New York Public Library

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New York Public Library

New York Public Library, free library supported by private endowments and gifts and by the city and state of New York. It is the one of largest libraries in the world. The library was created by a 1895 law consolidating older reference libraries established by bequests of John Jacob Astor (1848) and James Lenox (1876), with the Tilden Trust. In 1897 New York City agreed to build and equip a central building on the site of the Croton reservoir on Fifth Ave. between 40th and 42d St. The building, designed by J. M. Carrère and Thomas Hastings, was completed in 1911. The branch system absorbed several independently endowed circulating libraries, and 39 branches were built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1901.

In addition to the main building, collections are also housed at a second midtown branch, an annex for newspapers and patents, and 82 branch libraries. A circulating and reference branch devoted entirely to the performing arts is located at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the finest collections of its kind in the world. The enormous and fully computerized Science, Industry, and Business Library, located at Madison Avenue and 34th Street in midtown, opened in 1996. The largest project undertaken by the library since 1911, it features a variety of traditional and ultramodern facilities and resources. In 1999 the library opened its Center for Scholars and Writers in a suite at the main building. Directed by historian Peter Gay, the Center draws on library collections to foster creative writing and thinking, advance scholarship, and sponsor public events, and appoints 15 participating fellows annually.

The research library contains more than 10,000,000 volumes. The library has especially fine collections on Americana, art, economics, folklore, music, black history and literature, New York City, Jewish history, and Semitic languages. It has an excellent newspaper collection and is an important collector and holder of prints, manuscripts, first editions, and rare books, including the Berg collection of English and American literature.


See histories by H. M. Lydenberg (1923, repr. 1972) and P. Dain (1972); documentary by F. Wiseman (2017).

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References in periodicals archive ?
An up-and-coming professional in his early 30s who hailed from and was trained in Berlin and who, only a few short years later, would go on to erect New York's storied Astor Library and its Academy of Music, Saeltzer adorned the exterior of his red-brick building with "ornamented turrets" and its interior with a "mammoth," three-tiered chandelier from which hung 48 gas jets, then the height of novelty.
We seized the occasion of a $40-million, see-it-to-believe-it renovation of the Public's downtown Manhattan home, the 158-year-old Astor Library building, to quiz the voluble Eustis about his seven years at the company's helm, and about the challenges he expects to grapple with in the next seven or so.
The theater's renovation included a facelift for its longtime home, the 158-year-old Astor Library Building, whose faAs.ade has been completely restored.
John Jacob's one great civic endowment was the $400,000 he left for the construction of the Astor Library and the establishment of its book collection, the largest at the time.
Other adaptive reuse and restoration projects in New York include: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Equitable Building, the Astor Library, the conversion of the Arnold Constable Store into the new Mid-Manhattan Library, the 207th Street IND Subway Station.
She spent 21 years at New York Public Library, until her conscience made her controversial, with significant sojourns before at the Los Angeles Public Library, the Government Printing Office, the Astor Library, and after at war agencies and the Brookings Institution.
Plans include a new 499seat theater, new office construction and a general overhaul of the building's handsome facade, possibly including a restoration of the old Astor Library stoop.
The first of those private collections, the Astor Library, founded in 1848 through the bequest of fur trader/philanthropist John Jacob Astor, was very strong in first and early editions of astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, medicine, natural history, and microscopy.
The era of public libraries was beginning, and this year it received an important impetus with the opening of the Astor Library in New York City.
If there is a single theatrical institution that can be regarded as the prime example of Alternative Theater-i.e., all that is Off Broadway in spirit as well as topographically-it would surely be the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, whose five stages have been housed in the Astor Library in lower Manhattan since 1967.
Money from the Astor fortune went to the great Astor Library, which, together with the Lenox Foundation, eventually formed the New York Public Library.
NEW YORK CITY AND BERKELEY, CALIF.: It's been a long time coining: Since it opened in the site of the former Astor Library in 1967, New York's Public Theater has grown and changed, knocked down a wall here, put up a pub there.