J. Pierpont Morgan's Library: Building the Bookman's Paradise

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In 1902 the American financier and collector J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) commissioned architect Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909) of the firm McKim, Mead & White to design a freestanding library next to his home on East 36th Street. This exhibition traces the design and construction of Morgan’s Library and honors the designers, tradespeople, artists, and builders who created it more than a century ago. It also celebrates the recent completion of an exterior restoration and enhancement of the landmark building, which now anchors the campus of the Morgan Library & Museum.

In 1908 an unnamed correspondent from the London Times visited the finished Library and wrote the first public account of its lavish interiors and the splendid rare books and manuscripts held within. “The Bookman’s Paradise exists,” the reporter announced, “and I have seen it. . . . I have entered the most carefully, jealously guarded treasure-house in the world, and nothing in it has been hidden from me.” Today, the “bookman’s paradise” belongs to all of us.

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library: Building the Bookman’s Paradise is made possible by generous support from the Lucy Ricciardi Family Exhibition Fund, the Parker Gilbert Fund, the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation, the Achelis & Bodman Foundation, Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, and Mr. G. Scott Clemons and Ms. Karyn Joaquino, with assistance from Jessie Schilling and the Franklin Jasper Walls Lecture Fund.