The first author known by name in history was a woman: Enheduanna. She received this name, which means “high priestess, ornament of heaven” in Sumerian, upon her appointment to the temple of the moon god in Ur, a city in southern Mesopotamia, in present-day Iraq.
Helène Aylon’s mature career began in the late 1960s, when she was nearly forty years old and already a widow raising two children. In 1977 and ‘78, she was among ten women interviewed by the writer Gloria Frym for a volume called Second Stories: Conversations with Women Whose Artistic Careers Began After Thirty-Five.
In January 2021, the Morgan acquired an exceptional group of twenty prints by Martin Puryear. Made between 2001 and 2014 at Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley, CA, they represent nearly all the prints Puryear made during the first fifteen years of the 21st century and include several of his most important works in this medium.
I recently came across a pair of letters that shed new light on the youth and education of the Morgan’s inaugural Director, Belle da Costa Greene (1879–1950).
Last year, the Morgan acquired more than seventy books and some manuscript material related to the American poet Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000), including a portion of her personal library, adding to our holdings of Brooks manuscripts.
This 1802 cartoon by English caricaturist James Gillray (1756–1815) is a striking reminder that the controversy surrounding vaccination is as old as the earliest days of the procedure itself.
During my residency at the Morgan as a postdoctoral fellow at the Drawing Institute, I was particularly struck by a drawing in the collection. Made by the Greek-born Italian artist Jannis Kounellis (1936–2017), it was acquired in 2016 thanks to the generosity of the Morgan’s Modern & Contemporary Collectors Committee. The drawing related directly to my research, which focused on Italian drawing in the 1960s and 1970s.
This is a guest post by Alexis Rodda, a classically-trained soprano and a Five-Year Fellowship recipient and doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The Ballets Russes was a ballet company that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe, but particularly in Paris. The company was innovative in its collaborations with contemporary composers and its daring, often sensual performances. The more I immersed myself in this world through a CUNY Graduate Center/Morgan fellowship, the more I became fascinated not only with the artistic aspects of the Ballet Russes.
In 1911, Pierpont Morgan purchased fifty-seven leaves of Persian and Mughal miniatures and calligraphy. Orchestrated largely through the efforts of Belle Da Costa Greene, Morgan’s librarian, the acquisition marked a turning point in the history of the Islamic collections at the Morgan. A core set of these leaves once formed part of a magnificent album compiled for Husain Khan Shamlu (r. 1598–1618), governor of Herat (Afghanistan) and one of the most powerful rulers in Persia in the early seventeenth century.
This is a guest post by Cen Liu, a PhD student in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
This fall, I worked with the Department of Printed Books and Bindings to catalog the additional materials in an extra-illustrated version of James Boaden’s Memoirs of the life of John Philip Kemble, esq. (London, 1825; PML 9522-25). My own research is focused on the intersection of theater history and the history of visuality. I investigate how theater, as a concept and an artifact, exhibits and constructs the shifting paradigms of the relation between optical perception and knowledge.