When I joined the Morgan’s Department of Drawings and Prints as a graduate intern in 1993, one of my tasks was to aid Ruth Kraemer (1908–2005), the department’s indefatigable researcher who assisted curator Cara Dufour Denison with cataloging the French drawings.
Jennifer Tonkovich's blog
After the death of his mother in 1924, J. P. Morgan, Jr., resolved to tear down his parent’s brownstone on the corner of Madison and Thirty-Sixth Street and erect a building adjacent to his father’s library. This new structure, known as the Annex, would allow the institution he founded in his father’s name to serve the public.
A print room—a space to house a collection of drawings and prints, the curators who are responsible for it, and the scholars that come to study the collection—has been an essential feature at the Morgan since 1906 when J. Pierpont Morgan closely collaborated with Charles Follen McKim on the interiors of the library housing his collections.
Pierpont Morgan’s librarian, Belle da Costa Greene (1883–1950), shepherded the banker’s collections beginning in 1905 and continued doing so for many years after his death in 1913, working alongside his son and eventually serving as the museum’s first director from 1928 until her retirement in 1949. After the Morgan opened its doors as a public institution, the drawings collection—established by Morgan in 1909—continued to grow through gifts from the Morgan family and from a small number of patrons, as well as through select purchases.
Security was critical to Pierpont Morgan, especially with his treasures concentrated in a well-publicized, gleaming new building. He took a number of measures to protect the building and its contents, utilizing both a professional security staff and the latest technology.