The Morgan Library

The Morgan Library

Tucked into the quiet corner of 36th & Madison is a beautiful stonework building & a relatively nondescript brownstone with a big secret. Inside is the soaring, opulent, private library of financier of J.P. Morgan. The Morgan Library & Museum is filled with his historic collection of books & manuscripts – the building is simply magnificent.


panorama of the main library
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

I stopped by on a chilly Sunday morning to browse the collection for a bit & to check out a special exhibit on Ernest Hemingway. Visitors can see three public rooms: the library itself, Morgan’s private study & the librarian’s office. Outside these rooms is an ornate rotunda, capped with a domed ceiling that looks straight out of Renaissance Italy. In addition to the main library, visitors can see his private study, which includes a vault filled with Morgan’s especially rare volumes & manuscripts.


rotunda in the atrium
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Morgan Library 2

J.P. Morgan’s private study is covered in lush red wallpaper
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved


the study’s giant vault contains rare books & manuscripts
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Morgan Library

every corner of the library is stacked high in books
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved


new life goal: to have a library with a balcony!
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved


the giant tapestry hanging over the fireplace, The Triumph of Avarice, from the mid 1540s
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

In contrast to the ornate, intricate details of the library itself is the airy, light filled glass cube that serves as the entrance to the library & museum. Like many similar projects, it was built not without controversy, but I felt that the bright space was very welcoming.

Morgan library 5

lions guard the front of the library’s main building, next to a stunning glass cube
(left) photo provided by Flickr creative commons license; (right) (C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

I strolled around for about an hour, my mouth agape most of the time in the utter beauty I was surrounded by. I think I whispered to myself “Oh wow” about a hundred times & for some time, just sat on a bench & enjoyed looking around. A ticket is not cheap – $18 for an adult, including admission into special exhibits – but oh so worth it (check the website for free admission hours, which occur on Friday evenings as well as Sunday afternoons).


30′ walls covered in books
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Pin it!

morgan library pinterest

  • Ahmed Gusto
    Posted at 05:46h, 14 February Reply

    Your pictures are a proof that it’s a “WOW” place to be in and should not be missed. Thank you for sharing with us

  • Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl)
    Posted at 21:57h, 14 February Reply

    The library is just gorgeous and I can practically smell the books through the photos – my kind of place – art, architecture, design, library, history. I love learning about hidden NYC places of history and am adding this to my list for the next visit to NYC – just when I thought I’ve done it all there’s always a new hidden spot to add

  • trip advisor
    Posted at 06:59h, 26 February Reply

    Awesome library!! Visiting there would be a great experience.

  • MaryAnn
    Posted at 00:23h, 25 May Reply

    This is a wonderful building! The architecture was just jaw dropping, the furnishings were amazing and the history was fascinating. I never would have gone except for your recommendation. We stopped to see it and then went into the Village for lunch. What a great day in New York City.

    • christina
      Posted at 07:23h, 25 May Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit! Isn’t it a great hidden gem?

  • K.Miller
    Posted at 11:47h, 02 July Reply

    what i wouldn’t give to actually read some of those books and relax in that library while reading them :)

Post A Comment