Sunday, January 10, 2010

Daily Thoughts 1/10/2010 (Visit to the Morgan Library)

J. P. Morgan's Library and Art Museum, adjoining his residence His collection of paintings and tapestries is one of the finest in the United States. c1906

Visit to the Morgan Library in Manhattan

The visit to the Morgan Library was a very pleasant experience.  I went as part of the new York Librarians Meetup.  I got there at noon and we spent some time in the cafe sitting and chatting. The coffee and cookies were very fresh and tasty. They also had a coat and bag check at the entrance which was quite convenient. The fee is $12 to go to the library. I saw a colleague from Brooklyn Public Library who I had not seen in a very long time. He is now working in Jersey City. He brought another librarian with him.

I learned something new about business cards. It is perfectly alright to give out a personal card with your name, degree, and contact information. It was made on Vistaprint which charges only for shipping to make small batches of business cards. I think I will make some personal cards without my libraries name for events which I go to on my own time. I am planning on adding two people from the event to my Facebook account.

I very much enjoyed the exhibition of Jane Austen's work. There are some 51 letters of Jane Austen kept at the Morgan Library. Many of these were on display. In addition there were numerous copies of different examples of her books. Many were illustrated. Charles E. Brock was one of the illustrators.

There were a number of Victorian prints talking about what Jane Austen was writing about. Pictures and books on manners, gentility, and the different english classes were prominently displayed. There were also several portraits of Jane Austen as well.

I learned some entertaining trivia during the exhibit; Rudyard Kipling came up with the term Austenites as the title of one of his short stories, James Edwards Austen Leigh wrote a memoir about growing up with Jane Austen, and Jane Austen had an unfinished novel called The Watsons which she started in 1804.

There was also a short movie with authors talking about their experience of reading Jane Austen. I especially liked Cornel West's statement that he would have liked to give her a hug, and Colm Toibins talking about reading Jane Austen in high school. It was fun watching the film.

There were a few moments to go visit the Morgan Study which is where J.P. Morgan and Pierpont Morgan kept their library collections. They were very wealthy financiers. The studies were very ornate with plush velveteen furniture, victorian wallpaper, busts, statuary, paintings, closed glass bookcases with brass overlay, and ornate Renaissance mosaics on the ceilings.

There was a room dedicated to the Morgan librarian which was put in the museum in 1991. The picture of the first Morgan librarian, Belle De Costa Greene caught my attention as well as the ornate renaissance style card catalogs in the room.

I could have probably spent a full two days in the study and not gotten a picture of everything that was in the studies. There were of course oil portraits of J.P. Morgan and Pierpont Morgan. There were also medieval illuminated bibles, and an incredible collection of books under glass; beautiful finely bound editions of the complete works of Goethe, De La Fontaine, Balzac, Kipling, and many other prominent 19th century writers.

Something that caught my eye was Etienne Louis Bulle's black and white drawing entitled Interior of A Library. It is very different looking at a picture close up as compared to a picture on Wikipedia. It was slightly larger than I imagined it.

This was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

I had a chance to compose most of this at the laundromat and enter it tonight.  The website for The Morgan Library and Museum is . 

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