After nearly a decade of construction on the former site of the Croton Reservoir, the main branch of The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets opened to the public on May 24, 1911. More than 30,000 people visited on the first day alone and it wasn't long before the Beaux-Arts structure became one of New York's most recognized and beloved buildings and earned the moniker the "People's Palace."
Now named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (SASB), it has served researchers and readers from around the world, hosted tourists angling for a glimpse of the spectacular Rose Main Reading Room, and found its way into movies, television, and fiction.
Our research librarians have compiled an online LibGuide about the 42nd Street Library including materials for researching the Library’s collections, institutional past, architecture, and role in New York City since 1911.
Below you can view some of the many images of this memorable building that are part of NYPL's Digital Collections—a free database of nearly one million items including prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, video, and more.
More recommended reading:
Carrère & Hastings. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 489418
NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 489510
Wide World Photos, Inc. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 806141
Ewing Galloway. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 731123F
NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1153338
NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 434219
Jonathan Blanc. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 5013687