A postcard view of the last J.P. Morgan mansion

The fence is gone, as is the blanket of ivy and red paint. But the brownstone mansion on Madison Avenue and 37th Street remains, one of the buildings that today makes up the Morgan Library and Museum.

Interestingly, this surviving mansion, built in 1852-1853 as part of a trio of identical impressive houses, was never the financier’s home.

J.P. Morgan resided at 219 Madison Avenue, the southernmost mansion on the corner of 36th Street, from 1881 to his death in 1913, according to The Morgan Library and Museum website.

His house was demolished in 1928. Before it met the wrecking ball, Morgan had architect Charles McKim design his library, the white marble building in the center of the postcard (and in the bottom photo), completed in 1906.

The mansion on the corner of 37th Street, number 231 Madison? That was the home of J.P.’s son, Jack, purchased by his dad.

“Morgan bought the central brownstone in 1903, which was then razed to make space for a garden, and a year later he purchased the northernmost house, at 231 Madison, for his son, Jack Morgan,” the site states.

“With forty-five rooms, including twelve bathrooms, the house was one of the most impressive residences of its day.”

J.P. Morgan’s mansion was distinctive as well; it’s thought to be the first private home powered by electricity in the early 1880s.

Carrying out his father’s wishes, Jack Morgan created the Morgan Library and gave his father’s incredible art and rare book collection to the new institution—which has been open to the public ever since.

[Second photo: Morgan Library and Museum; fourth photo: MCNY, 1920, X2010.11.5391]

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6 Responses to “A postcard view of the last J.P. Morgan mansion”

  1. Anne Says:

    The mansion in the colored postcard is not the surviving one – that’s J.P. Morgan’s residence, 219 Madison Ave, which was demolished (the mansion that remains standing today is not on the same street as the Library, as is the one seen in the postcard).

  2. thesticksssss Says:

    Very nice. If you want to look more closely at Gilded Age mansions, I suggest my father’s book Era of Elegance, recently available on Kindle, and often available at used bookstores. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A7F2QF0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Looks lovely, thanks for the link!

  4. Gary Says:

    In your last paragraph, you should give some credit to Belle da Costa Greene, the unlikely person who helped shape, and carried out, that vision of the library.

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