American Museum of Natural History History

The American Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869 and the museum was housed in the Arsenal building in Central Park. Among the founders of this museum were Theodore Roosevelt, John David Wolfe, Andrew H Green, Morris K Jesup, Moses H Grinnel, Charles A Dana and Howard Potter. This museum was also a monument that helped Dr. Albert S Bickmore realize his dream. He had lobbied for a museum of natural history in New York for years and it was Governor John Thompson Hoffman who actually gave the go ahead for the project.

The museum's first building was started in Manhattan in 1874 and the Victorian Gothic building was opened to the public in 1877. While the design of the initial building created by Calvert Vaux was great, it was soon covered in a shadow by the south range designed by J Cleaveland Cady. An entrance was created in 1936 on Central Park West by John Russell Pope. Not much was added to the building per se since then, but the artifacts that it holds did change significantly as the museum continued to acquire more.

The Library of the American Museum of Natural History grew from the day of its inception. Initially the library acquired its books from gifts offered by various people including John C Jay, the Carson Brevoort library, the Harry Edwards entomological library, the ornithological library of Daniel Giraud Elliot, the Hugh Jewett collection of voyages and travel and the Jules Marcou geology collection. In 1903 the American Ethnological Society gave its collection to the American Museum of Natural History. The New York Academy of Sciences was the next library that went the same way.

The library has a collection of 550,000 volumes of various kinds of written works, including monographs, pamphlets, reprints, microforms, manuscripts, memorabilia and rare books. The various areas that the library has books on include earth and planetary science, astronomy, herpetology, ethology, invertebrates, ecology, conchology and travel.


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