Note – Potential Spoilers Below: This is a blog post diving into parts of the research for my new thriller, Crash Alive. I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t read the book and want to go in fresh, you might want to bookmark this one.
On any given business trip, I’ll try my best to carve out an hour or two to check out something cool in the city I’m visiting. It’s a good way to make business travel more bearable, and a great way to find cool new stuff. One of my favorite finds from last year is the Morgan Library & Museum in NYC, and I’ve been back a few times since my first visit.
J.P. Morgan’s old residence sits on the corner of Madison and E 37th Street, on half a block that now houses a collection of buildings from the family, including his private study, his personal library, and a modern museum that now links all the buildings together.
It was here where, during the Panic of 1907, Morgan brought in bankers from across New York City to come up with a solution to save the U.S. economy. (Here’s a New York Times article on the Panic of 1907, and a Smithsonian one as well.)
In 1924, J.P. Morgan Jr. gave his father’s house to the city of New York, including its collection of art and rare books. It’s now open to the public.
The museum includes a few great rooms, preserved from the J.P. Morgan’s days in New York. His private study is a mixture of blood-red walls and dark wood, complete with a walk-in safe in the corner.
His private library is something that everyone should experience in person. Thousands of rare books and other artifacts are displayed on the main floor and the two levels of scaffolding hanging above. There might even be a few secrets hiding in the room if you know where to look.
Upstairs, there’s a private reading room—only available via appointment—where researchers can study many of the books and treasures inside the Morgan archives.
One of the coolest things I read about Morgan in my research was about the Zodiac Club, a secretive group of twelve men that met a few times a year in his era (and still do).
Each member of the group takes on a sign of the zodiac as their moniker, and meetings were held in Morgan’s own private library over dinner and drinks. There’s a great write-up on the Zodiac Club at Gothamist.
Thanks again for reading. Next up in this blog series will be a look into a piece of technology that kicks off Crash Alive: USB hacking.