The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lenox, James

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LENOX, James, American philanthropist: b. New York, 19 Aug. 1800; d. there, 17 Feb. 1880. He was educated at Columbia, and in 1839, on the death of his father, a wealthy Scottish merchant of New York, he inherited a fortune of several millions and 30 acres of land between Fourth and Fifth avenues. After his father's death he retired from business and devoted his time to study and the collection of fine books, statuary and painting. After some years he became the possessor of the most extensive private collection of books and paintings in the United States. In 1870 he erected a large and costly building on Fifth avenue, between 70th and 71st streets, to contain his collection. On 23 May 1895 the Lenox Library was consolidated with the Astor Library and the Tilden Trust to form the New York Public Library. He founded the Presbyterian Hospital, his gifts to it amounting to $600,000. He also made important gifts to Princeton College and Seminary, and gave liberally to numerous churches and charities connected with the Presbyterian Church.