Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/New York Public Library

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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, a library formed by the consolidation in 1895 of the Astor Library, the Lenox Library, and the Tilden Trust. The Astor Library was incorporated in 1849 by John Jacob Astor, who bequeathed $400,000 to establish a Free Public Library. Other gifts at various times increased the endowment of the library to about $1,000,000 at the time of the consolidation. The Lenox Library was incorporated in 1870. It was composed chiefly of the library of James Lenox, which had an endowment of about $500,000. The Tilden Trust was incorporated in 1887 and was comprised of the private library of Samuel Jones Tilden, who left to it the bulk of his estate amounting to about $2,000,000. The new building was erected at the corner of 5th Avenue and 42d Street, and was begun in 1902 and completed in 1911. It is the second largest library in the United States, Congressional Library being the first, Boston the third. In 1900 the New York Free Circulating Library was consolidated with the New York Public Library and a number of smaller libraries were united with the New York Public Library. In 1901 Andrew Carnegie made available about $5,000,000 for the construction of branch libraries throughout the city. The library contained in 1920 2,639,129 bound volumes. Branches are maintained in all parts of the city.