morris in the 1920s and an unprocessed collection related to the 1950–1962 building project by Alexander P. Morgan.

Morgan Library & Museum History

General information about The Morgan Library & Museum is available here. For access to records of The Pierpont Morgan Library from 1924 to the present, please .

Belle Greene

The Morgan holds extensive business correspondence of Belle Greene, who served as the private librarian of Pierpont Morgan and J. P. Morgan, Jr. before becoming first director of the Morgan in 1924. The bulk of this correspondence is found in Morgan Collections Correspondence, 1887–1948 (ARC 1310). The Morgan holds no personal correspondence of Belle Greene and no papers of her father, Richard T. Greener, the prominent African-American educator and activist. Several portraits of Greene, including two 1911 studio photographs by Clarence White, a studio portrait by Adolf de Meyer, and a 1912 chalk portrait by Paul César Helleu, are in the Morgan's collection. The following secondary sources, available in many public libraries, provide information about Greene.

  • Jean Strouse. "The Unknown J. P. Morgan: A Biographer Uncovers the Private Life of the Famous Banker." The New Yorker, 29 March 1999.
  • Jean Strouse. Morgan: American Financier. New York: Random House, 1999.
  • Heidi Ardizzone. An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007.
  • Dorothy Miner, ed. Studies in Art and Literature for Belle da Costa Greene [Festschrift]. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954.
  • John Steele Gordon. "J. P. Morgan's Accomplice." American Heritage, September 1999, pp. 22–24.
  • "Belle D. Greene, Morgan Librarian. Noted Figure in Field, Holder of Post 1905–48, Is Dead—Paid Thousands for Rarities." The New York Times obituary, 12 May 1950, p. 27.



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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.