The Morgan Library & Museum has received a grant of $450,000 from the Leon Levy Foundation for a three-year project to upgrade catalog records for its renowned collection of literary and historical manuscripts.
The Morgan’s holdings range from love letters of Voltaire to diaries of Henry David Thoreau to lyric sheets by Bob Dylan. This grant will facilitate greater access to these documents via the institution’s online public catalog, CORSAIR.“The Leon Levy Foundation has made an extraordinary gift to scholarship and public enjoyment of the Morgan’s rich resources,” said Charles E. Pierce, Jr., director of the Morgan. “Accurate collection information is the foundation of all that we do-from providing scholarly access to mounting public exhibitions. Every major improvement we make to our online catalog results in the use of the Morgan’s collections in new and unexpected ways.”
“The Morgan Library & Museum is a national treasure, housing such historic manuscripts as a volume of Edward Gibbon’s diary,” said Shelby White, trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. “His work, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, inspired my husband’s interest in history and antiquities. The Leon Levy Foundation is pleased to play a major role in enhancing the Morgan’s catalog records.”
As a result of the grant, the Morgan will hire a team of project catalogers to examine targeted areas of the collection to ensure that items are described fully and accurately in CORSAIR. Though most of the Morgan’s collections are represented in the catalog, in some cases the content of the entries has not been revisited in many decades.
The grant will also enable the Morgan to examine undocumented materials and graphic items-such as individual letters of major authors and portraits and photographs-and make certain they are properly cataloged. Moreover, it will allow for the upgrading of tools used for the physical tracking of collection items, an essential part of responsible collection management