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The Morgan Library: A book lover's paradise

This summer, the Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue in New York City, has outdone itself with phenomenal exhibitions to delight book lovers. Along with incredible items on display from its collection, the Morgan offers "Marks of Genius: Treasures of the Bodleian" and "Gatsby to Garp: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection." These two exhibitions, as well as the remarkable "A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany" are not to be missed.

The Radcliffe Camera building, part of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in England.
The Radcliffe Camera building, part of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in England.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Marks of Genius: Treasures of the Bodleian" features items from Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library, including a 1217 copy of the Magna Carta. Does the Queen know about this? Manuscripts and letters written by illustrious authors like Jane Austen, Alexander Pope, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Shelleys will enthrall any bibliophile. Marvel at Shakespeare’s “First Folio” and Mary Shelley’s manuscript of “Frankenstein” with corrections and notes by her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Locks of the legendary couple’s hair in lockets are also on view with their writings and portraits.

Also at the Morgan this summer, “Gatsby to Garp: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection.” This exhibit of iconic books and authors of 20th century American literature is a treat. The priceless first editions are on view along with edited proof pages with handwritten notes by authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Toni Morrison. Zora Neale Hurston, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg and John Irving are also represented among other great authors of American literature.

The Morgan showcases books in an extraordinary way through the collection and the exhibits it presents. Stop by Mr. Morgan’s study and observe the rich furnishings, and Renaissance artwork. A portrait of the man himself, robber baron J.P. Morgan stares down at you from the wall. Across the impressive Rotunda, Mr. Morgan’s original library displays art treasures in glass cases among the floor to ceiling bookshelves stocked with the myriad volumes of the collection. You cannot help but be awestruck by Oscar Wilde’s own handwritten corrections on the typescript of one of his plays, or Mozart’s musical notation of one of his symphonies. Look up and appreciate the ornate architecture and design of the library with its gilded ceilings painted with elaborate scenes.

The art and the architecture of the Morgan Library itself have always been exceptional. The recent renovations and addition by Renzo Piano have brought the Morgan into the 21st century, allowing for more space to display the wonders of the collection. Resplendent with light, the Morgan Cafe is a charming spot for afternoon tea, if you don’t mind a bit of a splurge. The Morgan Shop is also pricey, but great discounts are available on selected items throughout the year. Bibliophiles be warned, there are some gorgeous books for sale that you might not be able to resist. The Morgan Library is truly a book lover’s paradise.

The Morgan Library & Museum is open Tuesday to Thursday 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission is $18 for Adults, $12 for Children (ages 13-16), Seniors (age 65 and over) and Students with valid ID.

Admission for members and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult, is free.

Admission is also free on Fridays 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and for the McKim rooms, Mr. Morgan’s Library, Study, the Rotunda, and the Librarian’s Office on Tuesdays 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Fridays 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

For more information check out the Morgan Library website.

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