Huntington Library

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About Huntington Library

The Huntington, officially known as The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, is an educational and research establishment founded by Henry E. Huntington and Arabella Huntington in San Marino, California. 

Beyond its impressive library, The Huntington boasts a comprehensive art collection emphasizing 18th and 19th-century European and American art from the 17th to the mid-20th century. Additionally, the property encompasses around 120 acres of meticulously designed botanical gardens, featuring notable areas such as the “Japanese Garden,” the “Desert Garden,” and the “Chinese Garden.”

The library structure was designed in 1920 by Southern California architect Myron Hunt in a Mediterranean Revival style. 

This library has an impressive collection of rare books and manuscripts, primarily focusing on British and American history, literature, art, and the history of science. Encompassing a timeline from the 11th century to the present day, the library’s holdings comprise over 400,000 rare books, 7 million manuscript items, and over a million photographs, prints, and various ephemera.

Notable treasures include one of only eleven vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer’s Ellesmere manuscript, and significant correspondence and manuscripts from bastions of history like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln.

The library also boasts a collection of authors such as Alexander Pope, Mark Twain, Charles Bukowski, Jack London, William Blake, and William Wordsworth.

The library’s primary exhibition hall showcases some of its most extraordinary rare books and manuscripts, while the West Hall regularly hosts rotating exhibitions. The Dibner Hall of the History of Science is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of science, with an emphasis on astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light.

With the acquisition of the Burndy Library in 2006, a trove of nearly 60,000 items, Huntington solidified its status as one of the premier institutions worldwide for the study of the history of science and technology.

Huntington Library Highlights

The Huntington Library offers countless gardens and galleries for SGV locals to explore. There are 3 main categories:

Library

The Huntington Library is a renowned independent research library, housing over 11 million items from the 11th to the 21st century. It attracts researchers from over 30 countries, resulting in over 20,000 annual visits to its reading rooms, while thousands of remote researchers benefit from its virtual services and digital collections. The library’s 75 staff members are instrumental in facilitating access to collections, promoting discovery and engagement, and ensuring the preservation of these valuable resources for future generations.

Art Museum

The Huntington Art Museum offers an extensive collection of British, European, American, and Asian art, covering over 500 years and featuring over 45,000 objects. These include exceptional decorative arts, folk art, paintings, prints, drawings, photography, and sculpture. The museum is housed in the original home of Henry E. and Arabella Huntington, known as the Huntington Art Gallery, and in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Both locations also host temporary exhibitions, often spotlighting masterpieces from the collection or facilitating dialogues between historical and contemporary art.

Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens at The Huntington cover approximately 130 acres and showcase 16 themed gardens containing over 83,000 living plants, including rare and endangered species. This botanical haven also houses a research laboratory dedicated to conservation efforts. The gardens have their roots in Henry E. Huntington’s purchase of the San Marino Ranch in 1903, with William Hertrich playing a key role in developing the diverse plant collections. Although the property was initially nearly 600 acres, it currently encompasses 207 acres, with 130 acres accessible to visitors.

Their vibe is wonderful!

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Huntington Library In the Press

The Huntington’s renovated 1911 tea room reopens after a three-year closure

Built in 1911 on American railroad tycoon Henry Huntington’s estate, his classical revival-style retreat with a billiard room and bowling alley is reopening as the renovated Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. The space, designed by Stephen J. Farneth’s Architectural Resources Group, is set to become a crown jewel on the Huntington’s lush grounds. Read more here: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2023-05-17/huntington-library-tea-room-reopening-reservations

This 320-year-old Rural Village Home Was Moved From Japan to California — and You Can Visit in October

The 320-year-old Japanese Heritage Shōya House has been relocated from Marugame, Japan, to a two-acre area at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Opening to visitors on October 21, this exhibit offers a glimpse into rural village life, featuring the 3,000-square-foot home along with a gatehouse, courtyard, irrigation canal, agricultural plots, and historically accurate gardens, including a pond. Read more here: https://www.travelandleisure.com/320-year-old-japanese-shoya-house-california-the-huntington-7963007

The Huntington Acquires a Rare Scroll Painted by Ming Dynasty Master Qiu Ying

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens have acquired a rare hanging scroll titled “Zhou Dunyi Admiring Lotuses,” painted by Qiu Ying, one of the renowned Chinese artists of the 16th century. Qiu, considered one of the Four Masters of the Ming dynasty, was known for his meticulous depictions of literary themes and primarily worked in Suzhou, inspiring The Huntington’s Chinese Garden. The acquisition was made possible by June and Simon K.C. Li, with the artwork being on display from December 9, 2023, through March 4, 2024, in the Huntington Art Gallery, marking a significant addition to their diverse art, library, and botanical collections. Read more here: https://www.pasadenanow.com/weekendr/the-huntington-acquires-rare-scroll-painted-by-ming-dynasty-master-qiu-ying/