Stop 1. History and Architecture


A museum and independent research library, the Morgan Library & Museum began as the personal library of financier, collector, and cultural benefactor John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913). As early as 1890, Morgan had begun to assemble a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints.

Mr. Morgan's Library, as it was known in his lifetime, was built between 1902 and 1906 adjacent to his New York residence at Madison Avenue and 36th Street. In 1924, eleven years after Pierpont Morgan's death, his son J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867–1943), known as Jack, realized that the library had become too important to remain in private hands. He fulfilled his father's dream of making the library and its treasures available to scholars and the public alike by transforming it into a public institution. The Morgan opened its doors in October 1928.


Hello. I’m Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum.

Here you can learn about the history of American financier J. Pierpont Morgan’s library and his collection of rare books, manuscripts, drawings, and prints. Pierpont Morgan began collecting these remarkable objects more than a hundred years ago—and our collections continue to grow. They include handwritten works by Beethoven, the Brontes, and Bob Dylan; manuscripts from the Middle Ages to Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf; drawings from Michelangelo and Rembrandt to Helen Frankenthaler and Martin Puryear; and rare printed volumes from the Gutenberg Bible to James Baldwin.

You’ll also learn about the sumptuous Renaissance-inspired library he built to house his expanding collection. The Morgan Library & Museum campus has grown to encompass Pierpont Morgan’s 1906 Library designed by Charles Follen McKim, a 1928 Annex by Benjamin Wistar Morris, a 2006 modernist glass and steel expansion by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, and a 2022 garden by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan that enriches the museum’s presence along 36th street.

Through its collections and programs, the Morgan Library & Museum celebrates creativity and the imagination, with the conviction that meaningful engagement with art, literature, music, and history enriches lives, opens minds, and deepens understanding. I hope you will enjoy learning more about the Morgan while visiting our campus or from home. Thank you for joining us.