George Peabody Library

George Peabody Library, Baltimore – © David H. Enzel, 2023

The George Peabody Library in Baltimore is beautiful. Formerly the Library of the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore, the library’s collection dates from the founding of the Peabody Institute in 1857. In that year, George Peabody, a Massachusetts-born philanthropist, dedicated the Peabody Institute to the citizens of Baltimore in appreciation of their “kindness and hospitality.”

Today, the library is part of the Special Collections Department of the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University. It is on the Peabody campus at West Mount Vernon Place in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere historic cultural neighborhood north of downtown Baltimore.

The library building opened in 1878 and was designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind, in collaboration with the Peabody Institute’s first provost, Dr. Nathaniel H. Morison. The stack room contains five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies, which rise dramatically to the skylight 61 feet above the floor. The ironwork was fabricated by the Bartlett-Robbins Company.

The library contains 300,000 volumes, mainly from the 19th century, with strengths in religion, British art, architecture, topography and history; American history, biography, and literature; Romance languages and literature; history of science; and geography, exploration, and travel.

Between July 2002 and May 2004 the library underwent a $1 million renovation and refurbishment.

The George Peabody Library, in keeping with Peabody’s original gift, is free and open to the public.

You can see additional photos on my photography website.


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