Treasures from the Vault

July 10 through November 11, 2018

The Morgan is home to some of the world's greatest collections of medieval manuscripts, printed books and bindings, literary manuscripts, private letters and correspondence, and original music. Treasures from the Vault, an ongoing exhibition series, features works drawn from these diverse collections in the sumptuous setting of Pierpont Morgan's 1906 Library.

Highlights from this rotation include two splendid Gospel lectionaries, one of which was illuminated for the bibliophile and patron of the arts Pietro Donato (1380–1447), bishop of Padua. The bicentennial of the birth of Emily Brontë is noted with a manuscript poem and an autograph page from Bernard Herrmann's full score for his opera, Wuthering Heights. Other items on display include the only known copy of The Anatomy of a Womans Tongue—a misogynistic seventeenth-century text critiquing female behavior—and Ravel’s orchestral suite Le tombeau de Couperin, which paid tribute to friends that died during the Great War.

Special Exhibition: World War I Remembered

To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I, the Morgan draws on its holdings of illustrated sheet music from the James Fuld Music Collection for a select display in the Rotunda.

Music has long been used to rouse public sentiment. Popular songs were composed by the thousands during the war and mirrored the public's shifting emotions as the war progressed. Patriotism, separation, and army life are common themes in this selection of popular songs of the period by American composers such as George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin. Cohan’s “Over There,” composed the day after President Wilson declared war against Germany on 6 April 1917, was a rallying call to fight “to make the world safe for democracy.” Featured on the cover was Nora Bayes, who made the song a hit. Her stirring rendition is available on our audio guide along with other period recordings.

Treasures from the Vault is funded in perpetuity in memory of Christopher Lightfoot Walker.

Anatomy of a womans tongue. London: R. Harper, 1658, PML 5099. Purchased with the Irwin collection, 1900.

George M. Cohan, Over There, New York: Wm. Jerome Publishing Corp., 1917. James Fuld Music Collection.