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11 Facts About NYPL for #AprilFactsDay


The New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman building opened on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in 1911. One of NYC's iconic landmarks, it welcomes millions of visitors a year to discover its inspiring public spaces, unparalleled research collections, and vibrant programs and exhibitions. But that's not the whole story about the building behind the Library Lions. Did you know...? (All images below are from The New York Public Library's Digital Collections.)

1. At the time it opened in 1911, the Library was the largest marble building ever built in the United States.

Exterior: marble work , Fifth Avenue facade. Image ID 489514.

2. Fragments of Percy Bysshe Shelley's skull? NYPL has them.

Fragments of the skull of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Image ID 5113100.

3. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia nicknamed the Library Lions Patience and Fortitude in the 1930s because he felt New Yorkers needed to possess these qualities in order to survive the Depression.

Statues, New York Public Library, Lions. Image ID 1558545.

4. NYPL holds locks of hair from the heads of Charlotte Brontë, Walt Whitman, Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Wild Bill Hickok, among others.

Walt Whitman lock of hair. Initialed, signed, and dated "73d year" and "Oct. 29, 1891." Image ID 5102848.

5. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, the most valuable volumes and manuscripts at the Library were moved to bank vaults around New York City.

 Copy of the Declaration of Independence. Image ID psnypl_mss_1228.

6. Since 1987, the original Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends—Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger—have lived at NYPL.

Kanga, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger. Image ID 56597641.

7. Norbert Pearlroth, the Ripley's Believe It or Not! researcher from 1923 to 1975, found all the information for the newspaper feature using the huge collection in the Library's Main Reading Room.

Main Reading Room. Image ID 1153329.

8. In the collections: Charles Dickens's favorite letter-opener. The shaft is ivory, but the handle is the embalmed paw of his beloved cat, Bob, toenails and all.

Charles Dickens. Image ID 483476.

9. Along with the iconic Lions, the building's ornamentation also includes dolphins, turtles, birds, bees, catfish, dogs, roosters, eagles, rams, swans, snakes, and oxen.

Interior work: fireplace and dedicatory panel in the Trustees Room. Image ID 489867.

10. Ghostbusters isn't the only movie to film at NYPL! Spiderman, Ted 2, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and more filmed at NYPL.

Movie camera microscope. Image ID 409721.

11. The Library used 530,000 cubic feet of marble, including exterior marble that is 12 inches thick. The marble floors of the Library were deemed so hard that in 1911 all employees were supplied with rubber soled shoes.

Central building, first floor lobby: looking from Astor Hall toward exhibition hall. Image ID 465477.

Learn even more facts about The New York Public Library:


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Thank you. This was a great

Thank you. This was a great list.

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