New York Society Library, New York City

#1416 of 1,642 in Things to do in New York City
Library · Traveler Resource
The New York Society Library (NYSL) is the oldest cultural institution in New York City. It was founded in 1754 by the New York Society as a subscription library. During the time when New York was the capital of the United States, it was the de facto Library of Congress. Until the establishment of the New York Public Library in 1895, it functioned as the city's library as well. It has been patronized by a wide variety of literary and political figures, from George Washington to Wendy Wasserstein. Its special collections include books from the libraries of John Winthrop and Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Since 1937, the library has been housed in the former John S. Rogers Mansion at 53 East 79th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the fifth location in its history. The stone Renaissance Revival building was one of the earliest recognized as a New York City landmark in 1967, and it was further listed on the National Register of Historic Places (as the John S. Rogers House) in 1983 in recognition of both its architecture and the library's historic role in the city.

The library's collection of 300,000 volumes includes audio recordings and periodicals, as well as books on a broad range of subjects. It is open for browsing and research by the general public; only members may borrow books or use the upper floors. The library is a non-profit organization supported primarily by its membership fees and endowment.

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New York Society Library reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
9 reviews
  • Although you must be a member of this library to check out books, they do host lectures and other events open to the public. It's a lovely grand building and the children's rooms are most welcoming.....  more »
  • What a wonderful Saturday I had wandering into this Library filled with Antiquities and research books. I came in to the library,after seeing the show at the Metropolitan Museum at 82nd and Fifth...  more »
  • its a really beautiful place to come to read and relax
  • Lovely children's collection. Quiet place to read.

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