The Abolitionist Poet

During the early nineteenth century, the Second Great Awakening swept across the United States. The Protestant religious revival offered a backdrop for three key movements that helped define the nineteenth century. Abolition, temperance, and spiritualism were seen as social catalysts to form a more perfect society.

Beholding the Unseen Empress

While the identity of most portraits in the Walter collection of Indian paintings at the Morgan remains obscured, an eighteenth-century portrait (M.1074.1) identifies the subject as “Nur Jihan Begum” in Nagari script. This painting has since been interpreted as an idealized portrait, “an imaginative rendering.” Such portraits were often commissioned by the Rajput courtiers in Rajasthan.

A Letter From Helen Keller

The Morgan holds in its collection two letters handwritten by Helen Keller in 1890, one of which is currently on view in the East Room of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. Keller’s lifetime of accomplishments, despite having lost her sight, hearing and speech at a very young age, are already familiar to most people. Yet this letter, written when she was only ten years old, provides extraordinary material evidence of her determination to overcome barriers to communication and engage with the outside world.

The Origins of Morgan Reference Collection Classification

When the Pierpont Morgan Library (today the Morgan Library & Museum) opened to the public on October 1, 1928, the largest part of its Reference Collection was shelved in its Reading Room, which occupied the east side of the newly constructed Annex. In 1929, according to Belle da Costa Greene, the Morgan’s first librarian and director, the room contained more than 8,000 books.

Women Book Owners in the Renaissance

Tracing a book’s ownership history—its provenance—is for me one of the most enjoyable, if sometimes frustrating, aspects of book history. This post will highlight the provenance of European books owned by women during the sixteenth century and focus on how ownership might be denoted on the binding of the book, particularly through the inclusion of a personal name.

Making Visible the Invisible: The Morgan Library & Museum Printed Books BIPOC Checklist Project

This Black History Month at the Morgan Library & Museum, I introduce my fellowship project as a Belle da Costa Greene Curatorial Fellow. The project goal is a daunting one: to find and organize a comprehensive checklist of creators with Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized identities represented within the Morgan’s Printed Book collections.

Moins connue, moins troublée: The Life and Work of a Queen

Being a cataloger at an institution like the Morgan means being surprised on an almost daily basis. You never know what will come across your desk. In early 2023, I took on the task of completing the cataloging of a large collection of nineteenth and twentieth century French music scores and sheet music.

Your Money or Your Eternal Life?

This blog post is an excerpt by guest curator Diane Wolfthal from the catalogue accompanying the Morgan’s exhibition Medieval Money, Merchants and Morality.

The rise of the monetary economy transformed every aspect of European society, including its values and culture. From the late thirteenth to the early sixteenth century, western Europe, especially its major urban centers, was dramatically altered by the widespread use of money.

J. Pierpont Morgan's Library as An Architectural Archetype: An Aesthetic Encounter

This is a guest post by Cassandra McLean Pereira, artist, writer, and editor.

To create one’s own library is the natural impulse of devoted bibliophiles and lukewarm intellectuals alike. Whether it’s a single bookshelf above a desk, or a dedicated room in a grand mansion, the home library evokes a distinct mood.