Stop 41: Librarian’s Work



Philip Palmer, Robert H. Taylor Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

While the East Room is the showpiece of the building, it is also very much a working library, with a number of conveniences designed to enable the daily tasks of librarians. During the planning stage, Morgan’s nephew Junius explored the use of specially designed hinges that would allow the doors on the bookcases to open fully, maximizing shelf space and allowing for easy retrieval of books. The cases also come with a lock to secure their contents. While the two upper tiers were designed with brass railings, concern for the safety of librarians pulling volumes from the lower shelves led to the addition of bronze guard rails. A book elevator was installed in one of the concealed spaces to allow safe transportation of heavy tomes to and from the upper tiers.

Belle Greene’s office also contained several innovations to make her work efficient. She had custom-built card-catalog cases to facilitate her work documenting and organizing the collection, and a chair that could swivel, allowing her to manage several tasks at once. A custom-designed telephone table also fostered ease of communication with Morgan and with a wider circle of colleagues and dealers.