The Morgan Library: A Book Lover’s Paradise

I can’t be the only one in love with old books, right? The Morgan Library has been calling my name ever since I came across it online. I finally got the chance (aka decided not to be lazy) to go over a long weekend and fell completely in love with the gorgeous library and beautiful old books. If you’re a fan of beautiful libraries with thousands of books, The Morgan Library is the place for you. It’s a MUST when you visit New York City! Plus, it is a perfect, quiet refuge in the middle of Manhattan.

A little history

The Morgan Library is an incredible collection of manuscripts, books and artefacts from around the world owned by J.P. Morgan. It was founded in 1906 and made a public institution in 1924 by J.P. Morgan’s son John Pierpont Morgan, Jr.

The building itself was declared a New York City Landmark, and a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

The exhibitions

When I visited, I had the pleasure of seeing some beautiful artefacts from Mesopotamia as well as letters and poems by Emily Dickinson. While I wasn’t too impressed by the Emily Dickinson exhibition (too many letters in my opinion; although it could be because I saw it at the end of my visit), I loved the Mesopotamian artwork.

cuneiform mesopotamia

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient civilisations so seeing sculpted animals and intricately designed cylinder seals up close was incredible.

The Rotunda

This was the original entrance to the library and is beautifully ornate and airy. I loved the painted ceiling and the white stucco reliefs in the apse. Little did I know that the library would only get more beautiful!

the rotunda at the morgan library

The North Room

This room served as the librarian’s office in the early 1900s, whose job was to further increase Morgan’s collection of manuscripts and rare books. Today, you’ll find amazing Mesopotamian seals as well as Egyptian, Greek and Roman sculptures.

the north room the morgan library

The West Room

The very red west room served as Morgan’s private study. While a little too red for my taste, I can definitely see why someone would want to work surrounded by beautiful old books!

the morgan library the west room

rare books at the morgan library

I loved finding these beautiful copies of Pride and Prejudice!

To the left of the giant fireplace, there is an impressive vault housing the rarest of books.

book vault morgan library

Who wouldn’t want a vault for their books?

The East Room

the morgan library

I’m saving the best for last! The East Room is absolutely magical. I fell completely in love with the three floors of books (although they only let you see the ground floor), spending over an hour circling the grand room reading [almost] each and every title.

goethe at the morgan library

Is there such thing as too much Goethe? Apparently Morgan doesn’t think so…

balzac books the morgan library

I was surprised at how many French titles were in the Morgan.

the morgan library interior

the morgan library interior corner

the morgan library interior tapestry

the morgan library interior ceiling

Just look at that ceiling!

the morgan library interior books

The morgan library interior 3 floors of books

This is easily my definition of paradise. How could you not fall in love with the beauty of this place?

It’s also extremely quiet, so if you’re looking for a respite from the streets of Manhattan, this is the place for you! If reading this post and seeing all these pretty books has got you inspired to do some reading of your own, find out what I’ve been reading recently.

Hours:

Tuesday-Thursday: 10:30 AM-5 PM
Friday: 10:30 AM-9 PM
Saturday: 10 AM-6 PM
Sunday: 11 AM-6 PM

Admission:

  • $20 Adults
  • $13 Seniors (65+)
  • $13 Students (with ID)
  • Members & children under 12: free
  • Admission is free on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Admission to the McKim rooms only (Morgan’s Library, Study, Rotunda, and Librarian’s Office) is free: Tuesday, 3 PM-5 PM; Friday, 7 PM-9 PM; Sunday, 4 PM-6 PM

Have you been to the Morgan Library? What’s your favourite place to look at books?

The Morgan Library in New York City is the ultimate paradise for book-lovers. Read about why you need to visit this beautiful museum and library in the heart of Manhattan.

NYC, Travels
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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Neni
    16 June 2017 at 03:19

    Oh my, I want my library to look like this.
    So cosy and full of love for reading.

    • Reply
      almathews
      16 June 2017 at 07:57

      It’s an absolute dream! I would love to have a room like this one day too

  • Reply
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    17 June 2017 at 08:51

    oh wow!:) so dreamy..

  • Reply
    Kris
    17 June 2017 at 21:33

    I’m obsessed with beautiful libraries! I wish I’d known about this place when I was in NYC. It looks like the kind of place I could spend hours wandering through.

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:29

      I spent so long wandering around. The guards definitely looked at me weirdly as I kept wandering from room to room on repeat but it was so worth it!

  • Reply
    Siarra | Wander.Focus.Love
    17 June 2017 at 21:50

    In. LOVE.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    17 June 2017 at 23:12

    This looks like a perfect place for me! The architecture is stunning. What a great place! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    17 June 2017 at 23:31

    I love old books! When I finally visit NYC one day, this will be on my list!

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:23

      Yes, it is definitely worth a visit! I hope you can come soon. Let me know if you need anymore suggestions for when you visit!

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:23

      Yes, it is definitely worth a visit! I hope you can come soon. Let me know if you need any more suggestions for when you visit!

  • Reply
    Ticket to Adventures / Piia
    18 June 2017 at 05:58

    Wow this place is a true gem! I love libraries and have recently discovered similar book lovers paradises here in my home town Helsinki as well. So much charm and history in these buildings!

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:22

      It is magical! I couldn’t agree more.

  • Reply
    Candice
    18 June 2017 at 07:34

    The most beautiful library I’ve ever seen! I love both the east and west rooms. Thanks for the great photos and evocative description.

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:18

      It’s the most beautiful I’ve seen too! Thank you so much for your kind words :)

  • Reply
    jiahui
    18 June 2017 at 11:55

    Such a serene library to be in~

  • Reply
    Christine
    18 June 2017 at 12:22

    Wow such a beautiful library! I can’t believe I have never been while living or visiting NY. I will have to see this the next time I go!

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 14:16

      It’s gorgeous! Definitely add it to your list–it took me ages to discover that it existed but it is easily one of my favourite places in the city

  • Reply
    Laura Harris
    18 June 2017 at 16:07

    Ahhhh this is amazing and so beautiful and so many books plus the ancient scripts as well how did I not know this place existed?? Have to go there next time I’m in New York!

    • Reply
      almathews
      18 June 2017 at 17:15

      It’s amazing! I hope you get to go soon!! I’m obsessed with it now

  • Reply
    Katharina
    19 June 2017 at 04:22

    Oh my goodness, how amazing it this library pleas?! I love book, especially old ones and I love old libraris, they have this special smell. Great post!

    • Reply
      almathews
      19 June 2017 at 18:49

      Yes the smell of old books is SO special! It’s one of my favourite smells!

  • Reply
    Patricia Arsuengo
    19 June 2017 at 09:09

    Oh, Alex! What a find. The ceilings, I’d want to lie on my back to study them. The Mesopotamian exhibit would definitely be intriguing. God, I love history.

    • Reply
      almathews
      19 June 2017 at 18:51

      Yes! I sat myself on a bench for so long just staring at everything around me! And the Mesopotamian artifacts were beautiful. It brought back so many history class memories :)

  • Reply
    Eulanda
    20 June 2017 at 04:57

    Omygoodness! Can every library be like this? The ceiling work is stunning! If I went in there, I’d never want to leave! We’ll definitely add this to our next NYC itinerary! Tx!

    • Reply
      almathews
      20 June 2017 at 13:44

      I couldn’t agree more!! I stayed for hours (and definitely did not want to leave). I will definitely be making a trip back. I hope you get to visit when you’re in NYC :)

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