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Pierpont Morgan's immense holdings ranged from Egyptian art to Renaissance paintings to Chinese porcelains. For his library, Morgan acquired illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints. To this core collection, he added the earliest evidence of writing as manifested in ancient seals, tablets, and papyrus fragments from Egypt and the Near East. Morgan also collected manuscripts and printed materials significant to American history.

Over the years—through purchases and generous gifts—the Morgan has continued to actively acquire rare materials as well as important music manuscripts, a fine collection of early children's books and manuscripts, and materials from the twentieth century (as well as earlier periods). Nevertheless the focus on the written word, the history of the book, and master drawings has been maintained.

List of collection highlights:

Biblia Latina
Mainz: Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust
ca. 1455
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1896
PML 818, ChL 1
See The Morgan Gutenberg Bible Online »

Saul Slaying Nahash and the Ammonites and Samuel Anoints Saul and Sacrifices to the Lord
Old Testament Miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions
France, Paris, 1240s
390 x 300 mm
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1916
MS M.638 (fol. 23v)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
Symphony in D Major, K. 385
Autograph manuscript of the "Haffner" Symphony, 1782–83
The Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 1979; Cary 483

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Seated Nude Youth
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on light gray paper
19 11/16 x 11 3/4 inches (500 x 299 mm)
Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1924; I, 232

Henry David Thoreau (1818–1862)
Autograph manuscript journal entry,
dated Walden, 5 July 1845
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan; 1909; MA 1302

A Winged Hero Contesting with a Lion for a Bull
Cylinder seal and impression
Neo-Babylonian period (ca. 1000–539 B.C.)
Carnelian, with original copper settings preserved at both ends
38.5 x 18 mm
Cylinder no. 747


  Zoom more images:

Book of Kings image

Mozart

Rubens

Thoreau

A Winged Hero

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.