In 1902 American financier Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) chose architect Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909) of the prominent firm McKim, Mead and White to design a library to house his growing collection of rare books and manuscripts.
Adjacent to Morgan's home, which stood on the corner of Madison Avenue and 36th Street, McKim created a majestic structure in a classical style based upon villas of the Italian Renaissance. The exterior is constructed of Tennessee pink marble, the blocks set with such precision that virtually no mortar was used.
A simple recessed portico is flanked by a pair of stone lionesses. Completed in 1906, Mr. Morgan's Library—as it was called for many years—is the historic heart of today's Morgan Library & Museum.