December 15, 2004

NYC Libraries

Andrew Cusack has a terrific post about the New York Society Library today, the oldest private library in NYC, and I commend it to your attention. But it got me to thinking about my favorite private library, the Mercantile Library:

The Mercantile Library of New York was founded in 1820 by merchants and their clerks before the advent of public libraries. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was thriving as one of the foremost cultural institutions in the United States, with an extraordinary collection of books in the humanities, and a popular lecture program that featured such renowned speakers as William Makepeace Thackeray, Frederick Douglass, and Mark Twain. The Library offered classes on many subjects and was considered a meeting place for social and educational pursuits.

The coolest thing about the Merc. is:

The Mystery and Detective Collection. The fiction is particularly strong in mystery, and is arguably the best circulating mystery and detective fiction collection in the United States.

This makes it my favorite place. I loved the collection of out of print mystery fiction.

They also have reading groups for Proust which sound like they could be fun, depending on the other participants, of course.

Finally, go check out their links page for links to the Mystery Writers of America (in residence at the Merc), the Trollope Society (also in residence), and U.S. Membership Libraries.

Posted by Random Penseur at December 15, 2004 09:36 AM
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