- One of the world’s largest collections of British medieval manuscripts, including the 15th-century Ellesmere manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
- One of 12 surviving copies on vellum of the Gutenberg Bible, the jewel of the second-largest collection of incunabula (15th-century printed books) in the United States.
- A leading repository for Americana, including extensive holdings for Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson, and such gems as the original manuscript of Franklin’s autobiography.
- Extensive collections on the American West, including the great 19th-century photographic surveys and original sources about overland migration, industry and transport, and Native Americans.
- Premier California archival collections on topics ranging from agriculture and urban infrastructure to legal and political history, and Chinese immigration.
- Formidable strengths in English-language literature with manuscripts and early editions by such authors as William Blake, Jack London, and Henry David Thoreau, and literary archives of Charles Bukowski, Octavia E. Butler, and Hilary Mantel, among others.
- Science, medicine, and technology holdings ranging from a 13th-century Ptolemy Almagest manuscript and landmark printed books in the renowned Burndy Library to modern aerospace archives.
- Extensive holdings of prints, posters, and ephemera, including the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History.
Some 1,700 researchers from 30 countries visit the Library annually to study rare collections in the reading rooms. Library staff assist an additional 4,000 researchers from all over the world through remote reference services.
Digitized collections in the Huntington Digital Library receive 1.3 million page views per year.
A team of professional book, paper, and paintings conservators carry out thousands of hours of collections treatment and care annually for Library and Art collections.
Three Library exhibition halls, with a combined 9,000 square feet of dedicated space, showcase some of the most outstanding materials in the collection. The Main Hall features 150 rare items grouped thematically around 12 iconic works like the Gutenberg Bible and Thoreau’s Walden manuscripts.
The 90,000-square-foot Munger Research Center provides workspace for scholars and staff, facilities for conservation and digital imaging, as well as collections storage.
The Art Museum features European and American art spanning more than 500 years and includes more than 42,000 objects. Extraordinary examples of decorative arts and folk art, paintings, prints and drawings, photography, and sculpture are displayed in the Huntington Art Gallery, the original home of Henry and Arabella Huntington, and in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Both buildings also showcase smaller, temporary exhibitions that focus on masterworks in the collection or place The Huntington’s historic works in conversation with contemporary artistic practice.
EUROPEAN ART HIGHLIGHTS
- One of the greatest collections of 18th-century British grand manner portraiture outside of the United Kingdom, including Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy and Joshua Reynolds’ Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, as well as important examples of 19th-century British landscape painting by such artists as John Constable and J.M.W. Turner; major holdings of materials related to the Arts and Crafts movement, including works by Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane, with particular strength in designs produced by the William Morris firm; more than 13,000 British drawings, ranging from the 17th through the 20th century, including William Blake’s watercolor designs for illustrations to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, fine examples by artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and such modernists as David Bomberg and Paul Nash.
- Important holdings of 18th-century decorative art, particularly French furnishings and textiles produced before the French Revolution, including The Noble Pastoral, a series of tapestries made by the Beauvais manufactory, and a significant group of Sèvres porcelain garnitures; 18th-century French sculpture, including the life-size bronze Diana the Huntress by Jean-Antoine Houdon, and such paintings as Young Knitter Asleep by Jean-Baptiste Greuze and the Portrait of Rabaut Saint-Etienne by Jacques-Louis David.
AMERICAN ART HIGHLIGHTS
- Begun with a major gift from the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation in 1979, the American art holdings number about 320 paintings, 90 works of sculpture, 1,400 decorative art objects, 2,600 prints and 7,600 drawings, and 1,900 photographs.
- Masterpieces in the paintings collection include Frederic Edwin Church’s monumental Chimborazo; Mary Cassatt’s intimate Breakfast in Bed; Edward Hopper’s evocative sailing scene, The Long Leg; Andy Warhol’s Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle); and Charles White’s Soldier, an important example of 20th-century social realism.
- The Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection contains 18th- and19th-century paintings, furniture, and works of decorative art, offering visitors insights into the history of American art practices through beautiful objects made for everyday living by early Americans.
- An important part of the permanent installation is a gallery devoted to the work of early 20th-century Pasadena architects and Arts and Crafts masters Charles and Henry Greene.