Fanny Mendelssohn Score Among “Treasures from the Vault” at the Morgan

New York, NY, September 9, 2014—The Morgan is home to some of the world's greatest collections of medieval manuscripts, printed books and bindings, literary manuscripts, private letters and correspondence, and original music. Treasures from the Vault, an ongoing exhibition series, features works drawn from these diverse collections in the sumptuous setting of Pierpont Morgan's 1906 Library. In addition to illuminated manuscripts, music scores, and personal correspondence from the Morgan’s collection, this rotation—on view from September 9, 2014 through January 11, 2015—features a selection of important American documents from the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Highlights from the Gilder Lehrman Institute  

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History holds one of the country’s foremost collections of Americana. This rotation of Treasures from the Vault showcases important historical documents from these collections, repre­senting transformative moments and key figures in United States history. Highlights include Benjamin Franklin’s copy of the U.S. Constitution, letters between soldiers and their families written during the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and letters by Frederick Douglass and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These documents tell the story of our nation’s progress over two centuries, from independence to the abolition of slavery and its aftermath.

Two copies of the U.S. Constitution, displayed alongside one another, underscore the evolution of the text during the protracted discussions of the Second Continental Congress. The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia from May 25 until September 17, 1787. After two and a half months of deliberation, on August 6 the first draft of the Constitution—Pierce Butler’s copy is on view—was presented to the delegates for review. The finally agreed-upon text of the preamble of the Constitution—Benjamin Franklin’s copy is exhibited—documents the transition from a loosely allied confederation of states to a strong central government deriving its power from the people. It was printed for the purpose of ratification on September 17.

Highlights from the Morgan: New Acquisitions and an Early Recipe Book

The Morgan is very pleased to present a selection of new acquisitions in this rotation of Treasures from the Vault. Among these works is a letter written by J.D. Salinger to Swami Nikhilananda in 1972, recalling his unforgettable pleasure upon listening to the swami read from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. This correspondence underscores the pivotal moment when English-speaking audiences were initially introduced to this important Bengali text. Nikhilananda was first to translate The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna into English with the assistance of Margaret Woodrow Wilson, daughter of President Wilson, and the highly regarded translation was published in 1942. Access to this text in English has since inspired many Western writers.

Another new acquisition on view is Selmar und Selma, a music score by Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn’s older sister, who was a gifted pianist and composer in her own right.  Fanny wrote over 400 works, including at least 250 songs, some of which were attributed to her brother. Selmar und Selma, a setting of a text by German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, was composed in 1829, and years later Fanny made this copy of the song, which her husband then illustrated with a vignette. The text tells of Selmar’s imminent sea voyage and of Selma’s fear for his safety. Felix and Fanny were very close siblings, and this song was composed as Felix was about to embark on his first trip to London.

The journal of Le comte de Volney is also a recent addition to the Morgan’s collection that is displayed. This text highlights the perception of American culture from the point of view of a French visitor. Philosopher, politician, and traveler Constantin François de Chasseboeuf, comte de Volney came to the United States in 1795 and toured the country for three years. This 153-page manuscript journal includes accounts of his voyage and extensive American travels. He recorded a vivid account of his visit to Thomas Jefferson at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, his impressions of Washington, D.C., and a sketch of the Capitol under construction. He devoted his attention to discussions on slavery and abolition and listed Native American words with English and French definitions. Volney published his Tableau du climat et du sol des États-Unis in 1803. This manuscript is the only known surviving portion of that work.

Complementing the new acquisitions, Treasures from the Vault features works that have been part of the Morgan’s collection for many years. One particularly interesting item is Amy Gregg’s A Choice Collection of Experemental Receipts for Pickling, Cookery, etc.  Cookery books began to be published with some regularity in the sixteenth century, but it was not until the eighteenth century that they included recipes for everyday use. This collection was copied by hand, probably in the early 1780s, for the gentlewoman Amy Gregg. It contains more than one hundred culinary recipes as well as cosmetic treatments for the face and hands and various medicinal cures.

Complete List of Works on View

Gilder Lehrman Institute Objects

First Draft U.S. Constitution from the Committee of Detail, August 6, 1787. Pierce Butler’s copy. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

The “Members Copy” of the Final Version U.S. Constitution, September 17, 1787. Benjamin Franklin’s copy. The Gilder Lehrman Institute. 

Lucy Knox (ca. 1756-1824). Letter to her sister Hannah Harwood, signed and dated April 1777. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Henry Knox (1750-1806). Letter to his wife Lucy Knox, signed and dated January 10, 1777. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Thomas Burpee (d. 1864). Letter to Adeline Burpee, January 10, 1863. Lucien Burpee, age 9. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Letter to Thomas Burpee, February 28, 1864. Charlie Burpee, age 4. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Letter to Thomas Burpee, undated. The Gilder Lehrman Institute. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945). Letter to Arthur Barnett Spingarn, signed and dated Washington, D.C., June 14, 1940. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895). Letter to Robert Adams, signed and dated December 4, 1888. The Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Literary and Historical Manuscripts from the Morgan

Constantin François de Chasseboeuf, comte de Volney (1757-1820). Manuscript, dated [1795-1803]. Gift of Aliette B. Martin de Baudinière in honor of Bernadette de Baudinière née Lièvre and in memory of Jacques de Baudinière, 2012.

Amy Gregg (eighteenth century). A Choice Collection of Experemental Receipts for Pickling, Cookery, etc. Manuscript, dated [1784]. Gift of Mrs. F. Trubee Davison, 1978.

Harper Lee (b. 1926). Letter to Robert E. Bell, signed and dated New York, August 17, 1960. Purchased on the Drue Heinz Fund, 1993.

Emmanuel Altham (1600-1635/6). Letter to his brother, Sir Edward Altham, signed and dated [Plymouth, Massachusetts], [September 1623]. Gift of Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard, 1978.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Manuscript of Pope from The Lives of the English Poets, dated [1780-81]. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1897.

J. D. Salinger (1919-2010). Letter to Swami Nikhilananda, signed and dated Windsor, Vermont, January 19, 1972. Gift of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York to honor the 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda, 2013.

Medieval Manuscripts from the Morgan

Life of Christ Cycle. Northern France, perhaps Corbie, ca. 1175. MS M. 44, fols. 1v-2r. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1902.

Hours of Cecilia Gonzaga, Rome use, in Latin. Italy, probably Milan, ca. 1470. MS M. 454, fols. 189v-190r. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1911.

Gospel Book, in Latin. England, Canterbury, Christ Church, early eleventh century. MS M. 869, fols. 17v-18r. Purchased with the assistance of the Fellows and the special assistance of William S. Glazier, 1954.

Hugo von Trimberg (1230/35-after 1313). Der Renner (The Runner), in German. Austria, probably the Tyrol, 1460s. MS M. 763, fols. 177v-178r. Purchased in 1930.

Le livre des merveilles du monde, in French. France, probably Angers, ca. 1460, by an artist associated with the Master of Juvenel des Ursins. MS M. 461, fols. 77v-78. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1911.

Music Manuscripts from the Morgan

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007). Amahl and the Night Visitors, 1951. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 1977.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Symphony No. 29 in A Major, K. 201, 1774. Robert Owen Lehman Collection, on deposit.

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826). Aufforderung zum Tanz, 1819. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 1973.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847). Selmar und Selma, 1830s-40s. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 2012.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). “Wahrend des Regens,” 1871. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 2005.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963). Chansons villageoises, 1942. Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, 1980.

Printed Books from the Morgan

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Manuscript of Pope from The Lives of the English Poets, dated [1780-81]. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1897.

Jacques Besson (d. 1573). Instrumentorum et machinarum liber primus. [Orléans: s.n., 1572]. Gift of Paul Mellon, 1979.

Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis. Germany, ca. 1465. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1906.

Daniel Defoe (1661?-1731). The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner. London: W. Taylor, 1719. Purchased with the Irwin Collection, 1900.

Charles de Bovelles (1479-1567). Liber de intellectu. Paris: Henri Estienne and Jean Petit, 1510. Bequest of E. Clark Stillman, 1995.

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). Les fleurs du mal. Etched portrait by Édouard Manet (1832-1883). Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Broise, 1857. Gift of the trustees of the Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection, 1977.

Charlotte Brontë. (1816-1855). Jane Eyre. Lithographs by Barnett Freedman (1901-1958). New York: Heritage Press, 1942. Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987.

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. 

The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding in 1906, the Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, music venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. In October 2010, the Morgan completed the first-ever restoration of its original McKim building, Pierpont Morgan’s private library, and the core of the institution. In tandem with the 2006 expansion project by architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan now provides visitors unprecedented access to its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, photography, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets.

General Information

The Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016-3405

212.685.0008

www.themorgan.org

Just a short walk from Grand Central and Penn Station

Hours

Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; extended Friday hours, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Morgan closes at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. 

Admission

$18 for adults; $12 for students, seniors (65 and over), and children (under 16); free to Members and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Admission is free on Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is not required to visit the Morgan Shop, Café, or Dining Room.

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