Truly Grand Home Libraries (part 4)


Osho, an Indian mystic who died in 1990, reportedly had a library of 100,000 volumes (possibly making it the world's largest private library) in his "Lao Tzu library" in Poona, India. The library occupied a number of corridors in his residence. Pictured is the central room, where the most valuable parts of his collection resided on glass shelves behind sliding glass doors and with mirrors placed behind the books. His philosophy was that "two books of the same size or color were not to be placed next to each other, so the effect is that of waves going up and down, adding a lighter impression of the packed shelves than usually seen in libraries."



Andrew Carnegie's private library in his 66-room Manhattan mansion, built in 1903. I have been unable to discover anything about the size of his collection, but it is probably safe to say that it was not small. His library and study were where Carnegie met with applicants for philanthropy. Carnegie gave away $300 million of his fortune during his lifetime, and of course, is best remembered today for his "Carnegie Library" buildings in many towns across the nation.



Harlan Crow, son of Dallas, Texas real estate mogul Trammell Crow, built this incredibly grand two-story library on his estate in Highland Park, TX. "During the past 30 years, Mr. Crow has assembled a collection of 8,000 rare books, 3,500 manuscripts, correspondence, paintings, photographs and sculptures that reflects 500 years of American history (among other subjects). Some of the library's gems include the 1493 Latin printing of Columbus's letter to the Spanish court announcing his discoveries, a deed to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, a silver tankard created by Paul Revere, and correspondence from all U.S. presidents. One recent acquisition, for example, is Harry Truman's handwritten letter to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume after his harsh review of Margaret Truman's performance. Truman writes, 'Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefcake for black eyes. . .'" What money can buy….


Jim Lewis

The home library of longtime Johns Hopkins University Humanities Professor Richard Macksey. During the 50 years he taught and inspired countless students, he also accumulated 70,000 books in his home. His library was built in 1972 and a garage was later converted into a "stacks" storage space as his books took over. He has generously donated his collection to the University.



The library at the castle of Peralada, Spain. This incredible library was created in 1888 as part of the 14th-century monastery building, and expanded in 1923 by Spanish financier and politician Miquel Mateu, a serious book collector. There are now 80,000 books, manuscripts and incunabulae (early printed books).


Architectural Digest (November 2010)

The two-story library at oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens' guest house on his 68,000-acre Texas ranch. This library has a distinct Western character to it, as might be expected, yet the room is elegant and classic as well. Frank Tenney Johnson's "Wyoming Cattlemen" hangs over the fireplace. A beautiful and warm space for reading.


The circular library, featured in the April 2004 issue of Architectural Digest, is located in a house in Ontario, Canada. A very classical-looking space with a rotunda-like feeling and beautiful wood paneling and bookcases.


next >>